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When you’re an underclassman trying to break into the lineup of a nationally ranked collegiate women’s lacrosse team, you enjoy every moment you get on the field.

For Susquehannock High School graduate Carley VanLuit, a member of the powerhouse York College squad, the March 19 game against Wesley provided the first of what she hopes are many more exciting times to come.

VanLuit, a sophomore and the younger sister of former Spartans standout Jaclyn, scored her first collegiate goal during an 18-0 victory against Wesley College.

“The first shot I took, I hit the post,” VanLuit said. “And the next one I got a good feed from Skye (Slater) cutting across the eight. I didn’t think I had much of an angle, but it went in so it was good. I was so pumped, it was awesome.”

One obstacle facing VanLuit coming into this season was the fact that she took her freshman year off from the game before deciding to rededicate herself to the sport.

However, that hasn’t stopped VanLuit from making an impact on the team already, according to head coach Jen Muston.

She had been named first-team All-York County during her junior and senior years with the Warriors before heading to York. She was also a team captain during her senior season at Susquehannock. So VanLuit already knew what it would take to succeed.

“She’s really coming into her own on the practice field,” Muston said, noting that VanLuit is instrumental in helping the Spartans’ defense prepare for the slew of top-20 teams on their schedule.

The coach also credits VanLuit’s intense preparation in the fall and winter, noting that VanLuit entered the spring in amazing shape, improving her strength and stick work.

“She really impressed us coming out of the fall into the spring,” Muston said. “It just showed us that over winter, she really took it seriously and said ‘You know what, I am a little behind because I didn’t play last year, but I am going to work out and get my stick in my hand and work out over the winter.’ To see that really motivated us to really get her moving along and keep coaching her and help her to get better. I hope she can keep progressing.”

The level of conditioning needed to compete in college was one of the first things VanLuit noticed about the transition from the high school game.

“The college game is a lot more fast paced and more of a team-oriented thing,” VanLuit said. “In high school there could always be a couple of girls who stood out and would carry a team.”

VanLuit is the only York County woman on the Spartans' roster. York is currently ranked No. 8 in Division III, but it remains to be seen how Wednesday’s tough 8-7 loss on the road at No. 6 Gettysburg will affect their standing.

The Spartans (6-3 overall, 1-1 Capital Athletic Conference) travel to Marymount (7-2, 1-0) for a CAC contest on Saturday.

Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com.

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