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Women’s lacrosse goalie duo benefit from competition

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Photo by Doug Peters

Photo by Doug Peters

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Coming into the season, senior goalie Sarah Priem had never missed a game for the Marquette women’s lacrosse team. That changed when head coach Meredith Black decided to start backup senior goalie Emma Salter against Central Michigan earlier this year. Normally if Salter plays, she comes in to relieve Priem in the second half.

After this had become a habit over the past three years, Black was surprised when Priem refused to enter the game at halftime when the Golden Eagles held a commanding 12-2 lead.

“Priem told me, ‘Absolutely I don’t want to play, I want Emma to play,” Black said. “Sarah stepped down. She’s the only player that didn’t play that game that was healthy. I was very touched to watch how that played out.”

Priem, ranked among the top 25 goalies by ESPN coming out of high school, is known as the most competitive player on the team. She said she struggled early in her career understanding why she got pulled from games. As a senior now, she says she has matured and her mindset has changed from “I’ll do anything to play” to “I’ll do anything to win.”

“Now I see everyone’s perspectives more and I respect everyone and know how good they are,” Priem said. “I’m always excited when (Salter) goes in and I know she will help us win.”

Salter has been a member of the program since it began. She came to Marquette for the nursing program and decided to play because of the excitement of starting a new program. She had the tough job of backing up Priem and Salter admits it was something she struggled coming to terms with.

“It’s not easy. There have been days that I didn’t want to play anymore,” Salter said. “It was a reality check, but I learned it’s important for me to stay mentally strong.”

Just like Priem, Salter says she has grown during her time at Marquette. She learned to become mentally tough and to look on the bright side. Coming into her last season at Marquette, she wanted to have more positive energy. She takes pride in competing at practice and helping the team improve however she can. Despite her lack of playing time, Black and the team view Salter as a crucial member of the team.

“I think everyone would agree that she is one of the most important players on our team,” Black said. “Emma brings the energy to our program. She’s super vocal and energetic, and she brightens every single person’s day, every day.”

Salter said she takes it upon herself to keep a positive energy surrounding the team.

“I call myself the energy queen,” she said. “I take it as a big role and I believe it helps our team.”

The two goalies admit playing together has challenged them to work harder. Priem said she has embraced having to compete for the starting spot. She said she realizes how good Salter is and that it hasn’t allowed her to take any days off.

“At every practice I have to come and compete because my spot isn’t guaranteed,” Priem said. “It makes me more competitive and that translates in the game. She’s really pushed me to become a better goalie.”

Both have battled emotions and Black says it was tough for them to accept their roles. Taking a step back to look at how things unfolded is something special. Black said watching the two respond and mature over the first four years of the program has been remarkable.

“To have two goalies at that caliber that our attack gets to shoot at every day has been a blessing,” Black said. “We get it all. I’ve loved every second of it.”

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