Sophomore defender Alexandra Ladda (left) and junior attacker Jane Henderson pose at Ulrich Sports Complex on April 20. Ladda and Henderson played lacrosse together at Harriton High School in Pennsylvania. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

Same face, new place: Harriton High School alumni find a piece of home at Lehigh

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After winning a state championship together in high school, women’s lacrosse junior attacker Jane Henderson and sophomore defender Alexandra Ladda both committed to Lehigh looking to secure another championship title by each other’s sides, this time in the Patriot League.

The two players have been teammates since middle school.

Henderson and Ladda attended Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where they played for a varsity lacrosse team known for its competitiveness and intensity.

When Henderson found out Ladda was joining her on the field as a Mountain Hawk, she said she was happy a piece of her childhood would be a part of her college experience.

“When she decided to come to Lehigh, I was really excited,” Henderson said. “It was a piece of home coming with me to Lehigh.”

Ladda said it was reassuring to know she had someone here already, especially someone as supportive and caring as Henderson.

“Henderson is very good at reaching out to younger people and encouraging them and showing them the way, which is kind of why the transition to Lehigh was so easy for me,” Ladda said.

Both Henderson and Ladda said playing together at Lehigh has strengthened their bond as teammates and as friends.

“Our bond has gotten stronger,” Ladda said. “I definitely view her as a role model, being a year older than me and doing so well in school and on the lacrosse field.”

Coach Jill Redfern said Henderson acts as a role model for Ladda, and their preexisting loyalty has extended to the rest of the team, adding a layer of trust between all the players.

Redfern said the special characteristics Henderson brings to the women’s lacrosse team include her honesty and trustworthiness as a teammate in addition to the emphasis she places on fitness within the program.

“Henderson is someone who is always willing to play super hard at whatever role she’s in,” Redfern said. “We can always count on her to go in and add a spark of determination.”

Redfern said Ladda is both humble and competitive and is the type of person who always puts the team first and tries to do whatever she can to contribute to the Mountain Hawks’ overall success.

Henderson agreed with her coach.

“Ladda is a really great teammate,” Henderson said. “She’s not afraid to tell you if you’re doing something wrong and is always working hard to get better.”

Redfern said Henderson and Ladda have a lot of personal characteristics in common as hard workers, determined players and great listeners.

“They are the people you always want on your team because of what they offer just as far as being good people,” Redfern said.

Moving forward, Redfern hopes to have Henderson step into more of a utility role, in which she will be a player the team can count on to move into any position that may need to be filled.

Ladda came to Lehigh expecting to play as a midfielder but moved all over the field during her freshman year. She is now a defender, which she said is her favorite position because it is rewarding and the best way she can contribute to the team.

Redfern said within the next two years, she sees Ladda becoming a markup defender, someone who is responsible for blocking the strongest player on the opposing team.

Henderson said Ladda’s character will allow her to grow into any role the team needs her in.

“Ladda always takes advice to the heart and wants to get better,” Henderson said. “If someone tells her that she’s not approaching quick enough on defense, or if she lets someone go right by her, she does not take it as a insult. She takes it as, ‘Oh, to be great, I need to improve this.'”

Henderson and Ladda are preparing for their last game of the regular season at American University on April 28 before making another tournament run together.

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