For Coyle, lacrosse is in the Cards

Ava Coyle and her parents show their support for Louisville after she announced she’d be playing lacrosse there. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

They say good things come to those who wait.

For the University of Louisville, they got a good thing because they acted fast.

What they got was the services of Ava Coyle to join their lacrosse team.

“On the day they were allowed to call me, they called at 12:05 and said that I was their top priority, they really wanted me to come and play defense for them,” said Coyle, a Penn Charter High School junior. “That’s not the only reason I went there, but I liked that they called me. It showed they really wanted me.”

And Coyle, a Mayfair resident, really wants them because it’s everything she’s looking for in a school.

“I took an official visit and I loved it,” said Coyle, whose dad is Tom, the football coach at Penn Charter and formerly at Father Judge. “Louisville doesn’t have a pro sports team, so everyone there wears University of Louisville gear and they all love the programs. The school is great. It’s great academically and it’s a great lacrosse program.

“They’re rebuilding now, but they have a great coach, Scott Teeter, who is the coach of the Canadian National team. So I know I’m going to learn a lot and keep getting better. It’s a great fit.”

It’s funny Coyle is looking to learn more about the sport because prior to playing lacrosse, she had to be talked into it.

Coyle grew up playing basketball and soccer. At Penn Charter, she is a three-sport star playing field hockey and basketball as well. But when she was in seventh grade, her parents asked her if she’d like to give the spring sport a try.

“My mom always laughs because I really didn’t want to try it, but (my parents) thought I’d like it,” Coyle recalled. “My dad said it would be good. They’re both very supportive, so I did try it and I wasn’t really good at first, but I got better.

“I started playing defense because our coach (Colleen Magarity) knew I was a basketball player and the sports are very similar. You have to have good footwork, and defense is all about effort. I started playing there and I got pretty good at it.

“I learned so much at Penn Charter, and they’ve been so good about helping me get better. I really believe if you want to be a Division I athlete, Penn Charter is the best school because you get so much support. You have great teachers and great coaches who really prepare you for college.”

Coyle’s main sport is lacrosse and it really has been since she became a varsity starter as a freshman. But she’s played three sports for the bulk of her time at Penn Charter, and she is doing it this year even though she’s already committed to Louisville.

During the fall, she was a defender on the Quakers field hockey team and she’s currently preparing for her winter sport, where she plays wherever the basketball team needs her.

She also plays club lacrosse for Big 4 HHH year round. But it’s important to her to play multiple sports, and she got that from her parents.

“I grew up around sports, my dad was always the coach and me and my brother would always be at practice, running around and just having fun,” Coyle said. “My dad always told us how important athletics was. He didn’t care if we were good or what we played, but he wanted us to play. And my mom’s a great athlete. She ran marathons. My brother, he’s a freshman and he plays on the Penn Charter soccer team. He’s a really good athlete, too. Athletics is very important to us all, and they’ve helped me a lot.”

Athletics are key, but academics might be even more important.

Coyle is a great student at Penn Charter and she’ll head into Louisville where she’ll enter the college in the honor’s program, and while she has some ideas of what she wants to study, she’s not yet certain.

“I’m thinking about doing something where I’d major in prelaw and minor in something business related, but I have time to decide,” Coyle said. “I’m not sure which business I’ll focus on, could be finance or business, I’m not sure. But I’ve always been interested in law.

“I like English and writing and reading, I’ve always leaned toward that. I really like law and I think I’d enjoy it. Plus I like to argue, I’m a very argumentative person, so that fits right in with that.”

When she’s not focusing on sports or school, she’s busy doing things she really enjoys. She spends summers working down the shore and also does things every teenager likes to do. But sports and academics take up a great deal of her time.

“Penn Charter is tough, I do have to study a lot,” Coyle said. “And playing three sports means you’re always doing something. But I have a great group of friends I hang out with and I’m a girl, so I love going to the mall.”

She’ll have to hit the mall up before she heads to college, which is something else she’s looking forward to.

Coyle knows being a Division I athlete in the ACC will be a challenge, but it’s not one she’s shying away from, it’s one she’s ready to tackle.

“Louisville plays a great schedule, you play Duke and North Carolina and Virginia,” Coyle said. “It’s a great school. I’m really happy I’m going there.

“Penn Charter, the coaches and the teachers really prepared me for this. I’m so happy I went there, and I think Louisville will be a great school for me.”