Posted Jun. 6, 2013

Wellesley’s Kiely Noonan cradles the ball during a game against Whitman-Hanson.

Sometimes, a little heartbreak can end up being a good thing.

Of course, if you had told that to Wellesley High freshman Kiely Noonan at the time she was cut from the Raiders’ girls varsity lacrosse team, she certainly felt otherwise.

“I was heartbroken. I cried so much. It was devastating,” Noonan said of her emotions when she learned that she had missed the cut for the varsity team this spring. “Ever since I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was be on varsity lacrosse as a freshman. My brother always said to me like ‘Oh, you’re so good, you’ll be on varsity as a freshman,’ so getting cut was


Noonan, who started playing lacrosse in the third grade, began the year at the junior varsity level, unsure of what was in store for her immediate future. As it turned out, she only spent one week on the JV team before being called up to the varsity for good.

At first, Noonan’s varsity career didn’t feature very much playing time. She practiced with the team and spent time on the bench watching games, all while continuing to work hard at home. All she wanted to do was prove to her coach, Sarah Dacey, that she belonged with the varsity.

Slowly but surely, Noonan’s playing time increased, and she was able capitalize on the opportunity she had been given. By the time the regular season ended, Noonan had scored 24 goals and helped push the Raiders to an 11-7 record and into the second round of the state tournament.

“She just kind of came on very strong at the end of the year for us as a freshman,” said Dacey.

The pain of not making the team from the start resonated with Noonan and instead of losing hope, she rededicated herself to getting better.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Noonan. “It’s a lesson of hard work, it shows hard work really does pay off. It’s a good life lesson I feel like, just to look at something and say, ‘I started from JV and then all of the sudden I [moved up to] varsity lacrosse.’”

“She definitely has more confidence,” said Dacey. “I knew Kiely coming into tryouts, and you know sometimes kids get nervous when they’re trying out for a sport that obviously is her favorite sport that she does really well in. I just thought she needed a little time on JV to get some playing experience with the thought all along that I knew we would eventually [call her up] to varsity.

“She was doing really well at the JV level, and I thought it would be a good time to add her to the team. She’s come a long way. She has a great future ahead of her.”

This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.