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Kyleigh Eaton Named U.S. Army Impact Player Of The Month

June 28, 2019
Kyleigh Eaton, a sophomore goalie for the Atholton High School (Md.) girls' varsity lacrosse team this spring, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.

Eaton, who stopped 53.3 percent of the shots she faced and posted 140 saves in 2019, was named first-team All-Howard County by The Baltimore Sun in June and grew into a leader as her sophomore season wore on.

"She really has a wonderful personality. She's incredibly positive. She cares about her teammates. She wants to be there," Atholton girls' lacrosse coach Laura Foerster Puglisi said. "She's a very dedicated player who has a serious approach to practice every day, but she also knows how to have a lot of fun; certainly adds with her personality to the team because she is a blast to have on the team. She's very coachable. I think she's very well deserving of an award such as that."

Atholton earned the No. 4 seed in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A playoffs, defeating Reservoir and Long Reach before falling to Howard County rival Mt. Hebron in the 3A North semifinals. In addition to Mt. Hebron, Atholton takes on Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg as part of its Howard County schedule throughout the season, so each spring brings a challenging slate.

Regardless of which state power the Raiders took on this year, Eaton was a force of positivity from the net.

"Let's say we had a really hard game, like one of those really tough ones," Puglisi said. "She always says something like, 'It might be a loss out on the field, but it's a win in our heart.' She always says something to that effect, and it just kind of centers and grounds the rest of the girls because even though we might have lost one of those difficult games against a ranked team, she'll always bring it back to center and refocus everyone because no one feels like they lost at the end of the game because everyone played so hard."

Eaton said she started slow at the beginning of the season, which she attributed to adjusting to the style of play at the varsity level compared to club lacrosse. But as the season wore on, her play ticked up and she found her voice in encouraging teammates.

"Being a goalie, every time you get shot on, it's more of a mental thing," Eaton said. "You start getting down on yourself. But then you have to realize, 'The next one. I'll have the next one. I may not have that last one, but the next one that's coming, that's mine.' So putting that out to the girls -- we may have lost to this one team, but the next one, maybe we'll play a lot better or we'll fix something and we can fight back and show them that we didn't just lose. We can come back from a loss."

In addition to lacrosse, Eaton is also interested in photography, a hobby she picked up thanks to her father, Woody, who often takes photos of Kyleigh's sporting events. Kyleigh said she enjoys taking photos of colorful, eye-catching things. Is photography what she wants to get into in college?

"It's one of my interests," Kyleigh said, "but I want to go on to filmmaking, so that does tie into it."

To nominate a student-athlete for the U.S. Army Impact Player award, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Impact.

Watch video of the award presentation:



Photo Credit: Matt Stovall/PressBox