The sport of field lacrosse has helped to shape and define Hannah Morris. It has, in a way, dictated her destiny.
Last year, it appeared that destiny would be Buffalo’s Canisius College. But several months ago, long-time Canisius field lacrosse coach Scott Teeter, who had recruited Morris, opted to take the reins of an emerging program at the University of Louisville.
When that happened, Morris and her family visited Kentucky, talked to Teeter about potential opportunities with his new club and made the decision to head south rather than north.
“It’s a big change from my original plan, but I’m really excited,” said Morris, who signed her National Letter of Intent with the NCAA team in Kentucky Wednesday. “It’s a bigger school for sure and they compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is a higher level … so it’s quite different.”
The talented, hard-working offensive stalwart said she’s up for the challenge. “I’m scared to leave home because I’m only 17 (and won’t turn 18 until next fall) but also very excited. I’m really looking forward to being challenged.”
When Morris arrives on the Kentucky scene next year, she will be joining a team in transition. Not only will Teeter bring inevitable change, Morris said almost half of the team will be graduating next year, opening up an opportunity for a freshman like her.
“They have a lot of seniors right now, but I think about 10 players will be leaving by the time I get there, so I will have an opportunity to show what I can do,” said the Grade 12 student at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School.
She said she relishes the opportunity to play for Teeter. “It’s not just that he’s a good coach, but he’s a quality person. He let me know he was leaving (Canisius) and wanted me to come. He’s been a very successful coach with Team Canada, won a lot at (Canisius), he knows the sport and he’s Canadian.”
In addition, the facilities at Kentucky were also part of the draw, said Morris, a left-handed attack. “The thing that stuck out to me was the facilities,” said Morris of her visit to the campus. “They have their own field just for women’s lacrosse, which is pretty rare. The girls are so nice and inclusive … it just seems like a great fit.”
Curtis Columbus, who has coached Morris at Fogarty in both basketball and field lacrosse, believes the talented teen will fit in nicely with the Cardinals.
“I don’t have any question she will excel,” said Columbus, who heads up the co-curricular programs at Fogarty. “She’s a special student athlete. Her commitment to her talent and her academics exceeds everyone I’ve ever coached in my 15 years here. She is now the bar to which I will measure all future student athletes.”
Columbus characterized Morris as a “quiet leader” who is dedicated: “She’s someone you can rely on 100%,” he said.
The long-time coach said Morris was instrumental in Fogarty winning back-to-back provincial field lacrosse championships the past two summers.
“I don’t think Louisville really knows what they’re getting in Hannah Morris,” said Columbus. “A lot of what she does is instinctive, but nobody I knows works as hard as Hannah.”
While Morris is eager to get her NCAA career started, she said she won’t look past her final seasons with Patrick Fogarty and the Orillia Lady Kings – programs that have helped her get to the level she’s at.
“I want to give it my all for my last year in Orillia,” said Morris, who began playing house league field lacrosse when she was in Grade 6 and has also played with the Edge, an elite-level program in the GTA. “The Lady Kings program has been great for me … I want to make sure I don’t look past this summer and do my best for them.”