Madison Cooney is never satisfied.
The Old Rochester junior is constantly working to improve herself, knowing that she has yet to reach her full potential on the lacrosse field.
That’s pretty scary for the opposition.
“She’s really tough to stop,” said Bishop Stang girls lacrosse coach Lauren Bailey. “She’s insanely fast. She has very good stick work. She makes smart decisions. She’s the complete package.”
“She’s the most talented player in the area by far,” said Dartmouth coach Chris Tresca, who coached Cooney at Old Rochester her freshman year. “She’s just the most skillful player.”
Cooney did it all and did it well for the South Coast Conference champion Bulldogs this season, earning the 2017 Standard-Times Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year award. She scored a team-high 86 goals, dished out 31 assists, secured 121 draw controls, collected 50 ground balls and caused 32 turnovers from the midfield position.
“She sets the tone,” said Old Rochester coach Scott Tavares, whose team went 18-3, including 10-0 in the SCC. “She scores a lot of goals for us. She draws a lot of attention to herself so that frees up space for other players. She makes the players around her better.”
While scoring goals draws the most attention, Cooney prides herself on doing the little things that don’t show up in the scorebook.
“Coming up with the ground ball is sometimes more beneficial to your team than getting the goal,” the 17-year-old Rochester resident said. “It’s all the little things compiled together that make you a better athlete. Just because you’re the high scorer on your team or the highest scorer in the area, it doesn’t mean you’re the best player. You have to be able to get ground balls, possessions with the draws and play defense — it’s everything.”
Since she first picked up a lacrosse stick in the fourth grade — following in the footsteps of older brother, Hunter — Cooney has dedicated herself to the game, attending practices at Harvard University, playing games around the Boston area and beyond and traveling as far as Florida for tournaments with Laxachusetts, her club team.
“It was a big commitment with the driving and stuff,” said Cooney, noting that New England Select Lacrosse League coach Jenni (Sadler) Kesselman got her passionate about the sport. “She was so fun and I loved it. She was the main person that said ‘Lacrosse could be your thing.’”
With the ultimate goal being a Div. I college player, Cooney has had some doubts.
“Sometimes I get discouraged, but then I say I need to work harder,” she said. “It’s the moments where I feel like my game was not getting better that I’d pick myself up. Just the fact that I have the potential to do it motivates me. I don’t want to let anyone down. That’s the main thing.”
Cooney’s hard work, distant travels and countless hours playing toss with Hunter at Tabor Academy have paid off with a verbal commitment to Boston College. The Eagles are coming off a loss to Maryland in the NCAA Women's Division I Championship Game in May. Cooney plans to make it official with a signing this fall.
It has been a dream come true for Cooney, who plans to study business and major in marketing.
“Freshman year when I was making my lists of colleges, BC, ironically was my No. 1 college and they were the one that came at me the hardest and at the earliest time, which was crazy,” she said. “You can’t pass up the opportunity to go to your No. 1 college and they want you the most. It was really special to get an offer from the college that I wanted.”
But Cooney knows the work has only begun.
“It’s a really big relief, but at the same time, it’s a lot of pressure because I have to play up to my capability,” she said. “I need to keep up my potential and work to my potential. I have to play my best and keep improving constantly.”
Follow Laurie Los on Twitter @laurielosSCT.