The IUP lacrosse team is in the midst of quite a successful decade, with the team’s triumphs outpacing many other IUP sports without the blitz of media coverage to go along with it.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent success has been the play of Ally Burrows (senior, biology). Burrows is IUP’s leading goalscorer in each of the last three seasons, and with a 57-goal season in 2019 took the career record for goals scored in team history.
“I’ve been playing since I was in second grade,” Burrows said, “and I just played it because it’s really popular where I grew up, and my sister and brother both played, so I just did it, too.”
Her success dates back to her time at Marcellus High School in New York, where she scored 170 career goals, 70 of those coming in her senior season.
“I played against some really good girls who were heading to Division I schools, and without that, I don’t think I would’ve been as prepared to see such good talent when I came to college lacrosse,” Burrows said.
Division I may have been an option for Burrows as well, but being at the Division II level at IUP appealed more to her.
“I wanted balance between academics and sports,” Burrows said, “and I wanted opportunity to play. I knew if I had gone to a bigger school, I wouldn’t be able to make such an impact.”
Burrows has certainly made a notable impact during her career as a Crimson Hawk, scoring a goal in more than half her career shots and averaging 3.2 goals per game, while helping lead IUP to a combined 43-26 record over her four years in crimson and white.
This year’s squad finished with a 10-7 record and was ranked in the national top 25 poll for roughly two weeks near the season’s end.
“We definitely faced challenges in the beginning that if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t be as successful now,” Burrows said.
The team started the season with a 3-5 record, but those losses may not have been all bad for the Crimson Hawks.
“We needed to lose a few times to know what it’s like to come back from that, and now we’re pretty confident in ourselves,” she said. “We definitely had a loss of identity at the beginning, but now we’ve definitely come together.”
The highlight of the season and one of Burrows’ favorite career moments was the team’s April 6 victory against No. 9 East Stroudsburg.
“We were not destined to win based on the standings, but it was such a good feeling to win at home,” she said. “And when we all celebrated at the end, we were just so happy that we accomplished that. Even though we had lost to teams we shouldn’t have in, that moment made it worth it.”
Burrows said she hopes to keep the game in her life after graduating, looking to serve as a graduate assistant for a team.
“Hopefully I can get some coaching experience and keep studying,” Burrows said. “I want to go into wildlife biology, and hopefully [coaching] can pay for some school. Lacrosse has set me up for this because it’s taught me so much, and if I am an assistant, what I’ve learned here will be useful.”