By Joe Gladziszewski
Many athletes are attracted to the most glamorous positions in a team sport. Backyard and playground aspirations of being the quarterback, point guard, or starting pitcher are common, and each of those roles is primarily defined by taking responsibility for possessing the ball in the most critical parts of the game.
But what about the opposite side? The players who assume responsibility for defending those who possess the ball? Those roles don’t result in gaudy statistical achievements or records. They are the less-heralded and more anonymous players. But on any successful team, those roles are vitally important.
Fortunately, for Adele Loveless, a senior defender on the Ithaca High School girls lacrosse team, she was introduced to her position early in her competitive lacrosse career and took to the role. It has benefited her personally, but also the successful Little Red program that finished with a 9-6 record in the 2016 regular season and qualified for a Section IV championship game against Corning.
“Starting right away in seventh grade I was a defender and I felt that it was crucial to the team’s success,” Loveless says. “Defense wins games. Without a good defense, you’re not going to be a good team.”
Loveless is wrapping up her fourth year of varsity lacrosse, her third year as a starter and second year as a captain. She says that lacrosse season lifts her spirits and it’s noticed not only by her, but also by family members who say that she is in her best mood when she’s regularly on the field with her teammates.
“I love that I have a whole group of girls as a second family, also the athleticism of the sport and being part of a team,” she cites as reasons that she is drawn to the game.
Loveless’ impact within the game is noteworthy and important to the Little Red, but her demeanor and leadership throughout her career, and especially this season, has been important for coach Lyn Reitenbach’s team.
“Without question she is the emotional leader of our team,” Reitenbach says of Loveless. “She is always giving it 100 percent and she gets the team going when they’re getting fatigued. She is a real student of the game and she tries to understand it so she can go and teach others. She’s like an assistant coach. She’ll break things down and be very vocal in a positive way.”
After graduating from Ithaca High in the coming weeks, Loveless will enroll this fall at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she plans to study international relations with a minor in early childhood education. Though McGill doesn’t have a varsity program, Adele has already inquired about playing for the highly competitive women’s lacrosse club team that competes in the fall semester.
By Joe Gladziszewski