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CHASING RINGS


“THEY WERE HAPPY TO SEE THAT SOMEBODY IN COLORADO WAS ALSO AS INSPIRED AND WANTED THE SAME THINGS THAT THEY DID. I TAGGED ALONG LIKE A LITTLE SISTER.”


tagged along like a little sister.” When then-Team USA coach Sue Stahl hosted a clinic at the University of Denver, leading the U.S. into the new millennium with a who’s who of lacrosse like Gallagher, Kelly Amonte and Jess Wilk, Stuart introduced Wills to her. “Stuey marched me right over to Sue and said, ‘This kid is going to make the U.S. team one day,’” Wills said. Wills was a freshman


at Dartmouth when she qualified for her first U.S. team in 2003. She then became a four-time all-Ivy League goalie, leading the Big Green to their first and only NCAA final as a captain in 2006. “You remember the


big moments with her,” said current U.S. and Georgetown head coach Ricky Fried. “She was one of the rare early players out of the crease and active in and around the crease, picking off passes, making plays for her defense. She


became that eighth defender.” In addition to leading the U.S. to World Cup titles in 2009 and 2013, she was the first woman to make a Major League Lacrosse roster, earning a spot on the New York Lizards’ practice squad in 2014 — an appropriate milestone for the girl who played with and against the boys growing up — and was the inaugural MVP of the United Women’s Lacrosse League, which debuted in 2016. “Devon’s been known as a great athlete for a long time,” Fried said. “The work that she has done to become the premier goaltender in the world goes unnoticed by most people. Every aspect of the game, she has broken down and worked on to continue to improve, even when she was the best in the world. That just tells a lot about her as a person.” Wills also never forgot how Gallagher and


Stuart, and later Wilk, took a young goalie under their wings. Now it’s her turn. Gussie Johns, one of the youngest players on the 2017 U.S. Women’s World Cup team and a current junior at USC, where Wills is the associate head coach under two-time U.S. gold medalist Lindsey Munday, has witnessed Wills’ legacy since she was in fifth grade. As a “tiny little goalie,” Johns watched every


36 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE May/June 2017


USlacrosse.org


©PHOTO CREDIT ©IWGA


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