Soccodato benefitting from time with Italian national team

Freshman scored 12 goals in six games in European Championships

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Thomas Salinas ,

When the women’s lacrosse team arrived in Milwaukee to begin workouts for the 2016 season, one freshman was already in top playing shape. Cate Soccodato, an Italian-American from New York, played for Italy in the 2015 Women’s Lacrosse European Championships this past summer.

Soccodato was the youngest player on the 24-player roster and one of only six Italian-Americans selected to play for the team. She was the only player out of high school selected to play for the Italian team. Many of her teammates were 5 to 10 years older than her.

Head coach Meredith Black said what Soccodato did was remarkable.

“It’s huge, the fact that she got to play at the absolute highest level, before even getting to college. You can’t describe how great that is,” Black said.

Tryouts for the team were held the summer before the tournament in New Jersey. Italian-Americans from all over the country traveled to participate in hopes of making the roster. Soccodato said around 150 girls were at the tryouts and coaches notified her in February she earned a spot on the team.

The 18-team tournament was held in Nymburk, Czech Republic, from Aug. 6-15, with England taking the trophy. Soccodato and her teammates played the likes of Israel, Wales, Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Switzerland. Soccodato helped team Italy to a 4-2 record, scoring 12 goals and one assist, earning a ninth-place finish in the tournament. She said her time with the Italian national team helped her prepare for playing at Marquette.

“It was definitely a lot different than high school,” Soccodato said. “It was a big transition. The speed is really quick, I wasn’t used to it. I think the tournament really helped me before I got here.”

Soccodato said she learned a lot playing with the five other Italian-Americans, who all had successful careers playing for colleges such as Boston University, Duke, UPenn, Virginia and St. Mary’s.

Black said she could tell there was a difference in the way Soccodato came into the team last August.

“As a freshman she’s been able to step up into a role and play great,” Black said. “She’s very composed and confident. She has those tools to be a successful Division I athlete.”

Soccodato has played in Marquette’s first three games, scoring two goals and one assist. She says she feels no added pressure to score goals.

“I’m still a freshman, so I’m not sure how much they can expect from me,” Soccodato said.

Soccodato keeps in touch with many of her Italian teammates through Facebook. She plans on attending another tryout when the Italian national team prepares for the 2017 World Cup in Surrey, England.