When the Syracuse Orange walk on to the field at Johnny Unitas Stadium in the NCAA Division 1 Women's Lacrosse Final Four on Friday at 5:30 p.m., some might see a familiar face.
Lindsey Steeprock, a 2007 Silver Creek graduate, is a member of the Syracuse Orange who are making their second trip to the Final Four in three years.
The games will be televised on CBS College.
Syracuse Orange defenseman Lindsey Steeprock will help her team compete for a NCAA?Division 1 lacrosse championship this weekend. The junior is a 2007 graduate of Silver Creek?Central?School.
Steeprock's path to the varsity roster was anything but easy. After playing at Silver Creek on the boys' team and the Seneca girls' team, Steeprock began looking at colleges and had her heart set on Canisius. However, she wisely listened to the advice of her parents and decided to continue her studies at Syracuse.
"I never thought I was going to come here," Steeprock said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "I was looking at Canisius and my parents talked me into going (to Syracuse) and it was the best decision of my life."
As a walk on, Steeprock, a junior defenseman, made the fall women's lacrosse team, but was cut before the spring season. Once she got cut, Steeprock enrolled in the Thurman Thomas Sports Training program to try and make the team as a sophomore.
"It made all the difference in the world," Steeprock's father Elmer said of going to the Training program. "That helped her develop physically and her confidence. It helped her believe she could compete at that level. The improvements she made were staggering. The trainers themselves were astounded by her change."
The hard work paid off.
During Steeprock's sophomore year, four athletes were vying for one walk-on roster spot. Steeprock made the cut.
"Coach (Gary Gait) met with us individually after two weeks," Steeprock recalled. "He was so impressed with how hard I had worked. In high school I didn't have to work hard. Coming onto this team, I have to work my butt off just to get on the field to play."
Steeprock noted the difference between high school and college is the speed of the game and the fact players have come from all over the country where the sport has established youth programs.
Two years ago, the Orange lost in the Final Four and last year they lost in the Elite 8. Steeprock thinks this team has a chance to claim the title.
"Hopefully this year we will take the National Championship," she said. "I think the biggest difference is team chemistry. We are playing together and not as individuals. Everyone jells really great. There is so much talent this year."
And while a long playoff run has almost become second nature to the Syracuse lacrosse program, it is still pretty new to Steeprock's parents.
"It's kind of amazing to us," Elmer said of the whole experience. "It's kind of a first for the area to be doing what she is doing - especially coming from a background where Silver Creek doesn't have a girl's team. To make a team with girls that are All-Americans and Two-Time All-Americans, and she is able to compete with them."
Mr. Steeprock notes the most important thing is his daughter's academic achievements. The Public Health major made the Dean's List the past two semesters.
With the spring semester over with, Steeprock will be able to come home to see her friends for the summer once the season is over with. If the Orange lose Friday, she will be home Saturday. If the Orange win, Steeprock won't be home until Monday - the day after the championship game.
And while Steeprock's friends haven't seen her much this past semester, they sure hope they don't see her Saturday.