When there was no local female lacrosse coach to help her young daughters learn the sport, Pamela Simpson picked up a manual and taught herself enough to coach the local recreational team, the South Hadley Tigers.
It was a strategy that appears to have paid off in spades. On Nov. 12, Mrs. Simpson was at the Grubbs Gallery to watch her younger daughter sign a National Letter of Intent to play with Elon University in North Carolina.
Her older daughter, Karly Simpson ’13, also received multiple honors while at Williston, including the Alumnae Bowl, and went on to play varsity lacrosse at Trinity College.
“I never dreamed of this level,” Mrs. Simpson said as Gracie Simpson ‘15 finished signing an agreement to play with Division 1 Elon. “Sports were just to give her different opportunities.”
The Williston senior said it was not until she began attending lacrosse camps as a freshman that she realized she had the potential to play on a D1 team. She noted that playing at Williston, and with Head Coach Jen Fulcher in particular, had only deepened her love of the game.
Coach Fulcher had nothing but praise for her super star player, describing her a great defender and a threat on offense, with “great hands, great speed and quickness.” Last spring, she was named NEPSAC All-New England. Having coached Ms. Simpson on the varsity team for the last five years, Coach Fulcher said it was “hard to imagine coaching a team that doesn’t have her on it.”
“Gracie has got to be one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever coached,” she said. “It only takes seconds of watching her play to know you’d be lucky to have her on your team.”
Ms. Simpson is going from a Williston program that’s enjoyed tremendous success in the past seven seasons—including an undefeated in 2013, and a 14-1 record last year—to a brand new team that’s already shown great potential. In their inaugural season last year, the Phoenix team had a 8-8 overall record and 4-1 in their league. Elon finished second in the conference during the regular season; Head Coach Josh Hexter was named Atlantic Sun Conference coach of the year.