Before Rebecca Lane and Stephanie Kelly were Hawks, they were “mozzies.”
The two Australian lacrosse players now at St. Joe’s got the name — an abbreviation for “mosquitos” — when they were in grade school from their youth coach Glen Mollison.
“They reminded me of mosquitos,” he said.
Lane just finished her career at St. Joe’s as the program record holder with 84 assists, the second all-time leader with 209 total points and fifth in goals, with 125. Kelly, coming off her sophomore campaign, has 54 assists, good for eighth in program history. She put up 37 assists this year, the second-highest season total in program history.
But the two have been sharing a field since Lane was 10 years old, playing for the Footscray Lacrosse Club in Melbourne, Australia, coached by Mollison. They were a part of an under-11 program that went undefeated, leading to Mollison passing on the traditional trophies handed out to four players, instead getting T-shirts for the entire team.
The families of Lane and Kelly lived less than 10 minutes from one another. Their siblings played together, and now they share an Australian connection thousands of miles away.
They have inside jokes from their childhood, they watched the same TV shows, and they never have to explain Australian slang to one another.
“It’s nice to get away from the American life for jut an hour and get some perspective,” Kelly said. “It’s nice to be thankful for this opportunity with someone who gets it. Playing lacrosse in college might be a normal thing here, but at home, it’s an incredible opportunity.”
The duo has traveled the world representing Australia’s national program. Lane participated in the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup. They both played in the 2015 under-19 FIL championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.
There are many differences between their home country’s teams and the American system in which most of their teammates developed, primarily the approach on offense, the age range of a team, and the amount of time and resources available for a squad.
“Coming from Australia, it’s just very selfless,” Lane said. “We’re always looking to pass. If someone else has a better angle at a shot, 100 percent we’re just going to pass it.
“We move the ball quicker in Australia,” she added. “We don’t have that much time to practice or lift or put the time in like we do at college. We’re not as fast and as strong so we rely on ball movement.”
All of it has contributed to them being two of the best passers in St. Joe’s lacrosse history.
“You’re playing with people so much older than you,” Kelly said. “Girls here have only played with their same age. You get a different experience.”
Before Kelly finished high school in Melbourne, she said she noticed Lane making an early impact at St. Joe’s and, like many others playing lacrosse in Australia’s national program, realized competing at the American college level was possible.
Kelly signed with St. Joe’s in part because of her friendship with Lane, and the ability to have a connection home even when so far away.
“I remember reading about her at home, I was like ‘Oh my God, she’s killing it over there and I want to do that, I want to be a part of something like that,’" Kelly said. “I think Bec was really a role model for people back home.”
And as Lane’s career comes to a close, Kelly can recite each of her historic totals off the top of her head.
“Bec’s stats speak for themselves: 209 points, 84 assists, 125 goals, I know it all," she said, looking at Lane.
Now, Lane hopes to see Kelly surpass them.