Losing in the National Championship Game two years in a row wouldn’t sit well with any athlete in college. Rightfully so, it doesn’t sit well with Lock Haven Lacrosse player, Shannon Bissnette.
Bissnette, entering her junior season at Lock Haven, is on a mission with the rest of her team to prove that the third time is indeed the charm.
“Knowing what it feels like to lose in a National Championship game makes you want to win that much more,” said Bissnette, who enters much more of a prominent leadership role with this year’s group as Lock Haven lost the likes of Jessica Pandolf and Rachel Ward to graduation after last season.
But the leadership does not come without experience, as a life full of lacrosse has Bissnette ready to shine this season. It started in elementary school with a best friend and a game that looked like fun.
“I started playing when I was in fourth grade with my best friend because I thought it looked fun,” said Bissnette, a native of Rochester, NY. “In my area, lacrosse is very popular. It is a very big youth lacrosse community.”
While Bissnette was not heavily recruited, she felt right at home when choosing Lock Haven.
“The campus was small,” she said. “I liked that the team had a family-like atmosphere.”
“I liked being in the mountains because I’m not used to that.”
Bissnette wasted no time leaving her mark on the Lock Haven and PSAC Lacrosse scene. In her freshman campaign, she racked up nine goals, 33 assists and 42 points in 22 games.
She followed that up with an even more impressive sophomore season, with seven goals, 49 assists and 56 points in three fewer games played. Bissnette earned third-team All-America honors following her sophomore season.
Even with a vast improvement in numbers from her freshman to sophomore years, there is always room for improvement, as Bissnette remarked she has to become more of a scorer.
Following last season, there was a coaching change for the Lock Haven lacrosse team, as Lindsay Reese has taken over as Lock Haven’s new head coach.
Bissnette, who is now a captain this season, stressed that even a coaching change would not bring much change to the program itself.
“We still have the same philosophy regardless of what coach we have. We still have the same ultimate goal.”
The biggest difference personally for Bissnette was trying to figure out the leadership role of being a captain.
Bissnette joins upperclassmen Leah Peppelman, a redshirt-senior, Kelly Close (senior), Hope Thomas (senior), Jenna Dingler (senior), Sarah Houde (senior) and Hannah Houde (senior) on a rather youthful Lock Haven team. The Bald Eagles are ranked eighth in the nation in the preseason poll and were just recently picked to finish third in the PSAC.
The “Road to Denver,” as many of the Lock Haven lacrosse players will say, does not come without commitment.
“[College] is much more of a time commitment,” said Bissnette. “Getting in shape is essential in college.”
The love that Bissnette once saw in fourth grade for a game that looked fun has now turned into a driving force for herself and her teammates to make it to the Final Four, being held in Denver, CO. this year, for a third straight year. The “Road to Denver” begins on Sat., March 5, when Lock Haven hosts Shepherd University at 2p.m. at Charlotte Smith Field to begin the regular season.
“Every practice, every lift, every sprint, I’m thinking about the goal of winning a National Championship.”