Thriving on the field

“Eve, is that your mom sleeping again?”

This was a common phrase that Eve O’Sullivan would hear from her teammates in middle school during a break at a lacrosse game.

“I didn’t see a lot of the games because I napped during those,” O’Sullivan’s mother, Linda O’Sullivan said. “It was outside and it was right after work and it was a sunny hillside. I would go and my husband would just wake me up when Eve got the ball. In high school [games], I never fell asleep.”

From kindergarten to ninth grade, Eve O’Sullivan attended the independent school Valley School of Ligonier. Students were required to participate in basketball, lacrosse and field hockey starting in fifth grade. 

“Since it’s not a big popular sport around here, we didn’t have anyone to play,” Eve O’Sullivan said. “We just scrimmaged each other every so often until seventh grade and then there’s actually people to play.”

Of the three, it was evident from the start that Eve O’Sullivan’s heart was mainly with lacrosse.

“She was always practicing at home,” Linda O’Sullivan said. “My husband bought her a net and she would be outside throwing balls all the time. She didn’t come home and want to go down to the playground and shoot basketball hoops.”

According to Linda O’Sullivan, her daughter would be outside practicing even when the temperatures were freezing and practicing every night that she was home over the summer. 

After ninth grade, she attended Greater Latrobe Senior High School. During the change between schools, there was no doubt in Eve O’Sullivan’s mind that she would continue playing lacrosse. 

“I always loved playing lacrosse so I knew I wanted to continue on,” Eve O’Sullivan said.

During her senior year, Eve O’Sullivan was elected captain of the lacrosse team. 

Now a junior in college, Eve O’Sullivan has been playing lacrosse for 11 years. 

While Eve O’Sullivan’s skill in lacrosse comes from her passion for the game, her passion comes from what the game does for her.

“I feel like I can relax and not think about everything else that’s going on in my life,” Eve O’Sullivan said. “It’s something I can focus on that’s not school.”

Being a nursing major at Waynesburg University, Eve O’Sullivan faces a lot of stressors from schoolwork, but she believes playing lacrosse has benefited her mental health during school.

“It adds more balance. As a nursing major, a lot of people get wrapped up in ‘nursing, nursing, nursing’ all the time, and always studying,” Eve O’Sullivan said. “I don’t think that’s really a mentally healthy thing to do. So it’s nice. I get an hour and a half of practice just to forget about nursing and do something else.” 

According to Linda O’Sullivan, her daughter is a relatively shy person in day-to-day life, but the story is different when she hits the field.

“She does very well at helping people and teaching people and encouraging teammates,” Linda O’Sullivan said. “She’s big on skill development so I think she really works with new players to teach them the rules of the game and teaching them skills.” 

Eve O’Sullivan is currently one of the captains of the Waynesburg University lacrosse team, and while the team’s record is not where they want it to be, the team stays positive and knows that it’s not all about winning. 

“When you have a team where everyone’s coming in as an all-star, they have one thought in their mind. They just want to do good,” Eve O’Sullivan said. “That’s why people join, for the sense of community at Waynesburg.” 

Waynesburg University lacrosse head coach Gennaro Bonaventura agreed that while Eve O’Sullivan is not the most vocal, she leads the team by example.

“She works extremely hard on and off the field,” Bonaventura said. “Girls want to be like Eve. They want to play like her. They want to be like her, and that’s why she’s such a great leader for us.”

According to Bonaventura, the team calls Eve O’Sullivan the ‘lacrosse angel.’

“It’s a joke on the team but she really is the perfect student-athlete,” Bonaventura said. “I don’t have to worry about her. She always communicates well. She always works hard and always produces on the field.” 

Eve O’Sullivan has also expressed an interest in possibly coaching lacrosse after graduating college. According to her mother, they have had discussions about the possibility of coaching younger players after getting settled in at a full-time job. 

“We love Eve,” Bonaventura said. “She’s been a great addition to not just the lacrosse program but to Waynesburg University and the goal is to get more players like Eve. I’m really excited to see where the season takes us and where next year goes. I know Eve is going to have a bright future just because of her work ethic.”

According to Eve O’Sullivan, her mom has made the trip to Waynesburg to watch a few of her college lacrosse games, but with her junior lacrosse season just kicking off for the year, there is still plenty of time for Linda O’Sullivan to visit (and possibly get a quick nap in) at a game.