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For years, Keagan Pontious picked up a lacrosse stick and instinctively knew exactly what to do — at an elite level, too.
Now, as coach of the Hope College women’s lacrosse team, the former NCAA Division II All-American is embracing the new challenge of sharing her wisdom with her student-athletes.
“That’s been the hardest part actually,” Pontious said on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “The reason is that the stuff that came naturally to me — I am left-handed and took the draw in college — has been harder for me to coach. It took me a long time to figure out how to teach (the women) how to take a draw properly.
“I loved studying (lacrosse) as a player, where it could be one little thing that makes the difference. The great thing now as a coach is I watch (the team) and it might be changing one piece of their games that allows them to open a whole different level of play.”
Pontious is in her second season leading the Flying Dutch. Their first game is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24 against Calvin University at 4 p.m. at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
Her first season was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope played four matches, winning the final two — before the remainder of the season was canceled.
The Flying Dutch enter this season as the preseason favorite in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Hope topped a close MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll with 42 points and two first-place votes.
On the Orange and Blue Podcast, Pontious discusses how she has managed the pandemic with her team and how they remained focused on finding blessings amid all the challenges they face.
Pontious is not far removed from her playing days. Two years ago, she scored 58 goals en route to helping Seton Hill (Pennsylvania) advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time. She was selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s All-America Third Team.
Pontious earned both her master’s of business administration and her bachelor’s of business administration degrees at Seton Hill. In addition to coaching, Pontious serves all of Hope’s student-athletes as the college’s equipment manager, a role she started in December.