Sophomore lacrosse goalie Hayley Hunt’s 12.27 goals saved per game leads the Patriot League. Hunt is also third in the conference in save percentage with a .531. Her save percentage average narrowly trails Navy’s Jo Torres, who is second in the conference with a .538 average.
Hunt’s achievements earned her an honorable mention on Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s Division I All-American midseason list.
“Finally being at a place and getting that recognition at this place is really big for me,” Hunt said. “It’s just fuel to the fire, basically making me want to do better and better.”
Hunt transferred to Lehigh this year from Stony Brook University, where she saw limited playing time. She completed 29 saves in 11 freshman appearances. In her 11 games this year at Lehigh, she has more than quadrupled her save total.
Hunt said she enjoys her role as a starter at Lehigh and it brings a sense of confidence.
“Getting here felt like a sigh of relief, I was back where I belong and without tooting my own horn, it felt like I worked and I deserve to be there,” Hunt said. “Eventually you have to make some changes to be where you want to be, and when you do that, the payoff is everything.”
Hunt said the coaching staff was a determining factor when she decided to transfer to Lehigh. She said she was fortunate to feel the family-like atmosphere created by Lehigh’s coaching staff.
Women’s lacrosse coach Jill Redfern said Hunt first caught her attention when she visited Lehigh for an event in the ninth grade.
“When she didn’t choose Lehigh initially, we said if she were ever to change her mind and decide that she made a mistake, that we would welcome her back,” Redfern said.
Redfern said Hunt is an athletic player with a lot of internal confidence and that she earned the starting position based on her high save percentage in practices and her stable performance in games.
“Ultimately, goalkeeping comes down to who was saving the ball the most in practice, so she was able to win the job based on that,” Redfern said.
Hunt was a compelling prospect out of high school due to her athleticism and dual-sport pedigree. Hunt played water polo and basketball in high school. She was also recruited by colleges to play basketball.
Hunt said she changed her priority from basketball to lacrosse in seventh grade.
“Lacrosse became the main priority after I started playing in seventh grade,” Hunt said. “That whole summer I spent at goalie camps just trying to be a better lacrosse player, because when I get my mind set on something, I want to be the best version possible.”
After taking over the starting goalie position on her high school varsity team as an eighth grader, Hunt fully committed to lacrosse, even though she had been playing basketball since the age of 4.
Hunt said one of the highlights of her season was playing against Navy on March 26, when she tied her personal record of 17 saves.
She said the unique experience of playing at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and facing off against the number one team in the Patriot League made the whole team excited for the game.
Despite leaving without the win, Hunt said the team did a great job on the defensive end.
“In the second half, I got super pumped and started getting our team hyped with huddles and everything,” Hunt said. “Then once we had that energy and that fire it was like a brand-new team stepped on the field” .
Junior Katia Carnevale said Hunt is a talented goalie whose confidence not only helps herself perform well, but also motivates the rest of the team. Carnevale said Hunt’s energy keeps the team going.
“Not only does she make the saves and get us those extra offensive possessions, but she has great energy in every save and every play that she makes,” Carnevale said.
Carnevale said she has grown close with Hunt ever since she transferred to Lehigh.
She described Hunt as a sympathetic, warm-hearted individual with a sense of humor.
“It feels like I’ve been friends with her for years, even though it’s so funny to think that I’ve known her for only a few months,” Carnevale said. “Her personality has just meshed so well with everyone, so we just love having her around.”
The women’s lacrosse team is currently seventh in the Patriot League with a 4-7 overall record, 1-3 in the Patriot League.
Hunt said the team hopes to secure a position in the Patriot League Tournament with a six game win streak to end the regular season.