To say that Stephanie Hunt is the best women's lacrosse player in Massachusetts Maritime Academy history is an understatement. Yet there is far more to the multiple record-holder than goals and assists and the Brookfield, Conn. resident has taken full advantage of attending a regimental NCAA Division-III university.
"When I was looking at schools, I wanted a place where I could play lacrosse and also play soccer and I wanted to keep playing flute in the band," recalled Hunt. "MMA was the place where I could do all three of those things and that was very important to me."
Hunt has taken the opportunity and run with it. In the autumn, Hunt suits up for Buccaneer soccer and the forward concluded her career with 20 goals in 58 games, adding five assists. Her junior year was one to remember as she fired home 11 goals, including two that were game-winners.
It is on the lacrosse field that Hunt has truly excelled, though. She is the all-time leader in goals (141, 65 more than second place Ashley Solari) and assists (68, 27 more than Solari). She holds the top four season goal-scoring marks (43 in 2016, 37 in 2017, 37 in 2015, and 23 this year) and four of the top six campaigns for assists.
Her next helper will break the season-record of 20, set by her in 2016, and she is on pace to shatter the season mark for points (63, set by Hunt). In a win over Becker College on March 27, Hunt crossed the 200-point barrier, though amazingly, she is one of only two Bucs with more than 90 career points (Solari).
"It feels incredible. When I came on this journey, I didn't have this goal in mind, but in the fall, I realised I could reach it, so this season my personal goal was to get to 200."
Hunt, who has suffered through three losing seasons until this year, could not have expected the Bucs' unprecedented success this season, which has featured the club's first three-game winning streak and its highest margin of victory (17 in the 18-1 triumph at Becker).
"We have a ton of rookies and they have completely stepped up. Last week we had a [MASCAC] Rookie of the Week and this week we have [another]. I am just looking for those assists. Casey Sullivan and Anna Deely catch everything I throw at them."
The lacrosse team has a whopping eight first-year starters, with Sullivan and Deely taking consecutive conference rookie nods. With only Hunt, fellow graduand Mikayla Correia, and a single third-year, Hunt's leadership is all-the more important.
"Myself and our goalie Mikayla are the only two seniors on the team. Down on the attack, I see myself voicing our plays and setting everything up and showing them the role each individual plays. We just had our first conference games and, unfortunately, we lost, but we have no games till this weekend and so we have a week to recover. We hope to get to the playoffs this year."
Still, Hunt expressed confidence in the maturity of her young teammates.
"Everyone who comes to MMA is already super motivated and dedicated to what they do. Everyone is there to get better, so they're not asking that much from me. I feel like they look up to me, but they are there to get better."
As if being a two-sport star was not enough, Hunt's numerous other activities are breathless to read.
"I am in Regimental Band. We play at morning formation every day. We did the St. Paddy's Day Parade in Boston and the big one is Memorial Day in Washington D.C. I am [also] the Executive Officer in 7th Company." Hunt added, almost unnecessarily, "When you come to MMA, you are taught time management from day one."
Hunt played coy about her academic success, but she has been tabbed for Athletic Director's Honor Roll and MASCAC All-Academic Team during her time at the Academy. More accolades are likely on the way, but Hunt is not only book-smart as she has completed some impressive job placements.
"I am studying international maritime business, and this winter I did an internship in New Orleans. I have also done them in Liverpool and New Canaan, Conn. I like the chartering and logistics side of maritime business."
Even when on industry placement, Hunt's focus never wavers.
"I had a friend that went to a school and they forced her to change her major to fit in lacrosse and I realised that I wanted to go somewhere where it was still fun. I was able to find a wall in New Orleans and just played wallball. I was still able to go to sea and get real world experience [but still play sports]."
As should be abundantly clear, Hunt made the right decision in attending a Division-III school, and MMA in particular. The experience has readied her for what will no doubt be an accomplished career.
"The fact that it was D-III is one of the reasons why I chose the school, so I could do all three things [soccer, lacrosse, and band]. Lacrosse was something I really wanted to do, but I wanted to do soccer and band as well, so this was the ideal fit.
"I have been going to a lot of interviews and they will ask about regimental and sports things and they know [from everything I get to do at Maritime] that I am a team player. And whether the captain or the freshman, it doesn't matter, you need to be able to mesh with the team and get the job done. If you can work in the 1-0 in overtime environment, you can handle high pressure situations."
If any recruiters are reading, Hunt will likely not remain a free agent for long. In the meantime, Mass Maritime will enjoy her leadership on and off the pitch.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate