Lindsay Lare had a decision to make: Play lacrosse for one of the weaker teams in NCAA Division I or one of the top teams in Division II.
Lare decided she wants to win.
The Lower Cape May Regional High School senior plans to attend the University of New Haven, which finished last season ranked No. 8 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll. She will get partial athletic and academic scholarships.
Lare considered several low D-I and high D-II schools, and her decision came down to one of each: Division I Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., and New Haven, which is in West Haven, Conn.
"Oh, my gosh. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done," the 17-year-old from the Erma section of Lower Township said in a phone interview last week.
It came down to the fact that New Haven went 13-5 last season and each of the losses was by one or two goals.
The Chargers lost 9-8 to Bentley University in the Northeast-10 Conference tournament.
"I basically had to decide if I wanted to play low Division I and win a few games and lose a few games, or be competing in the best conference in Division II and be competitive," Lare said.
"I thought it was more important to have the chance at winning a national title than it was for a few wins here and there."
New Haven coach Jen Fallon first saw Lare play in a club tournament for the South Jersey Devils in Washington Township last summer. Fallon emailed Lare, and they began a dialogue.
"It piqued my interest," Lare said.
Lare eventually visited the campus multiple times. She said the team welcomed her and that Fallon reminds her of some of the coaches she had in high school, including Lower Cape May's Nikki Wright.
"She can be very demanding of me but at the same time be there for me," Lare said.
Lare also was impressed with the school's professors. She hopes to be pre-med and eventually become a physical therapist.
"I think it was important for Lindsay to go to a good school academically," her father, Kevin, said in a phone interview Friday.
Lare scored 81 goals last season as a junior and was named a first-team Press All-Star at the attack position.
Her 130 career goals are a Lower Cape May record for both boys and girls and she still has her senior season.
"She gives her all every game," Wright said. "She's hard-working. She has a lot of skill and an amazing shot. She can hit the corners when she wants to.
"She's definitely going to be deadly if they let her unleash her skill up there."
Lare said it's a relief to have her college decision out of the way well before her senior season starts in the spring.
She signed a national letter of intent during the early signing period in November.
"It makes me feel a lot better going into my senior year to know where I'm going next year," she said.
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