Senior flew under some radars, into NU’s

Nina Mandell

As a co-captain and starting midfielder on Northwestern’s No. 1 lacrosse team, Sarah Albrecht has no regrets.

Except she knows she’ll regret sharing her favorite memory of living in the lacrosse house, she said.

“My favorite memory of living in the lacrosse house is when we made this music video,” she said. “We were just bored during spring break so we decided to make this music video. (It’s of) Dirty Pop. It took us two hours to choreograph. We won’t let anyone see it except the team. I won’t even let my parents see it.”

Luckily she has more memories of her time at NU that she can share with her parents, and the general public.

As Amonte Hiller’s first recruiting class reaches its senior year, Albrecht is just one example of talent she found where no other coach was looking.

As a junior at Thayer High School in Massachusetts, nobody, not even herself, saw Albrecht playing college lacrosse.

She had almost settled on the idea of playing soccer at a Division III school close to home when NU lacrosse coach Kelly Amonte Hiller showed up at one of her high school lacrosse games.

When Albrecht’s coach heard Amonte Hiller was starting up a program, she told her former star about an unrecruited talent with a great work ethic and athleticism.

After Amonte Hiller visited Albrecht’s home, Albrecht was sold.

“She just had an intensity about her,” Albrecht said. “She knew that we were going to a national championship one of these years … she just wanted to push this program to something that had never been done before.”

Because she concentrated a lot on soccer during high school, Albrecht didn’t seek out national recognition in national recruiting tournaments or development programs.

“Our high school coach spoke highly of her work ethic and athleticism and felt like I could do a good job of developing her,” Amonte Hiller said. “She’s the type of kid who can fall under the radar, but she wasn’t under my radar.”

Albrecht, who gave up softball to try lacrosse her freshman year of high school, made it to fourth on NU’s list of career points before Amonte Hiller decided to try her at a more defensive role this season.

With Albrecht back at midfielder, the Wildcats’ attack rose to No. 1 in the nation this season and the defense holds strong at No. 2 in the national rankings.

“She’s one of the best defenders on the field,” Amonte Hiller said. “She’s extremely versatile. I don’t think she ever imagined herself being as versatile as she is.”

Amonte Hiller also pointed to Albrecht’s leadership off the field as one of her biggest assets to the team. Albrecht was named as a co-captain her freshman year before having to redshirt her sophomore year due to an injury in the preseason.

Sitting on the sidelines as a redshirt was the only time that Albrecht did not start during her four years at NU.

When she came back as a junior, she remained a co-captain and a model for the younger players, sophomore Kristen Boege said.

“I respect her the most out of anyone,” Boege said. “She makes lacrosse really fun — I always look to her because I’m a lot like her and I know when she’s being serious, its time to get serious.”

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