A large group of Pace University lacrosse players from Long Island, together with their coaches and other teammates, were honored at the White House this week for capturing the NCAA DII championship this spring.
Seventeen of the 31 women on Pace’s roster are from communities on Long Island, including Kayla Conway of Wantagh. That’s her in pink in the photo above, right beyond Vice President Kamala Harris’ left shoulder.
“It truly was an honor to meet Vice President Kamala Harris and celebrate our athletic achievements with the NCAA community today,” said Conway, who graduated in May. “This is a monumental memory that I am beyond grateful for.”
The Pace midfielder represented Pace on stage, along with student-athletes from 47 other NCAA championship teams from this past academic year. The teams — representing 19 sports from all three NCAA divisions — were recognized on the South Lawn of the White House as part of “College Athlete Day” on June 12.
Conway scored 66 goals and totaled 85 points for the Setters to help lead them to a 21-2 record and the NCAA DII title. She recorded a hat trick in Pace’s 19-9 championship win over West Chester University of Pennsylvania on May 21.
Emma Rafferty of Bay Shore was Pace’s leading goal scorer with 83. She scored twice in the championship game and three times in Pace’s semifinal win over Florida Southern.
“It was so incredibly special to be welcomed to the White House in celebration of our national championship win,” said Rafferty, a midfielder who played as a graduate student. “Being able to share this moment with my teammates and administrators will be a memory I will never forget.”
“You made tremendous sacrifices — training through injuries, birthdays, vacations, and even a pandemic,” Vice President Harris told the crowd. “You know, all of you, what it means to commit and to persevere. And we know that so often, during the course of a long season, sports teams also become a family.
“You develop life-long relationships. You demonstrate teamwork and character. You make the people around you better in every way. You are leaders. You are role models. And, of course, you are champions,” she added.
Click here to see the complete roster of Pace’s lacrosse team.Embed from Getty Images