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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Henry’s kindness and leadership bring team together in historic season

Photo by Keifer
Henry orchestrates the Marquette defense in its loss to Denver April 29.

Five years ago, Marquette women’s lacrosse associate head coach Caitlin Wolf took a chance on a then-young lacrosse player named Ellie Henry.

That risk has paid off for both parties.

“It’s hard to imagine that she was even in that place because of how big of an impact she has on our team,” assistant coach Jill Rizzo said. “Not just as an athlete, but as a leader, as a teammate. She’s a really special kid. I can’t imagine what it’d be like if Caitlin (Wolf) and Coach (Black) didn’t take that risk.”

Now, as a fifth-year senior, Henry has made her mark on and off the field.

Coming in with only three years of experience, but a background in both soccer and basketball, Henry looked to learn as much as possible.

“Since then, my goal has been ‘How can I absorb as much information and grow as much as I can?'” Henry said. “Junior year, I was nominated as a captain. You’re going from that position of learning and growing so much to now being someone that people look up to and having the confidence to do that.”

Henry has broken several records during Marquette’s historic season this year. She currently sits as all-time No. 2 in draw controls (254), No. 7 in caused turnovers (61) and No. 3 in single season draw controls (97).

The records stand as a translation of Henry’s leadership on defense.

“She leads by action,” sophomore defender Molly Powers said. “You just see her working so hard, and it makes you want to work harder. She’s always willing to answer questions. She’s close with everyone, from freshmen all the way up to the fifth years, and she’s someone everyone can go to.”

Henry has been a key component in changing the defensive mindset, making the shift from “me” to “we.”

“The biggest change we’ve implemented in our defense is the mentality. In the past, we were a very individual defense and that’s why we were stuck playing man-to-man for so many years,” Henry said. “But then also it’s why our zone is so useful. You’re only as strong as your weakest player in any defense, so that gets exposed because you’re passing that off, you’re sharing responsibility between all areas of the field. We’re working together as a unit more than ever before.”

Henry has taken on the role of mentor for the young defense. She too was once a sophomore looking to learn as much as possible, much like Powers.

“I’m always asking her, ‘What should I have done better in that situation?'” Powers said. “She not only tells me but then she shows me or if I still don’t understand she sits me down after the game and she’ll walk me through it. She takes that extra step to make sure that they truly do understand it and it’s amazing how someone truly does care about everyone.”

In a more connected than ever team, Henry has helped foster the bond.

Whether it’s by hosting home cooked dinners in her apartment for underclassmen or getting to know everyone on the team, Henry has ensured a home for everyone.

“She truly does make this place feel like home,” Powers said. “Being in a dorm, it’s hard and she’ll be like, ‘Hey, come on for dinner, I’m going to cook you a homemade meal.’ She truly does want to connect with everyone. Even though she’s an upperclassman, she doesn’t care. She’s like, ‘I’m going to become best friends with the freshmen.'”

One of the ways she was able to connect with the entire team was by sitting down with each of her teammates.

“At the beginning of the season, she made a list of dates that she was meeting with every single person on the team,” Rizzo said. “She’s always doing whatever it takes to help others, not just in lacrosse, but she is a very selfless person and her leadership has made an impact.”

Henry’s kindness and compassion have carried into the team values. The biggest value for Henry she said is the importance of everyone.

“First and foremost, you need to respect everyone you’re playing with and part of that respect means holding people to that standard,” Henry said. “On defense, we’ve set such a high standard of success and set those goals before us of what we want to achieve and what that looks like.”

Through and through, Henry said she hopes her lasting impact goes back to respect.

“The lasting legacy that I want to leave is that everyone’s vital and everyone’s important and that the emphasis of hard work,” Henry said. “I would not be where I am today without hard work. It doesn’t matter who comes in or how you come into this program. That with hard work, you will succeed. I think that’s very much translated into life.”

This story was written by Emma Kroll. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @emma_kroll_.

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About the Contributor
Emma Kroll
Emma Kroll, Executive Social Media Producer
Emma Kroll is a sophomore from Janesville, Wisconsin studying journalism and public relations and is the Executive Social Media Producer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Prior to this position, she served as a sports reporter. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys spending time with her fellow Alpha Chis, exploring her community, and spending time outdoors. She is excited to start this new role and be creative in her reporting.

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