Out of Dodge: Senior steps in, fills leadership role

Katie Dodge is nearing the end of her lacrosse career, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new challenges for her to overcome.

Lacrosse has always been a part of Dodge’s life. The West Newbury, Mass. native said she began playing when she was in the fifth grade. Now she is a senior attack and midfielder at Emerson. Dodge said she has carried the same attitude throughout her playing career.

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“Take every practice and game like it’s your last,” Dodge said.  “You never know what might happen.  Try your hardest every single time.”

That mentality has proved important for Dodge and her teammates this season amidst many difficulties. Record-wise, the team got off to a rough start, losing five consecutive games to start the year before putting one in the win column March 26.

But losing games hasn’t been the only problem for Dodge and her teammates. The team’s senior captain and 2010 leading goal-scorer Maeghan Ross suffered a concussion two weeks ago. Ross took a stick to the head in a game against MIT, forcing her out indefinitely. This has put more leadership duties on Dodge as she and fellow senior Laura Miley were appointed co-captains of the team.

“I defintely trust her; she’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” said Ross of Dodge. “To have someone like that who you don’t want to mess with is great.  She’s a huge, critical role of leadership. She has assumed that role no problem.”

But taking over captain duties isn’t the only thing Dodge has going on.

The marketing communication major is an intern at the Cambridge office of Waggener Edstrom, a worldwide public relations agency. But despite juggling multiple duties, Dodge said the challenges of being a student-athlete have been worth it.

“[I’m] proud of finishing all four years of lacrosse with a team I really care about after many obstacles have gotten in the way,” Dodge said in an email to the Beacon.

Those obstacles include five new freshmen and an entirely different coaching staff from last year, changes Dodge said has taken some time to get used to.

Head coach Paula Habel was hired last fall as head coach, the third person in the last four years to hold the position.

Habel said Dodge’s character has made it easy to become acclimated to Habel’s new position.

“I think having people like Dodge step up and lead the way for younger teammates is always helpful as a new coach to a program,” Habel said in an email to the Beacon.

The feeling is mutual.

“[Paula] is extremely positive, which is obviously a great thing,” Dodge said. “She brings a different coaching style.”

A good team attitude has become a theme for the Lions, according to junior defender Kayla Dowd, who said Dodge has been a big factor in this. Dowd said Dodge’s passion and distaste for a negative attitude has rubbed off on her teammates over the course of the spring.

“It’s all about heart, being able to overcome obstacles thrown at us.  Character overcomes these challenges,” said Dodge.

And whether or not that team perseverance translates to wins, Dodge said the experience will be about growing together as a team, something that has left a lasting impression on her.

“Lacrosse has given me structure and stability, which has been helpful with my organization and time management skills,” Dodge said. “Sports in general are just a great way to meet and make friends and remain active. Being involved in team sports my whole life has made me a more patient and understanding person. It truly has shaped the person I am today, and I’m proud of that.”

With the end of the season just a month away, Coach Habel said Dodge’s departure will be noticed after she graduates.

“I think the team will most miss her intensity and passion for the sport,” Habel said. “She wants her teammates to be successful.”