Before Rebecca Lane and Stephanie Kelly were Hawks, they were “mozzies.”
The two Australian lacrosse players, now at St. Joseph’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 school’s record holder with 84 assists. She ranks second all-time with 209 total points and fifth with 125 goals. Kelly, coming off her sophomore campaign, has 54 career assists, good for eighth in team history. She put up 37 assists this year, the second-highest season total in school history.
The two women have been sharing a field since Lane was 10 and playing for the Footscray Lacrosse Club in Melbourne, Australia. Coached by Mollison, they were a part of an under-11 program that went undefeated.
Back then, the women’s families lived less than 10 minutes apart, and their siblings played together. Now they share an Australian connection thousands of miles away.
The women still share inside jokes from their childhood. They watched the same TV shows back then, and they never have to explain Australian slang to one another.
“It’s nice to get away from the American life for just an hour and get some perspective,” Kelly said of sharing time with Lane. “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 team. Lane participated in the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup, and 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, the women said. That includes the approach on offense, the age range of players on a team, and the amount of coaching time and resources available to players .
“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 that has contributed to them being two of the best passers in St. Joe’s history.
“You’re playing with people so much older than you,” Kelly said of playing back home. “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 impact at St. Joe’s. Like many others playing lacrosse in Australia’s national program, Kelly realized that competing at the American college level was possible.
Kelly signed with St. Joe’s in part because of her friendship with Lane and the chance to have a connection with 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.”
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.
Lane hopes to see Kelly surpass them.