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Costanza returns to talented women’s lacrosse offense for final push

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Costanza returns to talented women’s lacrosse offense for final push

Claire Costanza attacks during Marquette's game Saturday against Johns Hopkins.

Claire Costanza attacks during Marquette's game Saturday against Johns Hopkins.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Claire Costanza attacks during Marquette's game Saturday against Johns Hopkins.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Claire Costanza attacks during Marquette's game Saturday against Johns Hopkins.

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Claire Costanza sat helplessly as a spectator last year while she watched her teammates set numerous program records and nearly reach postseason play.

The Webster, New York, native missed her entire senior campaign because of an injury she suffered right before the 2016 season. It was Costanza’s first major injury since she started playing lacrosse when she was five years old.

“It was really hard. Growing up and even in my college career, I had never broken a bone or even sprained an ankle,” Costanza said.

After her injury, Costanza had to make a decision to whether or not she would return to play and use her last year of eligibility. Costanza said for a brief period she thought about moving on with her life because of the tough recovery road. Ultimately, the now graduate student determined she had some unfinished business to complete.

“The season we had last year was incredible,” Costanza said. “Obviously I was part of it, but you still kind of feel like you’re not. So I think what switched it for me was how good the team did and I wanted to be a part of that again.”

Head coach Meredith Black wanted to give Costanza as much time and space as possible while she made her decision. Black said she made it clear she wanted the senior to return but she did not want to apply any added pressure.

Costanza has experienced many ups and downs throughout her time at Marquette. She is one of two players on the current roster who were part of the inaugural season in 2013. That year the team finished 2-15, relying heavily on Costanza as she posted a team-high 40 points on 18 goals and 22 assists.

“We depended on her a lot. She had to do everything,” Black said.

Things are looking a lot brighter for the team now, four years later. Marquette moved past their early program struggles. Coming into this season, Costanza was the program’s all-time leader in points with 129. The small but creative attacker has already added to that mark with seven points in three games this year.

This season the team is dynamic, with a number of players capable of scoring goals. Black said she is playing with perhaps the program’s most talented group of offensive players and the best she has coached. That poses a unique challenge for Costanza, returning from a year-long injury to a team where less of the production will come from her. She said adjusting to the team has been hard at times, but believes getting acclimated again is only a matter of time.

Black said she believes Costanza is already looking as sharp as ever.

“She’s too smart, she’s too adaptable and she’s too good of a player to worry about it,” Black said. “So far she’s been awesome. She’s the Claire that we’ve always known.”

Knowing this will be her last season, Costanza is focused on helping her team reach the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time. She said watching the program grow and being a part of its entirety is what makes her most proud.

“I had the opportunity to come back and I think I would’ve regretted it if I hadn’t,” Costanza said. “I think this year is going to be really special, so hopefully down the road I’ll be able to say I was proud of what we accomplished.”

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