Rizzo brings youth and experience to Black’s staff

Marquette+womens+lacrosse+assistant+coach+Jill+Rizzo+was+a+five-year+starting+goalkeeper+at+Ohio+State+University.+%0A%28Photo+courtesy+of+Ohio+State+Athletics.%29

Marquette women’s lacrosse assistant coach Jill Rizzo was a five-year starting goalkeeper at Ohio State University. (Photo courtesy of Ohio State Athletics.)

Walk by the weight room in the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center on Mondays and Wednesdays, you will find the Marquette women’s lacrosse team lifting. But if you squint your eyes, you will not only see the players but also first-year assistant coach Jill Rizzo joining in.

“I think that‘s kind of cool that she is working out side by side with us. We get to see her as more of a teammate and friend,” sophomore defender Audrey Brett said.

After a stellar five-year career as the starting goalkeeper at Ohio State, where she became the lone Buckeye to have more than 600 career saves, Rizzo joined Marquette head coach Meredith Black’s staff this past June.

Rizzo said she always dreamed of being a coach because of the impact her own coaches has on her.

“I love sports. I wanted to find something, a career where I could help people,” Rizzo said. “I had a great experience collegiately just learning how to become a leader and the amount of role models I had, the impact they had on my life, I wanted to be able to instill that in other people.”  

Black said while she was looking for an assistant coach, she was looking for someone who “would be well rounded.”

“She is a stud. I was looking for someone who could do more than coach goalies and she definitely was a great pick,” Black said. “Everything that we preach to the girls, Jill encompasses that in how she coaches, it’s been a great addition and the girls love her, she has stepped up and done a really nice job.”

First-year defender Jasmine Murray said Rizzo is positive and loyal.

“She always makes us laugh, and I feel like I could speak for all the players on this, she is very funny and brings a nice sense of positivity to us all,” Murray said. “She is supportive of all of us as players and helping us find our strengths whether it is on or off the field.” 

Murray said Rizzo has helped her transition from high school to college both on and off the field. 

“She is kind of a role model to me, just as a coach and as a player too. She has done a great job helping me transition from playing a high school level to the college level,” Murray said. 

Murray said with Rizzo being close in age to her and her teammates, as she just finished up her collegiate career, she knows what it’s like to be a student-athlete. 

“She helps us balance both school and lacrosse and managing stress. She helps us be confident in ourselves when playing on the field and helps us to come out strong,” Murray said. 

Murray said that Rizzo’s energy really helps motivate the team, especially the defensive players, on and off the field.

“She brings such positive energy to us as a defensive unit, we have our moments when it comes to game day where we are serious and ready to go, but we also have funny memories, like when she drove the shuttle for us and we drove around with her and we were all chatting. I always find myself laughing around her, but when it comes to games we know how to step back and take it seriously,” Murray said. 

Brett said that the team has a lot of trust in Rizzo and that has translated to the field on the defensive side of play.

“We all trust her so much because she has given us so much confidence to play our game and to be a dominant defense. She knows the balance between being tough on us and when to support us and give us some love. I think her knowing when to push us and when to just hype us up is what makes her so good at what she does,” Brett said. 

After practices the team is able to stay after and get extra shots in, where Rizzo said sometimes she will hop in goal and let them shoot on her. 

“When the girls are getting extra shots after practice, I am able to sometimes hop in and just tell them kind of what I see and what I am feeling,” Rizzo said. “It’s me being able to observe, get in there, play with them and give them that immediate feedback is fun. I think it’s helpful for them too.” 

Looking into the future, Rizzo said she hopes to be a head coach one day but for now she is just focused on winning the BIG EAST Championship with her new team.

“I am enjoying the moment and I have a lot to learn,” Rizzo said. “I am young, new and just wanting to learn as much as possible. For the team we are trying to win a BIG EAST Championship, so I just want to help them to grow and accomplish their goals in that way.”

This article was written by Kelly Reilly. She can be reached at kelly.reilly@marquette.edu or found on Twitter @kellyreillyyy.