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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Three-time ODAC Player of the Week Garcia leads nation with 55 goals

“Her laugh comes first to my mind,” said Meagan Jolliffe, student success counselor, referring to lacrosse player E’leyna Garcia. Teammates, faculty, friends — they all comment on Garcia’s striking personality. On and off the field, she is a star competitor.

Junior attacker Garcia leads in the nation with 55 goals this season, according to the March 24 NCAA Division III statistical rankings. She also has nine assists, placing her second in the country and fifth in school history with 64 points.

Adding to her numerous records, Garcia ranks third in Division III women’s lacrosse with 8.0 points per game and 6.88 goals per game. For the third time this year, she has earned the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Week, a school record.

“E’leyna’s records affect the team by making us more motivated to win and to do our personal best,” said sophomore defender Jorden Yeargan. “It also shows the conference that we are a threat.”

Garcia shines in other areas other than lacrosse making her a special talent.

“Academically, she is very thorough, committed and introspective,” Jolliffe said. “Athletically, E’leyna is fierce, driven; a true force. Socially, she is respected, trustworthy and down to earth.

“Woven through all of these characteristics is her sense of humor and light-hearted personality.”

Garcia told The Guilfordian a story of how she lightened up the mood before a rigorous practice.

“We have a few people on the team that used to do gymnastics when we were younger,” Garcia said. “So one morning practice, before we started, I got everyone on the team to show us their best cartwheel, and we all applauded and cheered after each one … turns out our goalie is the next Gabby Douglas.”

Besides her goofy and fun attitude, Garcia is a beast on the field. When she’s in the zone, there is no stopping her.

“I was messing with her about tackling this girl to the ground during the game,” said senior Lamar Cassell. “She was like, ‘Well, she was in my way, I didn’t know what else to do.’”

It all started in the sixth grade while playing goalie during her first four years. After lettering at Pine Crest Preparatory School in Plantation, Fla., she decided that Guilford was the right fit to continue her studies and athletic career.

“I wanted a change of scenery, to get all four of the seasons, just something different,” Garcia said.

Preparing for this season, the team set the bar high. Their eyes are on the ultimate prize.

“I really want us to get farther in the playoffs this year,” Garcia said. “And hopefully win the championship and just continue to get stronger as a team and working hard together in every game.”

From an individual standpoint, Garcia has already tied her 57 goals from last year. She’s totaled 150 goals and 50 assists halfway through her junior year.

“You can’t teach that,” Cassell said. “There are just certain things in life that are God-given, and her ability on that field is one of them.”

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