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Tilting the playing field
Women’s lacrosse goalie establishes herself as a leader
Since her freshman year of high school, Samantha Tilts had a dream of playing Division I lacrosse. With the great supporting cast she surrounded herself with, Tilts fulfilled her dream and is now the starting goalkeeper for the Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team.
Playing goalkeeper for Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, N.Y., Tilts learned how to become successful enough to play at the collegiate level. Along with playing at Schreiber, Tilts also played for club teams, such as School Girls National and 91 Lacrosse.
“Surrounding myself around people who were playing competitive lacrosse helped me succeed,” Tilts said.
Tilts has played with talented lacrosse players her entire career. In her graduating class in high school, three of her teammates went off and played at the collegiate level. This high level of competition has helped Tilts excel at the sport.
“The girls that I began playing with inspired me,” Tilts said. “Seeing them start looking at schools made me realize I could do it too.”
After looking at various schools to play for, Tilts eventually decided to become a Bobcat. After talking to the coaches and some of the players on the team, she was sold on making Quinnipiac her home for the next four years.
Three years later, Tilts is looked at as one of the team’s leaders as the starting goalkeeper.
“The girls I play with feed off each other’s positive attitude, so it makes me play harder,” Tilts said.
Tilts’ positive attitude has the ability to rub off on everyone on the team, and it has helped her teammates as a whole.
“Sam is great to be around as a teammate because she’s always positive and encouraging,” junior attack Kyra Ochwat said. “You can take a horrible shot, but she will always say, ‘You got the next one’ and it picks you right back up.”
Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro is honored to have Tilts as a part of her team. The leadership qualities Tilts has presented the team has made her job as head coach easier.
“We’ve enjoyed having Sam around the team because of her attitude,” Caro said. “She can let up nine goals, but she is going to save the next one. She always is focusing on the next shot coming.”
As a goalkeeper, one of Tilts’ unique abilities is to have a short memory on past goals. This ability has been a huge factor in her success as a Bobcat.
Adjusting to college wasn’t a difficult task. Playing on her various club teams and in high school, Tilts had the opportunity to play against talented competition.
“Playing with the girls on my summer league teams gave me a lot of experience coming into college,” Tilts said.
During her freshman year, Tilts split time with then-senior Noelle Martello. In her first season, Tilts posted a 2-4 record with a .453 save percentage in 11 appearances.
“Playing a little bit freshman year helped me get the jitters out,” Tilts said. “It helped me come out sophomore year much more confident.”
Tilts did improve her sophomore season, becoming the full-time starter. In 16 starts, she posted a 7-9 record and she bumped her save percentage up to .457 percent.
Tilts’ fondest memory at Quinnipiac was when the Bobcats traveled to the University of Vermont and pulled off a last-second upset to beat the Catamounts by the score of 12-11. Tilts made 12 saves in the game and helped the Bobcats secure the victory.
“It was a really good feeling winning that game cause it made us realize if we work hard and play together we can go out and beat anyone,” Tilts said.
Now in her junior season, Tilts is looking to continue her progress of becoming a better goalkeeper. After a long offseason of preparing, including facing teams like UConn and Yale in the fall, she is ready to lead the Bobcats in another season.
“I think playing those games helped prepare us for the upcoming season,” Tilts said.
The Bobcats open up their season with a difficult non-conference schedule, facing teams like UConn, Albany and Yale, but these games are leading up to the team’s inaugural Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season.
Caro is feeling confident this season because of players like Tilts. With seven seniors and four juniors, the team is loaded with experience and good role models for the younger players.
As for Tilts, she is ready for her junior year, and expects nothing but big things.
“I think as long as we play together and we play as a team,” Tilts said, “we can go as far as we want to.”