Sunday, May 9, 2010

For victim, a lacrosse dream cut short

Published: May 3, 2010

Coming out of Notre Dame Preparatory in Towson, Md., Yeardley Love’s college decision was a fairly easy one.

“I had wanted to play lacrosse at Virginia since I was little,” Love told last March, “so coming here was like a dream come true.”

The dream ended in tragedy when Love was found dead in her apartment early Monday morning.

The news left her friends grief-stricken, such that several former teammates said they were too upset to talk.

George Huguely, a member of the men’s lacrosse team at UVa, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 22-year-old’s death.

Those who knew Love from her days at Notre Dame Preparatory spoke warmly about the student, person and player.

“Yeardley was an outstanding young lady — joyous, spirited, a wonderful person,” said Sister Patricia McCarron, Notre Dame’s headmistress.

“I know we all enjoyed watching her on the lacrosse field and seeing her walk the hallways at NDP. We are proud to call Yeardley one of our girls.”

A Cockeysville, Md., native, Love essentially grew up in one of lacrosse’s biggest hotbeds. She was named second-team all-Baltimore County by the Baltimore Sun in 2005. As a freshman at Virginia in 2007, Love — a defender who wore uniform No. 1 — was part of the Cavaliers’ team that made it to the NCAA championship in Philadelphia.

As a junior, Love started nine of the team’s 16 games. This season, she started three times.

In the interview with last spring, Love said one of her biggest influences was Mary Bartel, her coach at Notre Dame.

“She was an awesome coach that always pushed me to work harder,” Love said. “She not only prepared me to play at the college level, but she taught me important life lessons. She always put a strong focus on good sportsmanship and working together as a team.”

To hear Bartel tell it, Love was the glue to her squads, which always ranked among the most competitive in the area.

“Yeardley was the core of the personality of the team — she was our laughter, a good soul,” Bartel said in a news release. “She always found an appropriate way to lighten things up.

“I don’t think there is a soul in this [school] building who couldn’t say her name without smiling. Yeardley loved NDP and NDP loved her. She was a good soul and an outstanding athlete.”

Other Notre Dame faculty members echoed Bartel.

“Everyone here who knew Yeardley is really struck with disbelief and devastation,” said Cami Colarossi, the school’s director of communications. “She was a lovely girl. All the teachers who knew her — she was just a lovely girl.”

A Notre Dame school receptionist, who wasn’t permitted to give her name, per school policy, said Love always had a smile on her face.

“She was a tremendously lovely girl and a wonderful student, wonderful person,” she said. “It’s a big loss.

“She was always a friendly and caring individual. You can pretty much tell when kids come from a home where there is a lot of refinement, and she was definitely one.”

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