Lacrosse Family Affair: Becca Block '09

Lacrosse Family Affair: Becca Block '09

If you love sports and competition, then come to the Block house. Whether you are around the dinner table, watching TV, or joining a conversation, it's pretty much sports 24/7. "We all love sports, and we're very active — we're also a very competitive family. Even board games can get ugly," jokes Becca Block '09, one of four sisters in the Block family. "Even now, my family will come to watch me play and coach. Ever since we started playing, my parents went to every game," added Becca, whose parents both played DI sports in college, and sisters all competed in various sports since they were young.

Growing up, Becca and her sisters all played soccer and other sports, but they didn’t have a girls youth lacrosse program. “My mother loves lacrosse and played DI at Towson University, so she decided to start the first girls' youth lacrosse league in our hometown in New Hampshire," said Becca. "In middle school, my twin sister Linley ‘09 and I were really into playing soccer, but we started playing lacrosse in the league — with girls twice our size!" And the rest is Block family lacrosse history. 

Becca’s eldest sister, Emily '03, enrolled at Govs and played lacrosse and soccer. Next up was sister Amy '06, who played lacrosse, basketball, and soccer as a student, and later joined the Govs faculty in 2010 and currently serves as the chair of the math department, girls’ varsity soccer coach, and girls' varsity lacrosse assistant coach. 

In 2005, Becca and Linley enrolled at the Academy and carried on the Block family sports legacy, and then some. Having played together since childhood, the twins were used to competing together and against each other; the twins took the Govs lacrosse team by storm. During Becca and Linleys’ freshman year, they were thrilled to make varsity for both soccer and lacrosse, but even more so to play both sports alongside sister Amy while she was a senior. “Playing with Amy was so cool. It was really nice to be a freshman and have an older sister at Govs,” added Becca. 

Becca and Linley were named team captains as seniors; Linley was a defensive stalwart, recording 66 ground balls, and 27 draw controls, and Becca more of a playmaker, piling up 53 goals, 28 assists, and 41 draws. With their shared success playing at Govs and with Seacoast Lacrosse Club out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the twins began to attract a lot of college recruiting attention, namely Syracuse University.

"At the time, I wanted to strike out and go to a different school than Linley," recalls Becca. "Growing up, we did everything together. But I remember visiting Syracuse on a beautiful fall day, and we both just fell in love with it. I'm happy that we went together," said Becca. Looking back, she is grateful for the experience of playing alongside Linley: "It was a tremendous experience for both of us! We were very fortunate to have such great teammates and coaches at Syracuse. Linley and I have played together for so long that we really understand how each other plays. We always have each other's back — on and off the field," she added. 

Becca was the core of an Orange defense and was the 2013 IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) Defender of the Year and an All-American senior at Syracuse. During her four-year college career, she helped lead the Orange to the national title game in 2012 and a Final Four berth in 2010 while earning Big East All-Academic honors twice. 

After graduating in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in health and science, Becca had some decisions to make. She had more lacrosse in her future, and she knew it, but the post-college options for women lacrosse players thin out. There was no prominent professional organization to turn to at that time, at least not on par with the men's National Lacrosse League or Major League Lacrosse. But she soon realized that college teams placed a high value on her playing experience and how she was coached; they were eager to learn from her. She went on to play professionally for the Long Island Sound in the United Women's Lacrosse League and on the U.S. national team, winning the 2017 U.S. Women's World Cup and World Games, all while coaching.

"If you're competing in the top conferences, teams want to have your insight and learn about coaching styles I've experienced along the way. The game has changed so much, and I've evolved as a player and coach. The sport is growing faster than there are coaches," said Becca. 

Becca coached at Florida and Oregon, but she longed to be closer to her family; close to home. “I realized that I wanted to come back east — I was suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out)," she joked. "I have family and a lot of friends in the Boston area, and when I have spare time, I want to be with them," said Becca. She put feelers out with US National Teammate and head coach for Harvard's Women's Lacrosse team Devon Wills and, in 2018, landed the Associate Head Coach position for the team.

Becca is lucky to grab a few hours to relax between coaching, working out, and playing professionally, but coming back to the playing fields and seeing her old coaches and friends at Govs is near the top of the list. "I love coming back to watch my sister Amy coach," said Becca, "and to see some old friends on campus. [Bert] McLain P'07,'09 was huge for soccer, and Molly (Scharfe) Prinn '95, P'23,'25 really understood me and helped me out - she was very supportive and caring." Becca recalls trying out for varsity basketball, despite only a year of JV under her belt. "Despite my lack of experience and knowledge of the game, I loved it! OC (Erin O'Connell) and Coach (Scott) Kingbury were so awesome," said Becca. "He was the best — he made you want to work so hard at every practice and was able to get the most out of me as a player. As a coach, I  want to make my players feel the same way — I still draw from that experience today," said Becca. 

Coach O'Connell recalls that Becca was one of the best athletes she had ever coached. "She has exceptional physical gifts, but she also has off the charts athletic intelligence. Even though she didn't play a ton of basketball growing up, Becca was a very cerebral player who understood what we were trying to do and her role. But what makes her special is a real, innate, Tom Brady-like competitiveness that she just can't turn off," said O'Connell. "She was a lockdown defender and relished her role of making the opposing team's best player miserable for 32 minutes," added O'Connell. The 2009 team had a challenging year, and it would have been easy to give up. "I remember bringing the team together and telling them that we needed to win our last five games to avoid having a losing record. I could tell right then and thereby the look in Becca's eye that we were going to win those last five games," said O'Connell. "She had always enjoyed playing a complementary role in basketball, but in those last couple of weeks, with her "main sport" (lacrosse) looming, she became our leader and pretty much willed us to refocus our efforts and win those games. It was one of the most satisfying stretches of basketball I've been a part of because the girls didn't give up on a season that, to that point, was pretty disappointing and frustrating and turned it into something special. Becca was a huge part of that," said O'Connell.

 And as a player, Becca still reigns as one of the premier defenders in women's lacrosse and she’s keenly interested in growing the sport and mentoring the next generation of players, all while continuing her own professional playing career. She was named Defensive Player of the Year this past August within the new professional league Athletes Unlimited, which focuses on promoting women's sports at the pro level. 

"It's important to find your passion and be confident — no one will question it. I think it's very hard as a female to figure out your identity — so many distractions can get in your way. But I found a lot of confidence through playing. Having goals around getting better and being surrounded by others who have the same goals and values — that's key.”