Colorado school provides a fresh start for Quaife
After so many hardships, no one, it seems, is more deserving of a fresh start and the benefits of an athletic scholarship than Taylor Quaife.
The longtime goaltender, who’s primarily played box lacrosse over the years with the boys, is heading to Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. 2 school, to join the women’s field lacrosse program.
Playing high-level lacrosse for so many years, combined with just plain bad luck, has taken a heavy toll on Quaife. She’s had four concussions — one from hockey and three from box lacrosse.
“My one concussion in hockey, I was out for six months,’’ Quaife explained.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she was in a car accident June 11 last year that required her to be on bed rest for a month.
“Then I could start going to physio,’’ Quaife said, which she still does to help alleviate the lingering effects of the accident — a shoulder injury, cracked ribs and separated ribs.
In December, she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the accident.
“It was recurring flashbacks,’’ Quaife explained. “It was definitely a tough year — especially with school.’’
But she graduated from Cowichan Secondary School in June and is ready to take the next step with her schooling and lacrosse.
“I’m really excited to leave,’’ Quaife said. “I’ve always been babied by my parents. Everyone knows that because I’m the youngest.’’
But older sister Allie has also always been a huge support that’s allowed her to reach this stage.
Quaife basically did her own digging into the places that offered the best options.
“Being a young lacrosse player, you kind of have to put yourself out there,’’ she said. “I initially made contact with them.’’
Adams State officials saw Quaife play in a tournament at Palm Springs, California and she verbally committed to the school on March 8.
“They were trying to find another good goalie,’’ said Quaife. “They only had one this year.’’
Grace Komatz, 20, played all the games but will have some help in carrying the team’s goaltending load with Quaife, who’s two years younger.
Quaife likes the fact coach Mariana DiGiovanni won’t hesitate to play either one in different situations.
“The thing I really like about the coach she will play who works the hardest and deserves to play,’’ said Quaife.
That suits her fine because she’s been travelling back and forth to the Mainland to play for the Burnaby Mountain Selects that’s required a heavy time commitment.
But that’s only the recent part of Quaife’s long resume in the game.
“I played for the Storm and I played club for Victoria and a Vancouver team,’’ she explained. “My second year Midget A I realized I wasn’t going anywhere in box. That’s when I got the invite from Burnaby Mountain and it was a no-brainer.’’
Quaife only stands five-foot-two and the nets are six-feet high.
“It was actually a huge transition,’’ she said. “I had to work on my footwork a lot more.
“In field, you’re all over the place. You have to really count your steps and know your angles. For the most part, I really enjoy field. But I do miss the box playing with the boys.’’
Quaife paid a visit to Adams State in April with her mom and knew right away she’d made the right decision.
“They were extraordinarily welcoming and nice,’’ she said. “I was just at the school for two days. I love it. It’s beautiful there.’’
Quaife, who’s also an avid lacrosse official and will be at the female nationals in Whitby, Ont. before leaving for Colorado Aug. 18 to become a member of the Grizzlies in their sharp forest green, black, white and grey jerseys, is grateful to so many people for helping her to reach this point.
“I could never have chosen a better sport to play,’’ she said.