In what started out as one of the best starts in program history, Rock lacrosse’s Caitlynn Palladino has been the forefront in the team’s success.
The senior attacker leads the team in scoring and assists to contribute to the team’s 9-3 start.
But Palladino was not always the prolific player that she is today.
Palladino came to SRU for what she called her “best possible situation”.
“I was looking at a bunch of different schools,” Palladino said. “But, they (SRU) had a really good secondary program and the conference is some of the best competition. It’s the best of both worlds.”
As a freshman, Palladino only started three games out of the 15 she appeared in for The Rock. She only accounted for eight points (five goals and three assists). The following year, she earned a starting job. For the next two seasons, Palladino would account for 44 points (22 each).
Now, in her senior season, Palladino has surpassed all of her season-bests, scoring 31 points off of 23 goals and eight assists, and she still has six games remaining in the rest of the season.
“I’ve definitely taken on a bigger role transitioning from my freshman year to my sophomore year as a starter,” Palladino said.
Head coach Emily Hopkins said that she has been taking her role very well as a player and a leader.
Hopkins said that she is not the team’s primary focus, but the offense works very well when she is on the field.
“I think it’s great she gets the ball to everyone,” Hopkins said. “She’s definitely an all-around player.”
Palladino is not just an all-around player by action, but by mentality. Hopkins said that treats every game equally. After taking losses to no. 11 West Chester and no 18. IUP and preparing to take on no. 19 Lock Haven, she said she’s just taking the games one at a time and preparing day-by-day.
“We have to prepare to keep our composure,” Palladino said. “We just have to keep our composure.”
Going into a week where her team will take on three nationally-ranked opponents, Hopkins said that the senior’s work ethic and belief in herself shows in her field presence.
“With all the hard work she puts in, she takes these games as any other game,” Hopkins said. “The confidence she has and all the hard work she has put in shows on the field.”
Palladino is making the most of her senior year and has the opportunity to continue to improve on her already great season. With five games left, her final days as a member of The Rock lacrosse team are coming to an end, and she said she doesn’t know how to feel about it.
“I’m happy, sad, excited and every other feeling you can think of,” Palladino said. “It’s a mixture of every feeling.”
Before her student teaching begins next semester and she prepares for graduation in December, Palladino still has time to figure out those mixed emotions and make the best of her final days as an SRU athlete.