Goalie Hayley Hunt makes major impact on Lehigh lacrosse

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Hayley Hunt, a sophomore goalie on the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team, has turned into one of the best goalies in the country.

Among the accolades for the Philadelphia native include leading the nation in saves with 216 and finishing second in save percentage at 54.3%. Hunt recorded a season-high 18 saves against Holy Cross on April 23. 

Mountain Hawks goalkeeper Hayley Hunt protects the cage from an attack by Lafayette College’s Olivia Cunningham. Lehigh defeated Lafayette, 16-6. Hunt had 11 saves on the day. (Sandler Douglas/B&W Staff)

Hunt started to attract some of the top Division I women’s lacrosse programs in the country when she was just a freshman in high school. 

Stony Brook University caught her eye early, and she was the first in her class to commit. After going through only one season at Stony Brook as a starter, something didn’t feel right.

Hunt was homesick.

She searched for another top lacrosse program, closer to her home. During her search, she found Lehigh.

Hunt said choosing Lehigh was an easy decision for her because it was one of the other schools that recruited her during her high school career. 

Hunt said Lehigh and Stony Brook’s lacrosse programs were very different. 

Mountain Hawks goalkeeper Hayley Hunt saves the ball with her knees during a practice on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at Frank Banko Field. Hunt led the nation in saves during the 2022 season. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

“I would say the big differences are just that we have to have a little bit more flexibility,” Hunt said. “Whereas Stony Brook is really team first.” 

Hunt also said that Stony Brook was a little bit more strenuous, and that practices lasted for hours on hours.

But the transition wasn’t hard for Hunt, who says she is an outgoing person when it comes to meeting new people.

The team welcomed her with open arms. 

“I have had the opportunity to really get to know Hayley this semester,” junior attacker Katia Carnevale said. “I am extremely lucky and grateful to call her one of my closest friends. She is genuine and kind, and is always a joy to be around.”

Mountain Hawks goalkeeper Hayley Hunt throws the ball in practice on May 3, 2022 at Banko Feild, Bethlehem, PA. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

 

 

For Hunt, Lehigh has been the perfect home. She says she strives for excellence on and off the field and feels that her teammates and coach have let her do that here, allowing her to focus on her academics in addition to playing lacrosse. 

She also takes pride in her work off the field. In high school, Hunt and her teammates worked with her coach at Harlem Lacrosse, a project to help impoverished communities in New York get access to lacrosse equipment. She says she strives to make lacrosse a more diverse community on a daily basis.

Lacrosse is so much more than just a game to Hunt.  

“Hayley brings Hayley to the team,” associate head coach Sammy Cermack said. “As a person, she’s silly, competitive, funny, energetic, brave. When she comes to practice, we get that same version, day in and day out.”

Mountain Hawks goalkeeper Hayley Hunt does a handstand during practice on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at Frank Banko Field. Hunt, a sophomore, is already one of the best goalies in the nation. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

 

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