South Coast Today: Bishop Stang coach Lauren Bailey takes unusual route to lacrosse career

South Coast Today: Bishop Stang coach Lauren Bailey takes unusual route to lacrosse career

New Stang coach didn't play team sports until college

CLICK HERE to read original story - written by South Coast Today Staff Writer Laurie Los

 It wasn't the typical script a ballerina would follow.

After years of dedicating her life to dance, Lauren Bailey turned in her slippers for cleats when she entered Div. III Saint Joseph's College of Maine as a freshman in 2009.

"It's unique because I don't have any high school experience. I didn't play any sports in high school," said the 25-year-old, who currently resides in New Bedford and hails from New Hampshire. "I went to college and I was interested in playing a sport, and I had some friends playing lacrosse. I tried out, made the team and fell in love with it."

After graduating in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in English, Bailey thought her involvement in lacrosse would end when she became an English teacher at Bishop Stang.

But an opportunity as a junior varsity coach opened last year with the Spartans, and she jumped at it.

"It's nice because when I graduated I wasn't ready to be done with the sport," Bailey said. "It's nice to be able to continue to learn about the sport. I love how fast paced it is. I love the way it moves up and down the field."

Bailey also loves watching players develop as Bishop Stang's new varsity head coach — a position she took over when longtime coach Dave Ponte stepped down in the offseason.

"I feel so lucky to be able to do this as a coach," said Bailey, pointing to the enjoyment of watching sophomore Jill DeAlmeida win a draw in Stang's opening game against Old Rochester. "Seeing her come in her second year and winning the draw, it was just so awesome to see her to blossom into a complete lacrosse player. That's like my story."

While Bailey had the athleticism to make the Saint Joseph's lacrosse team as a freshman, it took time for her confidence to catch up. Finally, as a senior attacker, she recorded four points in 13 games.

"For me, the biggest learning curve was the running and having that confidence in myself," she said. "I let my self-esteem get to me. I didn't have the experience a lot of the other girls have. By the time I got to be a senior, I found my confidence and played the most I had played all four years."

When Bailey took over Bishop Stang's program, she enlisted the help of former Saint Joseph's teammate and Stang graduate Liz Calnan.

"There's something to be said about having two young female coaches that played in college," Bailey said, adding that they use a lot of what they learned from Saint Joseph's. "It's been a pretty smooth transition going from JV to varsity. This year, it's making plays while last year, it was more teaching. It's a more-advanced lacrosse mind."

 

 

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Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.