By Emily Bary ’14
Wendy Nettleton ’17 first learned to play lacrosse from her sister, who served as her coach and assigned her to play goalie in middle school. Nettleton did a good job in goal so she stuck with the position in high school and college. She was the starting goalie in two thirds of Wellesley’s games this year and earned the co-rookie of the year designation from the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
Nettleton, who boasted one of the highest save percentages in the NEWMAC, recently sat down with The Wellesley News to discuss her training and her season. Excerpts of the conversation follow.
Emily Bary (E.B.): How long have you been playing lacrosse?
Wendy Nettleton (W.N.): Well my sister played so I’ve been introduced to the sport for a long time. I didn’t start playing organized lacrosse until sixth grade.
E.B.: Have you always been a goalie?
W.N.: I played in the field a little bit. The high school team coached the middle school team so my sister was my coach. Nobody ever wants to play goalie so she told me to do it and I wasn’t that bad.
E.B.: Why’d you decide to play at Wellesley?
W.N.: I really liked that it was Division III. Division I is a lot of work. The academic environment here is really good and that was one plus for the school. Also, when I visited junior and senior years, the team was very cool.
E.B.: What’s been your best Wellesley athletic moment?
W.N.: Winning rookie of the year was great. We also beat Babson this year for the first time in forever so we were very excited.
E.B.: What’s it like trying to establish yourself on a new team as a first year?
W.N.: I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was just because usually there’s a hierarchy where seniors are the top dogs. But everyone is really open to constructive criticism and just applying it.
E.B.: What’s a typical practice like for you?
W.N.: It’s always difficult physically. We do a lot of running. But also there are those mental practices when nothing’s going right and it feels really stressful. The team really helps with that though because they can recognize when you’re having a bad day.We can tell each other to take a step back and collect ourselves.
E.B.: How do you recover after someone scores on you?
W.N.: I’ve been working on it for years. Being goalie is full of ups and downs because you can have one bad game and then one good game. You feel like everything is resting on your shoulders a bit. It’s taken me a long time to realize that a goal will go in but you have to just forget it and move on. You can’t dwell on the past or that will just make things worse.
E.B.: Do goalies do all of the strength and conditioning workouts with the rest of the team?
W.N.: Yes. Preseason is always fun — lots of running, lots of weightlifting. We usually participate in most of the workouts that the rest of the team does. We may occasionally get out of things, which is nice, but we also didn’t do a lot of running this season in general because we had a lot of games.
E.B.: What are your goals for next year?
W.N.: I just want to keep improving. This season was kind of rough when it came to wins and losses. Our team was really close in a lot of games. Even if the score didn’t show that in some cases, we’d just have a couple lapses when the other team would score a couple goals and then get way ahead of us. I just want to work to improve. Improving wins and losses is one thing, but I also want to correct little things because that will make us a lot better. That’s something I’m aiming for myself and with the team too.
Nettleton ended her season with five wins and a 46.6 percent goal-saving percentage. Wellesley lacrosse closed the year with a 6-9 record including three conference wins.