Leader by example (Lacrosse Preview)

Brian Regan

She was an unheralded, barely recruited high school senior, and in the spring of 2002 she committed to a one-year-old varsity program with an untested coach. Four years later, the now-college senior is her team’s captain and has a national championship under her belt.

Lindsey Munday went from a quiet freshman to a scoring machine for Northwestern over the course of her first three years. Helping put the ball past the goalie’s stick and body is just a byproduct of Munday’s talent for the Wildcats. What makes her invaluable is her drive to win.

“My biggest goal this year is another national championship,” Munday said.

In an age of egocentric athletes with score-first mentalities, Munday could be portrayed as the anti-star. She said she focuses on her teammate’s goals more than her own and doesn’t pay much attention to her own success. When asked about being perceived as a scoring threat, Munday pointed out that all seven of the Cats’ attackers make it hard for defenses to contain them.

“She’s out there all the time, calling the plays, making everyone want to play better,” freshman Hannah Nielsen said.

Nielsen, who hails from Adelaide, Australia, said Munday was very welcoming to her and made her feel at home. The senior has filled Nielson in on the norms of both collegiate lacrosse and American society.

Munday’s amiability toward the freshman class shows another one of her selfless traits.

According to teammate and roommate Laura Glassanos, Munday has taken the program’s new players under her wing.

“I feel there are no classes on our team,” Munday said. “All of the freshmen have contributed a lot to the team already.”

Last year, Munday had 53 goals and 54 assists for the Cats and finished second in the country in points per game. Munday led the team in points, often scoring when her team needed her the most.

She had eight points last year against the team’s major regional rival, Notre Dame, and added six points against then-No. 2 Duke.

“At the end of the game, I would think she had three or four goals,” NU coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “Then I would find out she had five and several assists.”

Munday was described by her teammates as one who leads by example. Munday said she was comforted knowing her teammates thought of her as a leader, but dismissed the singularity of leadership on the team.

“Being captain doesn’t mean much when you have all sorts of leaders on the team,” she said.

Her ability to lead is second only to being a playmaker. It appears to come naturally for Munday as she sprints down the field and makes split-second decisions to get past defenders, leaving behind the traditional NU over-analyzing mentality and simply focusing on where she is on the field.

“I try not to think,” Munday said. “When people think too much they get rigid, and this is a game where you have to be fluid.”

Her fluidity helps her see the passing and scoring lanes, in addition to helping her separate her two worlds of importance – school and lacrosse. Her flexibility and adaptability on the field flows over into the library and classroom.

Munday is set to graduate with a degree in communication studies in June, and said she hopes she’ll have added another national championship to her resume. Because of this, she admitted to being slow in sending out her resume to potential employers.

If the chance arises, Munday said she would like to play professionally and would like to follow in her coach’s footsteps as a member of the national team in the World Cup.

Munday also has a strong ambition to get into coaching, partly due to her relationship with Amonte Hiller.

Both Amonte Hiller and Munday have great things to say about each other, which helps both the player and coach grow as leaders and students of the game.

Munday’s growth could put her again into consideration for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is awarded to women’s lacrosse’s player of the year, but that would just be an addendum to an already remarkable collegiate career – one that Munday said she knows exactly how she wants to finish.

“This year we know how much we need to work to win it all,” Munday said. “But now we are going to step it up a level and win it all over again.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected]