SUNY New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Jenna Lasaponara Looks Forward to First Season With the Hawks
A homegrown talent from Dutchess County, Jenna Lasaponara
is excited to begin her first coaching position as women's lacrosse assistant for SUNY New Paltz.
Her inaugural season with the Hawks comes after having graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from LIU Brooklyn just last year. Lasaponara is now attending SUNY New Paltz Graduate School to pursue a Master in Business Administration, as well as starting her first coaching experience with the Hawks.
Lasaponara didn't grow up playing lacrosse, but instead picked up the sport her freshman year of high school as it was relatively new to the area.
As it turned out, Lasaponara was a natural. She went on to play all four years for John Jay East Fishkill High School in Hopewell Junction, NY and developed a passion for the sport ever since, helping the school's first lacrosse program to expand, while earning All-League AA Section 1 honors as a midfielder in 2011. During her senior year she recorded 20 goals and two assists, and attracted the attention of Division I universities and became the first player from the Patriots program to earn a scholarship to play Division I lacrosse, after signing with the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.
"We had a new coach and the program was still in its developing stage," said Lasaponara. "But the coach had specific ideas on how to develop and push its student-athletes in the right direction, looking to grow players on athletics, as well as on a personal level."
In her last year at LIU Brooklyn, Lasaponara started 12 of 14 games, picked up 10 ground balls and caused four turnovers. Following her senior season, SUNY New Paltz's newest assistant coach applied to New Paltz Graduate School, and when she saw the opportunity to coach women's lacrosse, she didn't hesitate.
"She was very interested in the job opportunity. We were already in season so I hadn't had time to find an assistant coach. It was perfect timing for us." said Hawks coach Keith Detelj
. "She is a very hard worker and a very intelligent coach. She was a good fit for us here at New Paltz. Jenna has many qualities that suit her and to mentor her in some way is great."
Although Lasaponara came to SUNY New Paltz to continue her studies, she was determined to stay involved in the game, and along with accepting the position as the Hawks assistant, also spent time coaching a local youth club team in the area, the Dutchess Monarchs.
"It is great to see her coach the youth around this area, it really shows her love for the game and her wanting to pass that down," said Detelj. "It's cool to be a part of that."
The Hawks' preseason began early February, and they are practicing hard to get ready for their season opener Feb. 3. Lasaponara said one of the team's goals heading into the year is to do well in conference and make the postseason, but noted the growth of the team is the biggest goal.
"Our goal is to do well in SUNYACs and try to make playoffs, but most importantly we need to grow and develop our girls on and off the field," she said.
Regarding her experience so far, Lasaponara said, "I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm learning a lot, and the girls are learning a lot. We are all excited for the season and for what the new year is going to bring for us."
Lasaponara and the Hawks begin their 2018 campaign Saturday at Elmira College at 2 p.m. For updates, highlights, videos, recaps and more be sure to follow @nphawks
on Twitter and @newpaltzhawks
on Instagram and Facebook.