Ava Coyle wasn’t really a lacrosse player before she got to high school.
In three short years, she became a Division I lacrosse player.
Coyle is a senior at Penn Charter High School, and the Mayfair resident started playing lacrosse when she was in seventh grade, but admits it wasn’t something she took seriously until she arrived at her high school.
She started playing defense under Quakers coach Colleen Magarity, and she quickly got better. So good, in fact, that last year, on the first day that coaches were allowed to contact athletes, the University of Louisville coaches contacted Coyle and said she was their top priority.
It didn’t take long for Coyle to make the Cardinals her team.
“I love everything about the school,” Coyle said. “I really love the coaches, they welcomed me and I want to play for them. It’s a great school, and I really like the school community.
“Louisville is a place that doesn’t have professional sports teams, so everybody really gets behind the college team. Everyone out there is fans of the Louisville basketball team and the Louisville football team. People love it, and everyone supports them. It has a great atmosphere for a college.”
Coyle, who officially signed last week during national signing day, got exactly what she wanted, but the Cardinals didn’t make out too badly in getting her to join the school.
Coyle is a strong student in the classroom and she’s a three-sport athlete, also playing field hockey and basketball.
But like all athletes, she hasn’t had a chance to do as much as she’d like.
Last year, the spring season was wiped out so Coyle didn’t get a chance to play lacrosse. This year, field hockey got a late start, but the Quakers did get some games in.
The plan is to play basketball in the winter, but with restrictions on indoor activities, especially in Philadelphia, it’s unknown if or when the winter season will begin in the Inter-Ac.
And Coyle really hopes she has a final season to play lacrosse at Penn Charter before heading off to Louisville.
Last summer, most gyms were closed and schools did their best to keep athletes away from working out with each other to social distance.
“We did some workouts, but it wasn’t the same,” Coyle said. “It was hard because you couldn’t really do anything. We did more workouts on our own.”
Coyle might not have had workouts with her teammates, but she was still able to get great workouts in. In fact, she may have worked harder during the offseason than she does during training days.
“I was a lifeguard in North Wildwood, and I loved it,” Coyle said. “It was great. They do daily workouts and they’re very hard. It was good because it kept me in shape. It was a really good job for me.
“We were at different streets every day. I really enjoyed it. It was great because it was a job and you stayed in shape. It was perfect.”
Coyle got a lot out of lifeguarding.
She gets even more out of being at Penn Charter.
One of the main reasons she attends the school is because her father, Tom, worked at the school as an assistant football coach before taking over as the head coach at his alma mater, Father Judge. In 2013, he took over the Penn Charter program and has since been one of the top coaches in the Inter-Ac.
According to his daughter, he’s just one of many great coaches at the school.
“Everything about Penn Charter has been so good for me, it’s such a great situation,” Coyle said. “We have the best coaches. (Magarity) is a great coach, she’s helped me so much. I’ve learned so much playing here.
“To be honest, I don’t think anyone would have thought I’d be playing college sports when I got to Penn Charter. I liked sports, but I wasn’t great. I think I learned a lot here. My parents would probably say the same thing.”
She didn’t stop with her coach, though.
She’s proud that she’s going to be a Cardinal, but it’s safe to say she’ll always be a Quaker.
“The teachers, coaches really care at Penn Charter, they help you so much,” said Coyle, who works in the admissions office at the school. “Everyone at the school. The trainers. I’m very fortunate to have had so many people help me at the school. It’s such a good place.”
She hopes to get just as much out of her college.
She’ll likely major in some type of law, and heads into the school in an honors program.
“It’s a great school, academically,” Coyle said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s great for lacrosse and it’s a great school.”