BY MICHAEL KELLY
Several months ago, Paige Byrne was hanging around the office of her women’s soccer coach at Roger Williams University when she mentioned she’d played lacrosse, too, in high school. Not long after the words were out of her mouth, Byrne found herself in conversation with the school’s women’s lacrosse coach Lisa Vogeley, whose office was the next door down.
Byrne, 20, thought Vogeley was joking when she asked the 2014 Shenendehowa graduate to consider playing for her version of the Hawks.
“No, seriously,” the coach confirmed. “You should think about it.”
Byrne did that, and came up with her answer: “Why not?”
The decision to take on a second sport at Roger Williams — located in Bristol, Rhode Island — for her sophomore year was not something the Halfmoon native took lightly. Byrne had opted only to play soccer during her freshman year because she wanted to make sure she devoted enough time to her biology major and minor in public health. After a freshman year, though, where she’d found herself with a lot of free time in the spring, she decided she could try it out.
After all, she said, “there’s only so much studying you can do.”
Byrne’s decision to become a multi-sport athlete at the college level ended with her completing one of the more noteworthy years for a local athlete at the next level. In the fall, Byrne played in the Division III national tournament for women’s soccer; then, in the spring, she helped guide the Hawks to the nation’s postseason in women’s lacrosse.
“I don’t think I ever really was tired from it all,” Byrne said.
During the fall, Byrne made four starts and played in 19 games for the Hawks’ women’s soccer team, recording a pair of assists. She helped Roger Williams to its second straight Commonwealth Coast Conference championship and the Hawks made it to the second round of the national tournament before bowing out.
In the spring, Byrne started 18 of the women’s lacrosse team’s 19 games. She scored six goals and had seven assists in helping Roger Williams to its first-ever win in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game.
“That was really cool because my lacrosse team had never made the [NCAA] tournament before,” said Byrne, whose fall and spring squads both had their seasons ended against teams from William Smith.
Byrne said soccer is her first love, but it was special for the athlete to get another chance at playing lacrosse.
“I really didn’t think I was ever going to play lacrosse again,” she said.
Going forward, Byrne said she intends to keep playing both sports at the college level. The extra athletics, she said, is the perfect stress reliever to balance out her academic workload.
Plus, she likes to keep busy … which is why she had no problem with her recent schedule. One day after her women’s lacrosse team had its season ended, Byrne was home to pack her bags for a 10-day soccer trip to Costa Rica with her Roger Williams teammates.
“It’s a good team bonding experience and it’s great getting some international play together,” she said.