Senior defender and midfielder Kierstyn Voiro poses at Ulrich Sports Complex on May 1. After her freshman year, Voiro switched from attacker to defender. (Ben Wang/B&W Staff)

From scoring to stopping goals: Kierstyn Voiro looks back on her transition from quiet attacker to confident defender

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Growing up in Moorestown, New Jersey, senior defender and midfielder Kierstyn Voiro knew she wanted to play lacrosse in college.

She picked up the sport in third grade because it was the most popular and never looked back.

Now — nearly 13 years later — her Lehigh career is winding down, but her impact on the women’s lacrosse program won’t be forgotten.

Voiro started attracting the attention of college coaches at the beginning of high school. After narrowing down the list of schools she was interested in, she decided Lehigh would be the perfect fit for her.

“I think what sold me on Lehigh was the campus, the team and the academics — that was something I was looking for in addition to strong athletics,” Voiro said. “And the distance from my home is about an hour and a half, so it was just a great balance of everything.”

She came to Lehigh as an attacker and started all 17 games her freshman year. After her first season, however, she transitioned from scoring goals to blocking them because the team was in need of defenders.

At first, Voiro was hesitant to make the switch because she’d never been on the defensive side of the game before. But her desire to work hard and improve allowed her to become more comfortable and find success in her new role.

“I always want to get better, and I always want to try new things,” Voiro said.

And that’s exactly what she did.

Voiro started all 18 games as a sophomore and was part of a defensive unit that held opponents to less than 10 average goals per game. She was named to the first team All-Patriot League her junior and senior years.

This season, Voiro was named co-captain and helped lead the team to its best Patriot League record in her time as a Mountain Hawk.

While Voiro grew into her role as a leader during her time on the team, she first had to grow as a person.

At the start of her freshman year, Voiro said she was quiet and kept to herself, not wanting to overstep as a younger player on the team. Once she grew more comfortable, however, she started to open up.

Senior defender and midfielder Kelly McBrearty watched as Voiro became more confident in herself and found her voice.

“(Voiro) always had to potential to be a great leader,” McBrearty said. “Her talent has allowed her to be a great leader by example. But her ability to lead got even better when she broke out of her shell and spoke up a little more. I think we were all waiting for her to do that because she gives great advice and knows the game really well. A lot of people look up to her and look to her for answers.”

The success Voiro found as an athlete was made possible by the person she grew into.

Fifth year midfielder Jules D’Orazio said Voiro’s ability to remain calm while under pressure and her drive as a competitor are what make her a skilled defender.

“(Voiro) is super laid back,” D’Orazio said, “but once she steps on the lacrosse field, she has this competitive drive that makes her such an incredible athlete. Her focus, composure and selfless attitude all add up to make her the successful person she is.”

Every day over the last four years, Voiro came to practice prepared to work hard and make herself and her teammates better. This is what she wants to be remembered for.

“I want to be known as someone who always worked hard, never really quit and had a great work ethic,” Voiro said. “But, also someone who wanted to make her teammates better and see them succeed in their own roles — someone who just really cared about her team and everyone on it.”

As Voiro’s final season comes to an end, she said she has no regrets about the decision she made almost six years ago to become a Mountain Hawk.

“Overall, I’ve loved my time here at Lehigh,” Voiro said. “It’s really bittersweet to think that it’s coming to an end so soon. Everything from playing lacrosse and making amazing friends to getting such a great education — I really wouldn’t change anything. I’m excited for the future, but I’m really going to miss my time here.”

After graduation, Voiro plans to spend the summer traveling with friends before starting her job at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and applying the lessons she learned from Lehigh lacrosse.

“I’ll definitely remember all the memories I’ve made with people on the team,” Voiro said. “Those are the things that are really special to me because that’s what I’ll remember the most. And everything the coaches have inspired — to be confident in myself, whether that’s in lacrosse or life itself.”

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