To the next level

When Courtney Duffy thinks about her first lacrosse stick, she can’t help but laugh.

“I remember going to Modell’s to get my first lacrosse stick and it was $20 and was just a shaft with a board that was orange,” the Merrimack High School senior said. “I can’t believe I played with that.”

But that stick was part of a journey that will continue for a few more years, as Duffy recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at the University of New Haven.

Before she had that stick, Duffy, who was in fourth grade at the time, was introduced to the game by a neighbor a few years older than her.

“One day, (the neighbor) came over to my house with a lacrosse stick and I was like ‘what’s that?’” Duffy said. “She told me and I started playing with it. That spring, I signed up and loved it. I love the fast paced of it. You can be down five goals and within two minutes, you can come back and win.”

Duffy was a part of one of those comebacks two years ago, when Merrimack rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final five minutes of the Division II semifinals to beat Bedford by one. As a sophomore, she played a role on that team, which won the school’s only girls lacrosse title, and with her college decision out of the way, she’s focused on doing something big with the Tomahawks again this spring.

“We’re wicked excited about this year,” Duffy said. “We know we have a lot of potential with the freshmen coming up. There’s no pressure. Last year, it’s junior year and you want to get your stats up to show coaches what you can do. This year it will be nice, relaxed and hopefully a lot of fun.”

After starting with the MYA lacrosse program in fourth grade, Duffy joined Granite State Elite lacrosse in seventh grade. The experience of playing in tournaments at that level has her believing she can perform at the next level.

“The level of play is different than high school,” Duffy said of GSE. “Going to those tournaments, I feel like that’s prepared me for when I go to college and that higher level. We can be more aggressive. It’s not like high school. It’s going to be different.”

Unlike some of her peers, the recruiting process was quick.

“Around this time last year, I was going to tournaments for GSE for lacrosse, and I emailed (the coach) the day before a tournament,” Duffy said. “She ended up coming and saw me play in one game, and she thought I was good. I visited the campus in December and ended up committing in January.

“I was set as soon as I saw the campus. I liked how the school is small and the campus is small. The team seemed close. They have my major, which is communication. You’ve got to make sure you love the school.”