(Nov. 22, 2013) Three Worcester Prep lacrosse players officially announced their commitment to play for Division I universities during a press conference at the Berlin school last Friday.
Lilly DiNardo will play for the University of Virginia, Maddie Pilchard is headed to Stanford University in California and Kristen Shriver will attend Winthrop University in South Carolina.
While many seniors around the country are trying to decide where they will attend college, DiNardo, Pilchard and Shriver committed to their respective schools before the start of their junior year of high school. All three received athletic scholarships.
“I’m proud of all three of you for your accomplishments,” said Worcester Prep’s Director of Athletics, Matt McGinnis.
DiNardo started playing lacrosse when she was about 3 or 4 years old. Now at age 17, she is preparing to head off to Virginia at the end of the summer. It is a school she wanted to attend ever since she participated in a lacrosse camp there in seventh grade.
When she took her official visit to the school, DiNardo said she knew it was “a perfect match.”
DiNardo officially committed in June after her sophomore year of high school.
“I committed at (lacrosse) camp. I got to meet the players and play with them a little bit and also get coached by the coaches,” she said. “I got to feel out how they were. It just seemed like a perfect match for me.”
DiNardo said she likes the location of the school because it’s not too close, but not too far from home.
“I’m really excited because Virginia is just really competitive in all their athletics and academically,” she said. “I like that tradition is really important to them and that’s something that’s important to me.”
DiNardo is a midfielder, but the soon-to-be Cavalier said she is not sure what position she will play at Virginia.
A Division I sport is a full-time, year-round commitment, but DiNardo is confident she will be able to balance her academics and athletics, because Worcester Prep has provided her with the tools to be successful.
“Especially playing three sports here, I’ve learned how to manage my time,” said DiNardo, who also plays soccer and basketball for Worcester Prep. “I want to get really good grades at Virginia. They do have a really good program for student athletes and they make sure we’re not falling behind in any of our classes.”
Before DiNardo packs up for college, she still has several months left at Worcester Prep, including her fourth and final lacrosse season as a Fighting Mallard. She was named Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference Player of the Year after the 2012 lacrosse season.
“I’m very excited. I hope we go undefeated,” she said. “That’s something that I haven’t been a part of here at Worcester Prep, an undefeated season, and I think we can do that this year.”
Pilchard picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time when she was 9 years old. When her recreation team needed a goalie, she stepped up to fill the position and she has played in the net ever since.
Pilchard made her mind up that Stanford was where she wanted to go in August after her sophomore year of high school. Committing so early allowed her to focus on her junior and now senior year at Worcester Prep.
The 17-year-old said Stanford was “the best fit for me academically and athletically.”
“They expect everybody to be top notch. They’ve won the Directors’ Cup for a really long time, which is the top [intercollegiate athletic] program in the country for all sports.”
Pilchard has met some players. She said all of the Lady Cardinals are nice and Pilchard likes the dynamics of the team.
“Everybody on the team is going to be working really hard to get better every year and hopefully win a national championship,” she said.
Another reason she chose Stanford was because of its location and “the weather is perfect.” Pilchard also liked the “whole feeling of campus.”
“The kids are all really smart and really nice. It’s a nice mix of cultural groups and people from everywhere in the country,” she said. “It’s a very encouraging environment, not too competitive, but it’s competitive enough.”
Although the school is across the country, Pilchard said it’s only a six-hour plane ride away. She also has uncles who live in San Francisco.
Pilchard said she talked to some girls on the lacrosse team and they said balancing school and a Division I sport is a challenge, but the athletic academic resource center is available to assist students.
Pilchard is planning to major in human biology. For a future career, she wants to be a pediatric neurobiologist.
“I want to work with ‘Doctors Without Boarders’ and be able to travel to third world nations and help kids,” she said.
Pilchard, who just finished up her final field hockey season at Worcester Prep–the Mallards went undefeated and captured their second consecutive ESIAC championship title–still has one more lacrosse season and she is looking forward to it. Pilchard earned First Team All-ESIAC honors at the end of the 2012 season.
“I can’t wait. I miss lacrosse season so much,” she said. “I want to be ESIAC champions again.”
Shriver, who just recently turned 18, has been playing lacrosse for about 10 years. She checked out a number of schools, but Winthrop, in Rock Hill, S.C., was “everything that I was looking for,” she said.
“I visited a lot of schools because I didn’t know where I would end up because of my injury, varying from top Division I programs to new programs such as Winthrop,” Shriver said. She was sidelined her sophomore year due to a knee injury. “The coach was awesome and it was the best visit out of all 14 school I visited. I think its really exciting making history starting a new program. Once I get to Winthrop it will be their third season.”
She made her final decision on Aug. 31, before the start of her junior year at Worcester Prep. Committing early took some weight off her shoulders, she said.
“I just want to thank my parents for all the support they have given me throughout the recruiting process,” she said.
When Shriver, who plays attack, went on her official visit, she stayed with some of the Lady Eagles. The team is well-rounded, she said.
Another selling point for Winthrop was the school grounds and academic programs offered.
“I loved the campus. It’s a perfect size. It’s not too big, not too small,” she said. “And, the major that I’m thinking about is perfect. Everything about it, it just fit well.”
Shriver is considering majoring in elementary education, with a possible teaching career in the future.
“I hope to have a balanced life between my academics and my athletics and not get too overwhelmed with school work,” she said, as a Division I sport is demanding. “I think it will be hard to adjust at first, but I’ll eventually get used to it.”
Shriver played lacrosse for Worcester Prep her freshman year. She had to sit out her sophomore year due to a knee injury, but she was back on the field last year. At the end of the 2012 season, she was awarded First Team All-ESIAC honors.
Her senior year she will be playing basketball, which started earlier this month, and lacrosse.
Shriver said she is excited for her final lacrosse season as a Mallard.
“We have like eight seniors and we all want to work together and help the lowerclassmen get better so they’ll be ready when we leave,” she said.