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07/18/2023 12:02 PM

Libby Continuing Lax Journey After Being Steady Senior Captain for Valley

Following being a senior captain and goalie for the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team, Maizy Libby is ready to keep on the turf with the college game–committing to play for Nichols College in 2024. Photo courtesy of Maizy Libby

For Maizy Libby, playing goalie in lacrosse, much less continuing it in college, was the furthest thing on her mind upon first stepping foot onto the campus of Valley Regional High School. Although after garnering great saves and encouragement from coaches and teammates, she is embarking on just that journey following a sensational stay with the Warriors girls’ lax squad.

After trying several sports throughout her youth, including nine years in gymnastics, Maizy moved to lacrosse in 7th grade and actually started off as a defender before a coach encouraged her to move to the cage as netminder. Flash forward to her senior season, Maizy, also a senior captain for the Warriors, finished her Valley tenure with a save percentage over 30% in 2023 and has committed to continuing her playing career at Nichols College.

“At first, I was on the fence about playing lacrosse in college,” says Maizy. “But I met my new coach [William Mraz] at Nichols, and he introduced me to the team, and I got along with all of them. It helped solidify my decision about what I wanted to do.”

When it came to her tenure as a captain, Maizy remarks that several fresh faces came into the fold this campaign with Valley. While other leaders may have seen that as a hurdle with a younger group to steer, she embraced it as an opportunity to welcome the girls and influence the future of the program.

“We had so many new girls on the team this past year, which was awesome because we had a lot of girls from the previous season graduate and leave,” Maizy says. “The experience to teach the younger girls and make them feel welcomed on the team was a great one. It is sad for me to leave them, but I did a lot of one-on-one sessions with the newer girls. The senior captains made the best of it with a younger team, and seeing the team improve as the season went on was the best part of it all.”

As the literal last line of defense for the Warriors in net, Maizy mentions that a goalie can certainly take their licks, but the punishment is more than worth it in the end after those emotional embraces after terrific triumphs on the turf.

“In playing goalie, it can be tough taking a hit that hurts and then having to quickly get back into position,” Maizy says. “The best parts of it, though, are when the entire team is hugging me after a win, and we all come together as a group. The saves that you don’t expect to make are my favorite ones, because it is such a great accomplishment.”

In working year-round with influential mentors away from Valley, Maizy quickly yet efficiently mastered her position between the pipes. Along that path to proficiency as a sound stopper, she surmised that self-loathing after allowing a score can prove to be detrimental.

“I started my sophomore year as a goaltender, and I did not know too much about it, so I worked with independent coaches and played on a summer team and improved,” says Maizy. “One of the worst parts can be getting in your head, because once you do, you are done. Now, I just tell myself that it is not my fault and that I’ve got this. I just keep moving on and think about what things I can do differently the next time.”

Maizy’s coach throughout her lax career, Randy Netsch, explains that Maizy housed the perfect, tailor-made mentality for her position on the field, and her mentality and physical durability flowed throughout the turf to her teammates.

“Maizy has worked tirelessly over her four years at Valley and most of those years have been with a less-experienced defense,” says Netsch. “What makes her such an exceptional athlete is her work ethic and mental toughness. She is an exceptional athlete who plays what is arguably the most difficult position on a lacrosse field. The goalie is the last line of defense, and each shot they face is a new challenge. They must have the ability to repeatedly recover and refocus after each time an opponent scores. This gives Maizy the ability to lift players up and get them back in the game. She has been a very supportive teammate and captain over her career at Valley.”

Lax at Nichols will certainly not be the final chapter in the book on Maizy’s sporting life and athletic endeavors. Yet during her time with the Warriors, pandemic and all, she was bolstered by a close-knit and nurturing class of colleagues, coaches, and teammates.

“I want to work in sports one day. I am going for a degree in sports management, and I would love to help a professional team one day,” Maizy says. “I was a four-year member of the team at Valley, and it was rough coming in my freshman year with COVID. It put a damper on things, but the team was supportive and helped things. I wanted to continue team-bonding events as a captain towards the newer players, and it really felt like a family.”

Maizy moves onto the collegiate column of her life with a wealth of knowledge about the benefits of venturing into new territory and entities.

“Playing with Valley taught me that you should always reach out of your comfort zone,” says Maizy. “I also learned that you can be the first person to reach out to others. I also discovered to not shy away from things you think you cannot do.”