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Baldwin reaches milestone

by Matthew Ondesko: Owner

Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union

It just seemed like a normal game. Everything seemed to be going like it usual does. But, the game was anything but normal. There was a milestone that was in the back of everyone’s mind. No one really wanted to talk about, because it was more important to win the game.

But, the players knew this day was going to be special.

Caroline Baldwin has been playing lacrosse for a long time. At some point, milestones are going to happen. It could be your first game, or your first goal. On this day, Baldwin was going to achieve a big milestone as she would score her 100th goal of her career.

“I knew I was getting close to 100 goals, so it was in the back of my mind, but I was really focused on just winning the game,” stated Baldwin. “Once I did reach my 100th, it was a great feeling to be able to celebrate with my best friends next to me.”

It has been a great career for Baldwin at Nardin. She has earned a lot of recognition, including being named an All-Catholic selection. While the selection was nice, Baldwin was more excited over the fact that some of her teammates also made the list.

It showed the type of talent that Nardin has, and had been building over the past couple of seasons. It also shows the hard work that Baldwin, and her teammates, have been putting in.

“Although I was excited to hear I was named All-Catholic, I was much happier to hear that multiple players on our team were named All-Catholic as well because it highlights how much we’ve grown as a team. It is definitely more fun to celebrate my team’s success over personal achievements,” stated Baldwin. “I am definitely proud of that accomplishment, but I am also very conscious of the fact that the great players around me gave me the opportunity to reach this goal.”

The ultimate goal, however, has still eluded the Gators. Last season, the Gators had a great season, and made a playoff run, where they would face Nichols in the finals. The finals were a great game, played by two very good teams.

In the end, it was Nichols that took home of the Monsignor Martin championship, and left Baldwin with a bitter taste in her mouth. The loss has been fuel for the team all season long as they look to get back to the title game against this year.

“Last year we had a great season and made so much progress,” stated Baldwin. “Unfortunately we fell short to Nichols in the championship; however, I think as a team that experience helped us grow and will be the driving force to get us back there this season.

With all the success comes all the pressure. Scoring 100 goals in a career means other teams are going to face-guard, and throw double teams, at you the entire game. It can get frustrating for a player sometimes, knowing what they are going to expect as soon as the game starts.

Baldwin is crafty enough, however, to see when a double team is coming. By her drawing an extra body at her that allows one of her teammates to be open. Now, it;s just getting them the ball so they score.

“Baldwin won’t lie when there are times she gets frustrated with all the attention she receives. it’s not because she wants to score every time the ball is on her stick, it’s because she wants her I think a lot of my success on offense comes from our strong attacking unit as a whole. We all work really well together and are able to create opportunities for one another to score. Being able to get open has a lot to do with timing and I think knowing each other as players helps us anticipate when a play is about to form, which in turn sets not only me, but all of our attackers up to score: stated Baldwin. “There are definitely games where I anticipate getting doubled and at times it can be frustrating because as a player I want to be the best I can be for my team. But honestly, when the double is sent or they decide to face guard it just pulls a defender out of the mix and opens up more opportunities for other players. Team to have success.”

Badlwin has also stepped up as a leader over the years. It’s been fun watching her mature into the leader she has become. It also helps that the lacrosse team breeds that kind of culture. They are a very close knit team, and she believes that has a lot to do with the culture that is being built there.

“I think how close our team is has a lot to do with our success and having so many great upperclassmen definitely helps acclimate the incoming players quickly. The jump from jv to varsity can be intimidating and our team is very sensitive to that, so we pride ourselves on our welcoming culture as well as leading by example in regards to our level of play,” stated Baldwin. I have been so fortunate to have some of the best coaches in WNY from a young age and that has been the biggest influence on me as a player and now as a leader. I try to bring my best everyday and hopefully encourage those around me to do the same.”

With her high school slowly coming to an end, Baldwin is looking forward to the challenges that college will bring. The recruiting process was not a fun one for Baldwin. It was very taxing at times, trying to a find a school that met both what she wanted academically and athletically.

She went to a lot of prospect days, and reached out to a lot of coaches, until she finally found the right choice for her.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was an extremely taxing and stressful time trying to find the right fit for both academics and athletics,” stated Baldwin. “I reached out to a lot of coaches and went to a lot of prospect days, but when I went to Duquesne I ended up having a great prospect day and the coaches seemed to like me so I started to look deeper and it ended up being the perfect place for me.”

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