Senior defender/ midfielder Julianne D'Orazio runs the ball down the field during Lehigh's 13-12 victory over Boston University on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at Banko Field. D'Orazio has 20 goals on the season. (Roshan Giyanani/B&W Staff)

Hard work yields success for women’s lacrosse co-captain Julianne D’Orazio

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Lehigh women’s lacrosse senior co-captain Julianne D’Orazio was named the Patriot League Midfielder of the Week for her achievements as an all-around player and leader.

D’Orazio scored a hat trick in Lehigh’s wins over Columbia University and American University last week, one of which was the game winner against Columbia.

Assistant coach Sammy Cermack praised D’Orazio’s performance in the recent games.

“She has been scoring more goals lately and she’s been trying to find other ways to get to the cage,” Cermack said.

D’Orazio also grabbed five ground balls, had two draw controls and caused three turnovers against Columbia.  On March 25, she had three ground balls, four draw controls and a caused turnover to help Lehigh defeat American 14-11.

Her recent accomplishments can be credited to her status as both an offensive and defensive powerhouse. Cermack said D’Orazio has worked on becoming more than just an off-ball player, focusing on perfecting her dodging and shooting to get to the goal.

D’Orazio attributes her personal success to her work in the off-season and her coaches, especially Cermack.  D’Orazio said Cermack will always work with her after practice if needed, helping her with her offensive skills like shooting.

“Having that person out there watching you and telling you what you’re doing wrong or what’s working, that’s huge,” D’Orazio said.

Cermack said D’Orazio always wants to get the most out of practice and do extra reps. She said she always believed D’Orazio could be an asset on the offensive end.

D’Orazio has come a long way since her first year on the team as a freshman.

‘’If you talk to my coach, she’ll joke that I couldn’t even catch the ball as a freshman,” D’Orazio said.

Coach Jill Redfern followed through on that claim.

“We do tease her because her catching and throwing certainly wasn’t what it is today,” Redfern said. “But she has worked really hard to achieve what she does today.”

D’Orazio said she has been working on particular skills to make her a more versatile athlete. Over the summer, she specifically focused on improving her stick stills and her shot to contribute more offensively.

Cermack said the best thing about D’Orazio is she is always striving to get better. This is shown in her transition to a two-way midfielder.

D’Orazio said another skill she has built on over the past four years is her leadership.

“(D’Orazio) plays a big part in tying the team together,” senior co-captain Allison Labeau said. “She makes an effort to have a relationship with each team member, and in return people look up to her on and off the field. She’s a respected leader because of her dedication and passion that is displayed every day.”

Cermack added her ability to build strong relationships with professors and peers as well as team members is reflective of her ability to lead.

Redfern noted D’Orazio’s strong interpersonal skills as well.

“Her relationships make her the type of competitor that she is. It makes her teammates want to get behind her during a game,” Redfern said.

For the remainder of the season, D’Orazio said she will focus on taking every day one step at a time and using past games as a learning experience. She said the team’s goal is to correct mistakes from its previous games and make sure the same mistakes aren’t made twice.

D’Orazio will return for a fifth year at Lehigh because of a concussion she suffered her sophomore year right before the season started. Next year she plans to get her master’s in Technical Entrepreneurship. D’Orazio said she is undecided on what she wants to do after Lehigh.

“I’m keeping my options open, but coaching has always been in the back of my mind,” she said.

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