Garcia takes on a leadership role in final season with Marquette

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Shea Garcia (21) in Marquette women’s lacrosse’s 19-13 win over Central Michigan March 27.

Every week since the fall of 2021, Marquette women’s lacrosse senior attacker Shea Garcia has met with coaches to discuss not only her play on the field but also to push her outside of her comfort zone off the field.

“I lead more by example or by hustle or the extra work that I put in, so (in) those meetings that we have we talk about what I need to improve on or what I’m doing well on offense,” Garcia said.

Garcia said with the input she receives from the coaching staff, she is able to then help the other attackers and midfielders on the team.

While it was hard for her to be a vocal leader at first, Garcia said she has continued to work on it every day.

“I really put a focus on that (being more vocal) in the fall and I’m still working on it every day, but there is definitely a lot of other vocal leaders on attack, so I can always fall back on them,” Garcia said.

In order to become a better leader, Garcia said she has tried to create her leadership style from those who were in her position a year ago.

“I definitely tried to become a mix of them (Menzuber, Caroline Stellar, Lindsey Hill), obviously no one can be exactly the same, but Megan Menzuber was a really vocal leader and was a lead by example leader,” Garcia said. “I definitely couldn’t fill her leadership role, but I really wanted to almost do exactly do what she (Menzuber) did because she did such a great job.”

Coming into this season, Marquette lost four of its top eight scorers from last season. Garcia said she knew that not only would her role be different but the attack group, as a whole, needed to step up heading into this year.

Assistant coach Caitlin Wolf said that she has seen Garcia “really grow into a great offensive leader” on and off the field.

“Shea has definitely been our go-to and naturally she’s had the most experience on our team on the field, but I also think that she has such a high lacrosse IQ,” Wolf said. “She really can lead by example and lead by directing on the field. She’s done a great job of working to keep our unit that was a little bit ever changing and keeping us unified and on the same page.”

Garcia is putting up near career high numbers in her fourth season with the Golden Eagles, as she has racked up 28 goals and 12 assists in the 11 games this season.

In those 11 games, Garcia has scored four or more goals five times, including two six-goal performances against Detroit Mercy Feb. 25 and against Kent State March 12.

“Especially in the Kent State game, I was really able to read my defenders and honestly I think four of the six were the same exact move or play but I was really able to read my defenders well and they were giving me that space, so I took advantage of them not adjusting their defense,” Garcia said.

First year attacker/midfielder Meg Bireley said that Garcia is someone everyone can look up to as a role model.

“From a freshman perspective with her as a senior, she’s someone that has a lot of experience and a good leader that everyone can look up to,” Bireley said. “Even though she’s someone who’s had so much success on the field… she’s still super humble and works really hard.”

With four new attackers this season, including three first-years, Garcia said she has learned a few lessons along the way in terms of how to work with her teammates.

“You have to choose your moments of when you’re going to be harsh, that’s a learning moment,” Garcia said. “So, I’m definitely more (of a) patient person, so just making sure that they fully understand what we’re talking about and then making sure they put it into action. So following up with them… and just making sure they feel comfortable on offense.”

Garcia said she has brought along the phrase from her first year at Marquette of “help a sister out,” into how she leads.

“Say I (Garcia) were to turn the ball on offense, I know that the rest of my attack, midfielders, defense and goalie has my back and that we are gonna get the ball and we’re gonna go down and score,” Garcia said. “We can always just lean on each other and we always trust each other on offense and have a really great connection down there.”

Wolf said all of Garcia’s improvements come from the culmination of who Garcia is.

“Shea loves lacrosse, she loves to compete and she loves to get better,” Wolf said. “When you put those things together, the extra work that she puts in on and off the field, the relationships she has with her teammates, the passion she has for winning and being great at what she does really is such a springboard to be her best self.”

While there has been an improvement in her leadership abilities, Garcia said she knows there is still more she can improve upon for the rest of the year.

“Continuing to make sure that I am still stepping outside my comfort zone of being more of a vocal leader,” Garcia said. “I think that is one of my weakest points because I am good with small groups but the bigger group and the whole team, I’m a little more quiet.”

This article was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at jackson.gross@marquette.edu or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.