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May 27, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Sports

WATCH: Childhood friends become IC women’s lacrosse teammates

When junior defenseman Reid Simoncini committed to the Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team in 2015, she had no idea she would end up playing with one of her lifelong best friends.

While Simoncini was recruited for the Blue and Gold, junior defenseman Jayne Carver successfully walked on to the team. Carver and Simoncini first began playing lacrosse together in the third grade for a recreational team in their hometown of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Their friendship continued into middle school, and then into Ridgewood High School, where Carver and Simoncini played for their school team.

Simoncini said that having Carver with her for the beginning of her college career was reassuring.

“We did orientation together, so it was nice to have someone to stick with,” Simoncini said.

Carver said that a huge reason why they are such good friends is because they live close to each other.

“We literally live a mile apart,” Carver said. “I just run to her house sometimes cause she’s so close.”

Simoncini’s impressive play in high school led to her being scouted by the college. Carver, who was not initially recruited, was interested in attending because her father, Mark Carver ’85, who played basketball for the South Hill squad and was captain his senior year.

“I went to a clinic with the old coach [Shannon McHale], so she knew me and already had told me I would be able to walk on,” Carver said. “In the fall, when she quit, we didn’t have a coach for a while, so I just went to the captains’ practices and then when we got a coach, did the tryout and was officially on the team.”

Carver said having her longtime friend with her through the process of being a walk-on was a huge advantage.

“All the recruits kind of knew each other already,” Carver said. “It was definitely intimidating coming and not knowing anyone except Reid, but Reid then introduced me to her roommate … she was my in.”

Simoncini said it was nice to have someone with her that she is so close with.

“She’s a really good friend and we share the same sense of humor, and we’ve been friends for so long that I’m just so comfortable around her,” Simoncini said. “I’m glad I’ve had a person I’m so close with with me for so many important things in my life.”

Just two weeks before the start of Carver and Simoncini’s collegiate career, then-coaches Shannon McHale and Lauren Schoenberger were replaced by head coach Karrie Moore from Cornell University and assistant coach Erin Growney from SUNY Brockport. Growney, who mainly worked with the defense at Brockport, is in a similar role on Moore’s staff and worked with both Carver and Simoncini.

“They’re quite the dynamic duo, those two,” Growney said. “They’re a lot of fun to work with. They have a great energy they bring to the team. … What I love most about them is the attitude they bring every day and their work ethic.”

Although only Simoncini consistently starts for the Bombers, Carter is also important to the team’s early success this season because she contributes to the team’s defensive depth.

“I think a huge part of why our defense is so strong this year is because we have a very deep defense,” Carver said. “Last year, we had four defenders, and now we have like eight. You get more subs and people are fresh on their feet, so someone can go in if you get hurt or you’re tired.”

Simoncini has consistently started for the Bombers since the beginning of her sophomore year, when she collected 31 ground balls and caused 21 turnovers. In her junior campaign, she has caused 15 ground balls and started all but one game.

Carver appeared in five games for the Blue and Gold during her sophomore year and caused three turnovers and collected nine ground balls.

Carver said playing with Simoncini for so long is an advantage.

“We play the same position, so when we do play together, I know exactly what she’s going to do, and so we flow very well,” Carver said.

After countless memories on and off the field, including living together multiple times in college, Carver and Simoncini said they are grateful for the experiences they’ve been able to share.

“Me and Jayne have been together for so long so we have so much to talk about and work through together. … It’s good to have a person who understands exactly what you are talking about and be able to talk to,” Simoncini said.