Published July 19. 2014 4:00AM
It's a story that should speak for itself. Elizabeth Morrison, Stonington High School, graduated last month as the school's all-time leader in goals (77) and assists (32) in field hockey, a two-time first team Class S all-state defender in lacrosse and won championships with both those programs in one year.
Morrison will play lacrosse next year at The College of New Jersey, which has won 11 Division III national championships. Also an Academic All-State selection, Morrison hopes to become a field doctor in the U.S. Army.
Morrison was named The Day's 2014 All-Area Girls' Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Only there's more to the story. Morrison, a captain on this season's Stonington team which defeated Granby for the Class S title on June 14, 13-10, had to grow into her accomplishments somewhat. Lacrosse coach Jeff Medeiros' term for Morrison prior to this season: a rebel.
"I was excited when (Medeiros) made me captain," Morrison said recently. "He said to make up for that (perception), I would have to be twice as good a captain."
"She definitely took her senior year serious," Medeiros said. "She was always kind of a rebel. You always want certain people to step up. I never pictured Libby as a captain. She was always screwing around. Then here's the best person on the team not practicing as hard as she could be."
Medeiros said he feels that because of the field hockey title in the fall, winning another one in lacrosse was something tangible for Morrison. Morrison said when she was named captain during indoor track season, she learned a lot about what the role entailed. Medeiros calls Morrison the best player he's coached during his tenure at Stonington.
Morrison finished this season with a dominant defensive performance that included 114 takeaways (recorded when a player dislodges the ball from an opponent) and 43 interceptions. She added 48 goals, third on the team, 14 assists and won 54.3 percent of her draw attempts.
She scored the game-winning goal with two minutes remaining in the state tournament quarterfinals, a 9-8 victory over Immaculate, the game-tying goal with 41 seconds to go in a 12-11 win over Old Lyme in the semifinals and had four goals in the title game. In the championship matchup, Morrison was part of a defense which held Granby scoreless for the final 18 minutes, 53 seconds.
"I'm proud to coach her," Medeiros said. "How many times did she come up big in big situations? Nothing comes off that field with her. It's an amazing thing to be able to have at that age, to have the consciousness of 'this is it.'"
Morrison, who is 6 feet tall, was joined at the top of the Stonington defense by fellow 6-footer Margot Calmar.
"I live to play defense. Interceptions are the best things in the world," Morrison said. "My teammates and I are always trying to see who gets the most. ... In the beginning of the game it's easy. I like to bait the player (into throwing it). If I don't get it, Margot's standing right behind me.
"An interception is a great way to build confidence. I would think, 'What can I do next?' to push the limits of what you could do."
Morrison helped lead Stonington to a 21-1 record, falling in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship game to reigning champ East Lyme. She said she and her teammates were "half-joking" when they started tossing around the idea of winning a second state championship in one school year. There were seven players who won both field hockey and lacrosse titles.
"I don't know if we believed it when we first started saying it," Morrison said of the dual championships. "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and we didn't have a weak link. ... We went to the final in a coach bus. We felt pretty special. Then we saw Darien beat Glastonbury (for the Class L title). We saw how good they were. We said, 'That's going to be us.'"
Medeiros said he believes Morrison will be successful at the next level, calling her a "student of the game," a "chess player" and a "field general," as well as "classic joker," who took a snapshot of the coach's goofy old yearbook photo and carries it on her cell phone.
It was her goal to play lacrosse in college.
"College of New Jersey is in the top 10 in Division III. I went down and visited," Morrison said. "I'm so excited to bring Stonington a piece of that pride."