CAT TRAX: KAPLAN PLAYS DUAL ROLE FOR WILDCATS

This is the fourth installment of "Cat Trax," a series of feature stories that will periodically appear on the UNH athletics Web site.

By
Christina Coleman, UNH Athletic Media Relations

DURHAM, N.H. – It’s rare for a college athlete to participate in two sports during their collegiate career, but for Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass) it’s something she has known for the past two years.  Kaplan, now a junior, plays both soccer and lacrosse for UNH, and is a dominant force for both teams.

Kaplan came into the University her freshman year knowing she was going to participate in both sports.   Kaplan was first recruited by soccer coach Michael Jackson and his staff, then Sandy Bridgeman, head lacrosse coach, recruited Kaplan for her program as well.    

Playing forward on the soccer team, Kaplan has amassed five goals and four assists for a total of 14 points in her first two years, and she already has 11 points (three goals, five assists) in 2008. During her sophomore season, Kaplan ranked third on the roster in scoring. For lacrosse, Kaplan plays the attack position. During her first season, she led the team in assists (12) and ranked second in points with 35. Her sophomore year she produced just as impressive numbers, playing in all 19 games for the ‘Cats and tallying 45 points (30 goals, 15 assists).  

Both coaches agreed Kaplan’s speed makes her stand out as a player.  

“It is impossible not to notice Shaunna's blazing speed when she is on the field, her speed obviously puts pressure on the opposing defense,” said Bridgeman.  

“If you put her in a sport, she will do well because of who she is as an athlete, and a lot of that has to do with her speed,” Jackson said. “She has exceptional speed and she’s a fierce competitor, so those are two things that wherever you put Shaunna she is going to impact something.”

Kaplan makes juggling two sports and being a student-athlete seem easy.  It wasn’t always easy, however.

 “It was hard to balance my freshman year,” Kaplan explained. “I went through a rough spot freshman year with an illness, my father got sick, so balancing all of that was really hard, but then I found my groove and I am balancing everything really well.”  

Scheduling classes is tricky for her as well as her schedule needs to be free after 1p.m. for soccer, and noon for lacrosse. She has handled the “student” title well as currently she is a kinesiology: sport studies major and made the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll last fall.

While Kaplan misses the off-season for both sports, she still finds time to train for the two.  Soccer season ends in mid-November, which gives her a two week break before lacrosse season starts.  

“I spend my winter break focusing on lacrosse, and my summer on soccer.”      

Kaplan’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed by coaches around the league, including her own.

Kaplan garnered America East All-Rookie Team honors in both sports and was a conference All-Second Team honoree in lacrosse last season.

 “For me its impressive and definitely isn’t something everyone can do for a lot of reasons. It’s impressive, it’s almost seamless,” said Jackson.

Her favorite moment at UNH so far was when the women’s lacrosse team found out it made it into the NCAA tournament last spring.

“The feeling that only 16 teams out of the entire country get to compete at the highest level and my team was one of them…it was so amazing.”

CAT TRAX: WILDCAT VOLLEYBALLERS 'RETURN TO SERVE' (9/25)

CAT TRAX: RUNNING AROUND THE WORLD (9/15)

CAT TRAX: INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE (9/3)

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