On April 23, Keene State College junior, Jenna Bellano reached a career milestone with the women’s lacrosse team that she won’t soon forget.
Bellano tallied two goals against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the first of which was her one hundredth career goal.
Bellano, who is a midfielder for KSC, said 100 goals wasn’t something she expected to accomplish when she came into college.
“Coming into college…I didn’t know that I would be starting as a freshman and getting as many goals as I did,” Bellano said. However, Bellano is now wrapping up her junior season and has surpassed that 100 goal mark.
“When (Kaitlin) Nolan got 100, who is a senior now,” Bellano said. “I kind of like wanted to, but I never knew if I would get it junior year or senior year.”
Bellano spoke very highly of Nolan, who has 157 career goals as an Owl. “I definitely look up to her a lot, as a player and as a person,” Bellano said.
Bellano also mentioned how much she has grown as an athlete, specifically her intelligence.
“Since I’ve been here, I definitely am a smarter player,” Bellano said. “Instead of just driving to shoot, I’m driving to cause commotion and look for that pass, just seeing the other options.”
Nolan conquered with Bellano in regards to her increase in intelligence over the past few years, but said that’s not the only way she has grown.
“I think she’s grown so much in so many different ways, on the field and off the field, as a teammate and as a player,” Nolan said.
Nolan, who Bellano said has been a role model to her, said the inspiration works both ways.
“She influences me just as much as I influence her,” Nolan said. She added that the two are on the same page when they get out on the field.
Another player who Bellano said has had an influence on her game was Taylor Graf. Graf, a junior and attack for KSC, currently leads the team in assists with 54. Bellano referred to Graf’s playmaking abilities as a contributing factor for Bellano’s personal success.
“Taylor Graf probably has like half of my feeds. If I’m not driving, she’s always just feeding the ball and knows exactly where to go,” Bellano said.
Similar to Nolan, Graf said that the two players benefit off each other and that it isn’t just a one way street.
“I couldn’t get assists without her scoring,” Graf said. “She’s always getting open, so she’s really easy to feed.
“She’s just like an amazing teammate to work with,” Graf added.
Graf also continued the praise for Bellano’s intelligence as a lacrosse player, saying that she thinks outside the box when she’s on the field. Whether it’s looking for the right pass or doing what she can to set the team up, Graf said Bellano is always trying to make the right decision that will benefit the team most.
Bellano said she has to focus on one thing at a time in order to maintain her success moving forward, and that includes trying to think as little as possible.
Bellano said that while the accomplishment felt good, it’s time to focus on the more important task at hand, finishing the season strong.
“They (the seniors) want to win LEC’s more than all of us because this is the last time they’re going to play lacrosse,” Bellano said. “We didn’t come this far to give up now. It’s playoffs, we gotta pick things up and not hold back.”
Crae Messer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org