There have been Eastport South Manor girls lacrosse alumni who have gone on to play well in college—but none of them had ever reached All-American status.
Until Natalie Lieberman.
The 2009 graduate of ESM and Manorville resident earned Second-Team Division II All-America accolades after her senior season at the University of New Haven. Lieberman was also named to the All-North Region First Team and earned a First-Team All-Northeast 10 selection.
She finished third in the Northeast-10 with 87 points, including a team-high 64 goals along with 23 assists. Lieberman also recorded 54 draw controls and 21 groundballs, while starting all 19 games.
Lieberman said after being named All-North Region and All-Conference, she had an idea she could make All-American. She was supposed to play in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association North-South Senior All-Star game, which would have been her very last game on May 26, but she had to skip it due to an illness.
“It was a surprise, because, my past years, I haven’t done as well as I should have,” she said of earning All-American honors. “I worked really hard this year, though, so I was hoping I could get something out of it.”
Lieberman helped New Haven reach the Northeast-10 semifinals after a 12-7 regular season. It was the Chargers’ fifth consecutive appearance in the Northeast-10 Championship and the program’s first postseason victory since winning the conference crown in 2009.
Because the team lost so many of its players to graduation last season, New Haven wasn’t expected to reach the postseason. But Lieberman wanted to change that.
“No one expected us to do well. We just wanted to prove everyone wrong,” she said. “We just really wanted to win. Every year we want to win, but this year I feel like we all tried extra hard.”
New Haven head coach Jen Fallon said Lieberman was a key part of the team’s success this season. “Natalie has always been a great scorer for us,” she said. “We were dependent on her this season, and she stepped up and accepted that challenge for us. She was great for us in the draw circle. She’s a gritty player, goes hard after groundballs. Her role has evolved over the course of her time, but she was ready for it this season and was awesome to watch.”
Fallon added that Lieberman’s void on the team will be tough to fill going forward. Lieberman is sad to see her lacrosse career come to an end. After finishing up her final semester this fall to earn a graphic design degree, Lieberman hopes to land an advertising job in New York City.
“It’s definitely sad,” she said. “I’ve been playing since fourth grade. It’s been my life since [then]. It is a relief in a way, because I feel like I can focus on other things now, other than lacrosse. But I’m going to miss the girls, and playing lacrosse taught me a lot about life, about dedication. Really, about everything.”