BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The next man up mentality is ever present in sports, and it was certainly on display here at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday.
When the Canisius women’s lacrosse team’s goalie went down with an injury, emergency goalie Hailey Rooney stepped in and stepped up, recording a 10-9 overtime victory between the pipes for the Griffs in only her second ever time playing goalie.
“I wasn’t told about going into goal until Monday of last week, so I had about less than a week to practice. Every day last week I was doing regular practice, then coming back here and doing extra work a couple times a day to make sure I was playing to the best of my abilities,” Canisius freshman Hailey Rooney said.
“We knew Rooney is completely fearless and ready for anything, and she’s a kid that will do anything to help our team win,” Canisius head coach Russell Allen said. “We talked to her, she was up for it, and it’s all worked out well so far.”
“It was so fun, I can’t say it enough, it was really fun to put in the extra work and have it pay off. I knew going into the game that we were not losing,” Rooney said. “We didn’t want to lose, and we weren’t going to leave there without a win.”
This season has been exceptional for the Griffs. First year Head Coach Russell Allen has led Canisius to a 9-4 record with two games left to play, and the Griffs currently sit fourth in the MAAC. Wins this late in the season are always important, but thanks to Rooney’s play, Saturday’s OT win was even more important to this team.
“That was a big game for any goalkeeper because it clinched playoffs for us. With Rooney in net, getting that win, she didn’t just go in net, she did incredible in cage,” Allen said. “Getting that win was huge for our program, we have a new coaching staff this year so to clinch playoffs was just a big win.”
“It was honestly really awesome, it felt like a dream, it didn’t really feel like real life. It was so fun to be able to step up for the team and know that I’m helping out so many people. It was so exciting,” Rooney said.
The Golden Griffs are on the road on Wednesday as they take on their second to last regular season game against Marist. Hailey will be in the goal again, and coming off that OT win, she’ll be standing tall in the net.