This article appears in the January issue of Lacrosse Magazine, which mails to US Lacrosse members this week. Don't get the mag? Join USL and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.
Eligio Constant in the Cage for Santa Clara
by Brian Logue | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Santa Clara goalie Renee Eligio, LM's WDIA Preseason Player of the Year, says the pressure and expectations are higher this year.
© Cecil Copeland
Renee Eligio has seen her share of firsts in her time at Santa Clara University.
As a freshman, she helped the Broncos beat perennial US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) power Cal Poly for the first time ever. Last year, she helped the Broncos to their first league championship in the nation's toughest conference — the Western Women's Lacrosse League. Santa Clara was seeded first at last year's US Lacrosse WDIA national championship, and she has been a three-time first-team All-American.
But there's one big first still waiting — Santa Clara's first national championship.
"It's definitely one of my biggest goals," said the senior goaltender from South San Francisco, Calif. "We just want to finish what we have started."
Over the last three years, Eligio has made 690 saves while leading the Broncos to a 54-13 record. More than just the sheer number of saves, she's done it with style. Just 5-foot-1, she relies on great athleticism, and she stands out with her acrobatic saves.
"Renee is invaluable, and has kept Santa Clara in so many games that could've gone either way without her in between the pipes," said her goalie coach the last three years, Drew Whyte. "She plays as big as they come."
They'll need her more than ever in 2011.
Santa Clara has big shoes to fill on the field, most notably WDIA Player of the Year Krista Shaw, but it will also have a new leader with longtime coach Brendan O'Brien stepping aside. Jennifer Lee, an assistant coach the last two seasons and a Santa Clara alumna, is taking over as the head coach. Lee knows that Eligio can provide the foundation she'll need to keep the program moving forward.
"Every year, her skill level rises because she's always willing to push herself to do better," Lee said. "Renee works hard for her team and demonstrates the kind of accountability that every coach hopes for in a player."
"It's definitely going to be a different year for me," Eligio said. "There's a lot more pressure and expectations. We have a younger defense and I'm going to have to step up. I'm excited about that part."
Eligio's excitement also is based on trying to finish her goal with three other seniors — All-America attacker Gracie Binder, defender Laura Gonzalez and midfielder Kayla Ushman.
"This is our year," said Eligio.
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