Behind The Code...High School Girl Lacrosse Player, Shannon Novak

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The Player: Shannon Novak (Nickname “Red”) 

Class: 2014

High School: Grosse Pointe South HS (Michigan)

Coach: Alysca Valentine

Club Team: Mid Michigan Lacrosse Club

Position: Goalie

Committed: Lincoln Memorial University (Tennessee)

 What aspects of your game are you working on to improve? I\’m currently trying to become faster all around. Hands, feet, getting my whole body behind the ball. The college game is so much faster, so I have to be too.

What makes you unique? I\’m an active goalie, which in the women\’s game, isn\’t very popular. I love to come out of the crease, get that dangerous interception and help out on defense when I can. I\’ll even run it up the field if my team isn\’t getting open fast enough.

Do you see yourself as a leader? If so, how?  I do see myself as a leader. As a goalie I am the last defender and the first offender, so I have to be able to lead my team whether it’s defending the ball or trying to score. I\’m always directing and being encouraging/vocal. I am also a head coach for a local community team for girls ranging from 5th-8th grade which has helped me become more a leader, and also keeps the game growing. I was captain for my senior year and I didn\’t take it as a job to boss people around, I took it as an opportunity to listen to everyone and really help the team mesh, which definitely was achieved, as it was the closest team I have ever been on.

What Are Your Strengths As A Player?  I\’m committed and always there to help. When a game is going rough and I can see my team isn\’t on their game, I can step up and they know it. You can trust in me that I will do my best and be there, no matter how tired, no matter the score.

Who Are Your Role Models? Why?  I have many role models, my whole family for supporting me along the way, Devon Wills because she has shown the lacrosse community that women can compete with guys, which is so inspiring. I have modeled some of my game after her. Also my head coach who really helped me step my game up because she was always there, always pushing me and never stopped believing in me.

What Is The Best Part Of The Game of Lacrosse? What Do You Enjoy Most About The Sport?
How fast it is growing and the community surrounding it, which grows every season. Tournaments are especially fun because you get to meet people around the country, make friends, and compete against them. The atmosphere at them are so uplifting and exciting, and having played many sports in my life, this is the one where I know a team is the most important.

What Is Something You Have Learned During Your High School Athletic Career?
You are going to have your on and off games, but when you and your whole team has an on game, magic happens. We had two games like this during my last High School season where we ran over teams that we weren\’t supposed to because the whole team was on. I think our whole bench played as well, it was contagious, really the best games thus far in my life. Of course, your team is going to have an off day, which can happen even if you win. But those games, both on and off, really helped me learn that no one can be perfect and you shouldn\’t worry because all you have to do is keep on practicing, keep your head up and believe.

What Advice Would You Pass On To Other Athletes That Want To Play At The Next Level?
Get your name out there, play in front of coaches as much as you can, get a nice highlight reel and do not give up! Make lists of colleges that you aspire to be at, and don\’t discount the little colleges, sometimes the best programs lay a year away.  Constant contact (or as much as you are allowed) also keeps YOUR name in that coaches head, tell them about your games, your tournaments, any new goals you have achieved. If you are just starting out, make a profile (Powered by ReQRuitme Technology!) and get your name out there as much as possible. Coaches will google you, so it better be good.

What Would Your Teammates Say About You?I am not sure, probably that I am crazy ( in a good way hopefully), reliable, and in love with lacrosse.

What Was The Biggest Obstacle You Overcame in Sports?Becoming confident in my game, and really getting the fire to get better. It was hard for a while, I was stuck at a level for a long time, it wasn\’t until maybe two years ago where I really felt like I knew lacrosse was my sport and I could really do something with it if I worked. Once I got that first email from a coach, I hit the wall, because I knew if I got better I would get more emails, phone calls and my game would improve, and it all did.

Who Helped You Improve Your Game The Most?My head coach, Alysca Valentine. She was a walk on at University Detroit mercy, started as a defender and was thrown in as a goalie when their goalies got hurt. She helped me really get the basics down, my footwork up. She was the first goalie coach I had.

What are you looking forward to at LMU (Lincoln Memorial University)?Helping build a brand new program. I love lacrosse and want to show people the game and having an opportunity to be a part the first women\’s lacrosse team is truly special. The first time I visited I went in with it in the back of my mind, it was just a visit, but after it was over, I had fallen completely in love with the university and the program. I am excited to get on campus and start training and playing with girls from around the U.S. because I already feel like we are a family.