Whelan's success continues in sophomore season
During her freshman season, Katie Whelan showed that she could be counted on to contribute at the Division I level. Now a sophomore, she has become one of the strongest leaders of Hofstra’s women’s lacrosse team.
Whelan, who has been playing lacrosse since third grade, was able to step up and be an important member of Hofstra’s team from day one. “It was definitely nerve-wracking at first,” Whelan said. “My teammates made it so easy for me to mesh into their team chemistry. So, I got used to it pretty quick.”
After a successful freshman season where she was third on the team with 35 points, Whelan understands she cannot let up now. “I just know I need to keep producing for my team to be as successful as possible,” she said. “I want to contribute to every game that we have in some way, whether it’s scoring goals or assisting. “
She’s done exactly that. Through 11 games this season, Whelan has scored in six straight contests and has scored or assisted in every game. She leads the team with 17 assists and her 41 points have already passed her total from last season. Earlier this month, Whelan carried the team against Columbia where she tallied four goals and an assist, giving her at least four points for the fifth game this year.
Her motivation and drive come from her desire for her team to succeed. “I think we can go really far,” she said. “We just have to put in all the pieces that our coaches are telling us to and play with as much confidence as we can, and we know we can go really far.”
For the team to be successful, Whelan knows that they need to find a groove and be consistent. She tries to set the tone with her own consistency and positive outlook. “We just need to play a full 60 minutes of lacrosse,” she said. “Whether it’s coming out hot or if we fall back a few goals, we just need to chip away and continue playing as best we can and not [get] in our own heads.”
When things get tough for Whelan, on or off the field, she knows she can count on her teammates. “I just love all my teammates,” she said. “We have a great chemistry on and off the field and they’re a lot of fun to be around every day.”
Two teammates in particular have made the difference for her. Fellow sophomores Arianna Esposito and Shannon Boyle have not only been important for her athletic success but for her academics as well. “[Esposito and I] are in almost every class together, because we’re in the same major of physical education,” Whelan said. “[With] Shannon, we just have each other’s backs on the field. She’s defender and I’m attacker. So, whenever [those girls are] getting down or I’m getting down, we pick each other up.”
When it comes to her game, Whelan knows she can rely on her head coach, Shannon Smith, to hold her accountable. “She gets on me when I’m slacking off or I need to do better,” Whelan said. “She’s a great coach and she pushes me to be the best that I can be.”
Whelan is well on her way to becoming that player. Although only a sophomore, she finds herself in a veteran leadership role that is usually left for upperclassmen. Instead of shying away from the pressure, she has accepted it and used it to drive her and her team to success.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics