Kendall Donovan commits to lacrosse at UNH


Photo Provided by Kendall Donovan

Kendall Donovan signs her commitment to UNH.

Sara Zukowsky, Staff Writer

Ever since the second grade, Kendall Donovan has been thriving on the lacrosse field. Now she will continue that streak playing Division One at the University of New Hampshire as part of the Class of 2026.

She began lacrosse ten years ago as a way of spending time with friends, but ended up  falling in love with it. She committed to UNH her junior year after having a 3.5% chance of becoming a female lacrosse D1 player, according to

She began playing midfield, since she enjoys and thrives at running, and currently plays midfield for the WA team and defense for her club team.

“I play midfield, so I’m all over the field but I am more defense minded. I love playing defense. I’m good at creating a play to happen for a goal or making an assist,” Donovan said.

She decided that she wanted to play D1 at the collegiate level by the time she was a freshman in high school. Julie Olivier, the head coach at WA, encouraged the idea.

“I’ve coached for twenty-something years and I played at Boston College, which is a D1 program, so I know exactly what kind of athlete can play D1. I saw that in Kendall her freshman year,” Olivier said.

However, Donovan knew it would take discipline and drive. Olivier told Donovan what it would take to get to the D1 level and Donovan worked hard to make it happen.

“I practice and workout on my own a lot. I’ve been able to play with my club team a lot but so much of it is on your own,” Donovan said. “I pass with my brother at random times to keep things goings. A lot of it is training after working with a trainer or coach.”

She practices at least five days a week in the off season, and during the season, she is typically playing six days a week. None of her efforts went unnoticed.

“She worked very hard with her club team, did some private skill lessons, she played wall ball all the time, worked on her shot, worked on her speed, and coaches saw that,” Olivier said.

After deciding she wanted to play at the collegiate level, Donovan began looking at colleges. She started reaching out to coaches from colleges in the area, so her family could be close.

“I knew I wanted to stay close and have my family be able to watch games and once I knew that I started reaching out to coaches. It was a long process, but it’s super worth it,” Donovan said.

Donovan decided upon UNH, where she will be majoring in business in the Peter T. Paul College of Business, and hopes to go into sports marketing or managing.

The decision to attend UNH was easy, however due to COVID-19, the recruitment process had some difficulties.

“The recruiting process affected me a little bit because I was unable to attend tournaments, but everyone was in the same position of trying to get recruited. It was difficult, but it wasn’t the end of the world,” Donovan said.

Donovan lost her sophomore season to COVID-19, and was also only able to play 3/4 of her season junior season due to an ACL tear. Unfortunately, Donovan tore her other ACL on April 1, five minutes into the first game of her senior season. Donovan is done playing for this season, however, she will serve as an assistant coach to Olivier.

“She has one of the best work ethics of any athlete I have ever coached. She goes 110% at all times. She expects a lot out of herself and therefore expects a lot out of everybody else,” Olivier said. “She brings the team up and is a role model. Even with this injury, she didn’t bat an eye. She is tough.”

According to Olivier, a torn ACL is the most common injury for female lacrosse players and it will not stop Donovan from playing as a freshman next year. Another difficulty Donovan has faced, like many student athletes, has been time management and developing a balance between school and lacrosse.

“It’s definitely difficult to balance school and sports. I think junior year was difficult but senior year we go on Capstone, so it’s less work. School does come first and I have to keep that as a priority,” Donovan said.  “School will be a lot more intense next year so I’ll definitely need to keep time management skills through college.”

Even with these difficulties, Donovan has always had great memories and amazing experiences from lacrosse.

“My favorite memory is from my freshman year when we were playing and it was pouring so we were standing under the tent for half time and all of this water just fell on me. I got soaked and it was something I will always remember when I play and it rains,” Donovan said.

Donovan has had amazing experiences with lacrosse, and she has learned a lot from the sport too.

“I’ve learned to reach high and don’t cut yourself short. You never know what’s going to happen. I always wanted to play D1 but I never knew if I could so I’m glad I reached out and set my goals high,” Donovan said. “Never give up on yourself and always work hard even if no one’s watching. Lacrosse has also taught me how to have good relationships with coaches and how I can use those to my advantage.”

Lacrosse has also taught Donovan to be a hard worker and it shows in the relationships she has built with coaches.

“She has high standards of herself and is an incredibly hard worker who doesn’t take shortcuts. She works tirelessly on her own on her skills, on her athleticism, and she not only is respected by her teammates, they value her coaching and opinion,” Olivier said. “She is a leader not only on the field, but also off the field. She is a fighter and has incredible inner power.”

Donovan is an incredibly hard worker who has built great relationships with coaches and teammates, and is looking forward to making more next year.

“I’m most excited to be a part of the team and meeting so many more people. When we go to college, it’s such a different experience for everyone, so I’m really excited to have my own experience,” Donovan said.