From an All Lakes Region League All-Star as a junior and senior in high school, to a slow start in her University of New Hampshire (UNH) career. Sophomore attacker Liv Dunn has followed that up with a breakout second season and has nothing but potential in her future.
The 2020 women’s lacrosse season – along with many other UNH sports – came to an abrupt ending due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) last year. The season was terminated just five games in and Dunn had played in one game against Iona on Feb. 16. She did not manage to record a point in her stat line.
Dunn expressed her empathy for all athletes who missed out on their 2020 seasons.
“I think that I can speak for everybody, not just on my team, not just at UNH, but every college athlete that even though COVID was spreading like a wildfire it still came as a shock,” explained Dunn.
Although it was a sad and abrupt ending, Dunn noted that it brought out a new light for a large amount of appreciation for the opportunity to play lacrosse.
UNH (2-4, 1-3) bounced back with a vengeance in their first game of the 2021 season. Dunn played a huge factor in helping the team get their statement victory as she scored five goals and added one assist in the 20-9 win over Merrimack College (1-8, 1-6).
Both head coach Sarah Albrecht and Dunn spoke about Dunn’s improvement, it was clear that the two were on the same page.
“The biggest thing that she was able to improve on was her mental game. In her first year she was in her head a lot about mistakes that she had made during practice or games,” Albrecht expressed. “I think this year she came in and really turned around her mentality. She was able to shake off mistakes more and learned from them.”
Dunn echoed the same sentiment.
“I have always been that player that thinks really hard because I expect the best out of myself. So when I didn’t, I used to fall into thinking too much,” Dunn said. “This year I was like ‘it doesn’t matter’. So if I dropped a ball, missed a shot, or wasn’t in the right place it doesn’t matter. It matters what the next play is. I think that is something that has resonated with me a lot.”
Dunn has stayed consistent throughout the season to this point. She has scored at least one goal in four of the six games this season. Along with putting up at least one shot on goal in each game this season.
Being just a sophomore on a team filled with juniors and seniors, Dunn has a lot of leaders to look up to. She noted her appreciation for a few of her teammates.
“[Tatum Benesh] doesn’t take things too seriously but knows when to buckle down. I appreciate her energy and how she believes in every single one of us,” said Dunn about the senior co-captain.
She went on to also talk about fifth-year captain Rylee Leonard and senior Julia Neyland.
“They’re both tenacious and handworkers. Watching them and finally being on the field with them has given me a bigger appreciation for what they do and how hard they work,” Dunn explained.
Still without a full season under her belt, Albrecht thinks Dunn will only get better with the experience of a full schedule.
“I definitely think there is room to grow for her and learn more about the game,” said Albrecht. “I think a full year is going to help that out a lot. We were a little limited throughout the fall so I think with a full season and going into competitions she can really get a lot of experience and start to understand her teammates a little bit better.”
After a couple cancelations, the Wildcats are scheduled to return to the field when they travel to take on the Hartford Hawks (0-6,0-6) on Sunday, April 18.
Photo courtesy of Jack Bouchard.