Athlete Spotlight: Taylor Pinzone ‘17 - Waltham Girls Lacrosse
By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
WALTHAM, Mass – From the moment she stepped onto a lacrosse field, Taylor Pinzone demonstrated an uncanny ability to put the ball in the net.
The all-time leading scorer in the history of Waltham girls’ lacrosse, Pinzone recently capped her four-year career with an incredible 17-goal performance in a 22-17 victory over Cambridge, setting the single-game record in addition to her unmatched 520 career goals.
And while she’s been able to carry the Hawks’ offense, Pinzone’s value goes beyond her ability to simply score.
“I’ve seen girls come through the program that are very strong at their position, but the thing that separates Taylor is that she’s very strong both offensively and defensively,” effused Waltham head coach Kristina MacLaughlin. “She’s a complete player in that regard.”
Pinzone began playing lacrosse in third grade, becoming serious about the sport when she joined the Mass Elite club program in middle school.
Facing the highest level of competition available for her age group allowed Pinzone to hit the ground running when she made varsity as a freshman at Waltham High, as she netted 106 goals to go with 39 assists in her first season.
“It was clear that [Pinzone] never let being the youngest member of the team hold her back from stepping up on the field and taking charge when it came to running plays, or gaining possession,” said MacLaughlin. “She wasn’t going to wait for someone else to do anything, she was going to get the job done when it needed to be done.”
For the Northwestern-bound midfielder, playing in the loaded Dual County League didn’t create any sort of trepidation.
“I wasn’t intimidated,” Pinzone said about her first high school games. “I was pretty comfortable with the team because I had played with those girls when I was younger. I was ready for my high school career.”
Sure enough, she improved at every turn, scoring 141 goals as a sophomore and tallying 162 total points as a junior. Pinzone entered her senior season averaging 10 goals per game, but she would reach new heights in her final campaign.
On Tuesday, May 2, Pinzone and the Hawks edged Acton-Boxborough, 13-12, at home for the first win over the Colonials in program history.
Waltham was knocked out of postseason consideration, in part due to a loss against Boston Latin School that Pinzone sat out due to an ankle injury. Yet she continued to battle until the final whistle of her final game, shifting to attack over her final two appearances to take some pressure off that ankle, and still managed to carry the Hawks with 17 goals in their final contest of the season.
“It kind of sucked because I just wanted to play my regular game as a midfielder,” Pinzone admitted. “I missed running up and down the field and helping the team on defense in that aspect.”
At the same time, Pinzone added, “I was really pumped for the last game, I was disappointed we didn’t make the tournament, but I just wanted to leave it all out on the field.”
Due to her consistent success as a goal-scorer, Pinzone began to see double and triple teams more often, but she’s been able to adjust by finding her teammates, or powering through for goals as she’s done since her freshman year.
“I first noticed just how impressive [Pinzone] was as a freshman during our tournament game against A-B,” said MacLaughlin. “She had three defenders covering her right in front of the goal and still found a way to shoot and score, and to be able to handle that pressure as a freshman is unbelievable.”
A four-time Dual County League all-star, two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American and All-Academic, as well as the recipient of the 2017 Most Outstanding Female Athlete award at Waltham High, Pinzone was also recently selected to play in the prestigious Under Armour All-American game, on July 1st in Baltimore, MD. She will play for the North squad and is the only Massachusetts representative in the game.
After a busy summer Pinzone will move on to the next chapter of her life at Northwestern University.
The Wildcats had won seven NCAA national championships over eight years from 2005-2012, but are in the midst of a relative slump, so Pinzone is eager to do her part in trying to make an immediate impact once again.
“I’m really excited to play next year,” Pinzone said. “I’ve met a lot of the team and I love the coaches. I’m excited for the atmosphere next year. As a freshman, it’s hard to get playing time, but I’m going to try my best to help them win a national championship.”
Pinzone also starred on the hardwood for WHS, netting over 1,000 points in her storied career (1,000 point video below). Pinzone, who is also an accomplished cross country runner, was named the Dual County League Small Division Most Valuable Player for her efforts during the 2016-2017 girls basketball season.
Based on her unprecedented success as one of the greatest athletes to ever come through Waltham High, Northwestern will be lucky to have Pinzone starting next year.
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