Schantz battled back to play shortened season
Shippensburg University senior Morgan Schantz had worked hard to get back to full strength and be able to play one final season on the women’s lacrosse team. But just as her hopes were running high, they were taken away in an instant.
The 2016 Emmaus High School graduate came back from an injury and had played a third of the 2020 season. The Raiders were 3-3 overall and had just played their first conference game at West Chester University on March 11. But then the NCAA and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced the cancellation of all spring sports seasons and championships, cutting her comeback season short.
“When I first heard the news about spring sports being canceled, I was at a loss for words,” said Schantz. “I was heartbroken for everyone losing their seasons but especially seniors. I like to describe it as a feeling that no one prepares you for.
“We went into our West Chester game knowing that it could potentially be our last game. I gave everything I had out there on the field. At the time, I was frustrated because I didn’t understand why they were taking everyone seasons away when the pandemic just began. However, now I know, and it was a good decision.
“Our team decided to play every day like it was senior day because we did not know when they were going to call off our season. It added some happiness to this horrible situation, so we went into games with the mentality of having fun and playing our game of lacrosse.”
After appearing in four games as a freshman, Schantz became a regular on defense, playing in 15 games during her sophomore campaign, including seven starts.
Last February, during the preseason leading up to her junior season, Schantz broke her foot in and was forced to miss the majority of the year. It was a tough pill to swallow with all of the momentum she had following her sophomore year.
“It was tough coming back from my injury,” Schantz said. “During the summer [of 2019], I went to physical therapy for my foot two times a week because I was lacking strength and motion from my injury. When I was completely cleared in August, I had a slow progression each day. I would work with the training staff at Shippensburg to slowly work my way back into playing.
“At our last fall ball tournament, I was able to play five minutes in each half, which made me so happy because I was finally cleared to return to full contact and play. I worked super hard over winter break to stay in shape and keep up with my stick skills. When we returned in January, I went 100 percent every day at practice because I wanted to show my coaches how hard I worked to return from my injury. I kept my spirits high during the whole situation and I ended up coming out a stronger player mentally after my injury.”
Schantz and her Raiders teammates were coming onto their own as a team this season. Schantz emerged as a full-time starter on defense.
“The past four years at Shippensburg have brought me friends that I now consider family,” said Schantz. “Our coaches are dedicated to making each and every one of us on the team better players. It has been an honor to play at Shippensburg and represent Shippensburg Athletics. The last four years are years of my life that I will always remember. I chose Shippensburg because it was a good distance from home, I enjoyed their lacrosse program, and they have a very good education program.”
Before she began playing on the field as a Raider, Schantz was a star on the Memorial Field turf and in the classroom at Emmaus High School.
“Emmaus Lacrosse prepared me for college lacrosse because we were always being pushed to be the best we could be,” Schantz said. “We played very competitive teams in our conference, which made us better players overall.
“I feel like my college prep classes in high school prepared me for the information I saw in my college classes. From being on a sports team in high school I learned how to balance academics and lacrosse which prepared me for college.”
Schantz is majoring in early childhood and special education and will finish her program by student teaching this fall. She will then graduate in December.