April 14, 2014
"My parents were right. I will give them that."
Senior Dana Boyle smiled as she grudgingly made this admission. As a multi-sport athlete growing up in Londonderry, N.H., she had scoffed when her parents suggested she attend lacrosse camp at Virginia.
"I didn't really want to come to camp but my parents made me," Boyle recalled. "I was being a teenager who didn't want to spend their summer somewhere else for a week, which in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal. So they made me come to camp but I wasn't happy about it."
Things have definitely changed for Boyle since then.
"I knew I wanted to play lacrosse in college but I didn't realize how much I would love it when I came here and now I don't want to leave and I probably wont leave," Boyle said. "That's why I'm doing a fifth year (next year). Everything just fell in to place."
Boyle's lacrosse career began in the sixth grade when she took up the sport at the suggestion of her best friend. Because the sport was just starting to ignite in her home state, she spent a lot of time traveling with her club team to lacrosse hot beds like Baltimore to play higher-level competition. Though she loved lacrosse, she also never stopped loving the other sports she played, soccer and especially basketball.
"It is kind of sad to not be playing three sports still, but that's impossible once you go to college," Boyle said. "That's one reason why I like the fall here is because we get to play a little bit of basketball and a little bit of soccer. There is a rule that in the fall you can only have so many hours of lacrosse, so some Wednesday afternoons we will play basketball for an hour. It kind of brings back those memories. Other girls on the team are so athletic and played other sports so it is fun to see who is good and who is really bad at other sports. Liz Colgan is pretty scary to play against and so is [associate head coach] Colleen Shearer. So I try not to play against them."
Boyle's Cavalier career got off to a strong start. She was the starting midfielder in the 2011 season opener at Loyola.
"I remember being more excited than nervous about starting at Loyola," Boyle said. "But when we played at Syracuse, I was so afraid. We played at the Carrier Dome, which is historical, and honestly I was star struck. I remember Colleen Shearer coming up and telling me that everyone here is a college kid and that I was not any different from them. Now it is funny looking back at that as I've been around so long now so playing Syracuse or anyone is not really as extravagant to me as it was before."
In her freshman year, Boyle appeared in 14 games, starting seven, finishing the season with nine goals and three assists for 12 points, a solid start that she was looking forward to building on in her sophomore season, but it wasn't to be. "I played in the fall and then I got hurt during pre-season in January," Boyle said. "I had surgery and was out for eight months, which was a bummer."
Boyle worked hard on her rehab, making it back on the field in the 2013 season opener.
"It was the best feeling ever to be back out on the field," Boyle said. "I've really never been hurt until I came to college, so I not being able to play was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. In the grand scheme of things, so many other people have had to do that, too, and go through obstacles in their life, but to me it was like the end of the world. It was tough being out for eight month and having to learn how to walk again and how to run again and getting strength back. I was pretty proud of myself and the season was really fun. We made it to the elite eight, which was the best we had done since I had been here. It was awesome. We have great chemistry on and off the field so it was fun to be part of that chemistry on the field."
Boyle was a key element to the success on the field, scoring 23 goals with three assists and garnering All-ACC honors, honors she learned she had received via a text from her mom.
"We were on a bus and I had no idea that I had gotten that when my mom sent me a text saying congratulations," Boyle said. "After I asked her what she was talking about, she sent me the article about the All-ACC team. There are a lot of good players on that list and I was fortunate to be a part of that."
Once again, Boyle was looking forward to building off 2013, when she was handed another set back. However, being sidelined this season has helped her make up her mind to come back in 2015.
"I couldn't leave without going out with a bang or at least being able to play again," Boyle said. "I am fortunate enough to be able to have that fifth year. I think it has put a lot of things in to perspective. I can't play lacrosse forever and these are four short years of our lives. I really appreciate the opportunity of being here and I think that fifth year gives me that kind of extra cushion to be able to play again because I do miss it."
Boyle, who will graduate this May with her bachelor's in sociology, is hoping to use her fifth year to enter UVa's higher education program and is looking at the concentration in administration, which would enable her to graduate again next May with a master's degree. She is considering teaching or pursuing a career in athletics administration.
"I would love to teach or coach a youth program or maybe even work in athletics here at UVa," Boyle said. "I really don't want to leave."
Even though she isn't leaving just yet, she has many people she wants to thank.
"I have to thank [athletic trainer] Blair Putnam Moore as I think I spend more time with her than her husband does," Boyle said. "I also would like to thank my coaches. They have been more than supportive with me but especially with injuries. I don't know if I can attest to many other coaches being that sympathetic. I think they've gone through obstacles and hurtles in their lives, so they are very compassionate when it comes to that stuff. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate that. I don't know what I would do without my teammates. I think I would go crazy. Especially not being able to play, they keep me sane. Thanks to Virginia Athletics as a whole, the donors as that is how we stay here. And of course, my parents. Because they made me go to camp and that's how I ended up here."
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