May 16, 2013

Queener Acts the Part, Plays the Game for Limestone

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

The Saints' Sylvia Queener has bridged any gap between Limestone's theatre and athletic departments, with her talents on stage and on the field for the second-ranked women's lacrosse teams.
© Limestone

Limestone’s Sylvia Queener recently finished production on “The Last Flapper,” a one-woman play set in a sanatorium during the last day of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life.

Throughout this process Queener was also playing attack for the the second-ranked women’s lacrosse team in Division II, a team with plans this weekend to win its first-ever NCAA tournament on the campus of Stevenson in Owings Mills, Md.

The spring schedule was ambitious, to say the least.

“I was literally going insane,” Queener said. “So I was happy to be portraying an insane character. It was second nature at that point.”

But she pulled off the play to a rousing success. Her Limestone teammates came out in droves and supported a girl that supports them on the field. Queener has 48 assists, second-most on the Saints.

“I brought some roses and I threw them on the stage at her,” said senior defender Skylar Marcoux. “She loved them.”

Even Limestone’s athletic director showed up. One theatre professor remarked that it was the first time he had ever seen the AD on that side of campus. That’s what happens when you bring an athlete into the theatre department.

And while it’s unusual to see a college athlete ditch the stick for the stage, the lacrosse people love it. It’s the theatre kids that don’t quite understand Queener’s other hobby. When she shows up with her hair up in a banana, or has to spend a weekend on road tripping through Conference Carolinas, she draws confusion from the thespians. They don’t get it.

Part of “The Last Flapper” deals with Zelda Fitzgerald’s struggles over giving up her identity, ditching her southern accent and losing herself in the upper crust society world that came along with being a prolific writer and the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Basically, how tough it is to forget where you come from. It's fitting.

Sylvia Queener marches to the beat of her own drum, but she’s still a Queener.

Sylvia is the product of two lacrosse coaches and the younger sister of Sarah (the All-American player at Yale and current coach at Pomona-Pitzer), Brice (of Georgetown and Hamilton Nationals fame) and Brett (the former dynamic UAlbany goalie and current Hamilton National and Philadelphia Wing.) The Queeners are lacrosse royalty.

That family reputation often precedes her and makes Sylvia very popular with the men's lacrosse team.

“‘Oh my gosh, are you Brett Queener’s sister?’” Queener said, mocking the typical greeting she gets from lax bros. “I hated it, but I loved it because I love him. I wanted to be different, I wanted to have a different identity. Now I appreciate it.”

She started carving out that unique identity at a young age. Auditions were being held in town for a production of “Annie.” Her mother advised tempered expectations; a lot of girls would be trying out. Sylvia aimed high.

“I said, ‘I’m gonna get Annie,’” Queener said.

And she did. From that moment it was clear her future would entail more than lacrosse.

“I was on and off,” Queener said. “I wanted to play lacrosse, I didn’t. I wanted to be different, I wanted to be just like them. I hated them, I loved them... My poor parents.”

This weekend, one of college lacrosse’s longest-running acts will come to an end this at the NCAA Division II final four, where Limestone will meet Rollins in a South Region final/NCAA semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Queener’s long and winding road took her through four schools over six years. After stops at Hofstra, Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College, Queener wasn’t sure if she was burnt out from lacrosse, but she figured the best place for her would allow her pursue both passions.

She’d known Limestone coach Scott Tucker since she was a 12-year old at the All-American Lacrosse camp in Hamilton, N.Y. She reached out.

“I figured I’d shoot coach Tucker an email to see if he had any suggestions,” Queener said. “A little hint that I wanted to play again and see if he’d take the bait.”

A bit of a rouse perhaps, but a trap Tucker is surely glad he got snagged in. Queener ranks second on Limestone with 91 points, despite missing a couple of games with an injury a few weeks back. All healed for Saturday’s quarterfinal victory over Queens, she led all players with five goals and three assists.

She’s also found a home at Limestone and works at the Gaffney, S.C., Visitor’s Center, where the visitors are more about quality than quantity.

And though Limestone offered the perfect balance, the Queeners originally advised Sylvia to pursue a more practical business degree. She may have been down with that at first, but when the first production came around, “Much Ado About Nothing” — her favorite Shakespeare play — Queener headed for the stage. It was fate.

She tried out and got the lead. That’s how Queener rolls. She figured it would be only one play per year, in the fall. Spring would be for lacrosse. File it under best laid plans. She’s played major parts in nine productions during her three years on campus.

But finally, since production finished on “The Last Flapper,” Queener’s been able to focus solely on lacrosse. This weekend she’ll have no distractions as she takes the field for one final performance.

“Just lacrosse,” Queener said. “But I’m always acting, let’s be real.”

Mark Macyk has covered Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.


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