Having just started playing a year ago, Kennesaw Mountain defender Emma Snipes was starting to get hooked on lacrosse when the senior season came to an abrupt halt due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Snipes and her teammates were gearing up to play rival North Cobb when the announcement was made that schools were closing and that all spring sports would be put on hold.
She said that coach Kristina Mater gathered the seniors following the announcement and told them that this could be their last game and to play like its their last.
The Lady Mustangs, who fielded a young team, went on to win their first game of the season. If only they were given a chance to use that win as motivation.
“I was really sad about it because I wished I got more time on the field,” Snipes said. “I wish I had played lacrosse earlier.”
Snipes’ lacrosse playing days may not be over. While she will not get a chance to finish what she started with Kennesaw Mountain, she is looking to play club lacrosse for nearby Kennesaw State University, where she plans to study biology and pre-med.
Snipes grew up playing softball, and it was her softball injuries that led her to lacrosse.
During a game her eighth grade season, she felt a pop in her right shoulder and thought nothing of it because she was double jointed. But the pain lingered for the next three months and she only felt it when she was playing softball or lifting heavy objects.
She went on to have surgery at the end of her eighth grade year to repair her labrum. Following a second shoulder surgery and nine months of physical therapy, she was cleared to play softball her sophomore year. But her shoulder was never the same.
“When I got back to playing, it was no simple process,” Snipes said. “I had to learn how to do everything over again, and on top of that, the pain in my shoulder remained relentless.”
That led to the tough decision of giving her softball after her sophomore year.
“It was a hard decision, but I knew it was the right one to make,” Snipes said.
To keep herself busy, she served as a manager for the boys lacrosse team. She started out by helping supply water and equipment at both practices and games and went on to help run games by working at the scorer’s table.
Meanwhile, the girls lacrosse team was encouraging her to pick up a stick and start playing, and she went on to join the Lady Mustangs her junior year while continuing to manage the boys.
Snipes said the hand-eye coordination she developed playing softball helped with her stick skills. The challenges were learning the rules and keeping up with the pace of the game.
What she will miss most about lacrosse at Kennesaw Mountain was the bond she shared with her teammates.
“My favorite part of lacrosse was being able to have such close teammates and coaches, it makes the game so much more exciting,” Snipes said. “We always had so much fun on and off the field. I am going to miss all the girls so much, but I am looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish next season.”