The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 11, 2014

Cain scores big at Seton Hill

FAIRMONT — To say that Morgan Cain had a successful high school lacrosse career would be an understatement.

During her time at Fairmont Senior High School, she racked up more than 200 goals, led the Polar Bears to state championships in her junior and season seasons, and twice was named the MVP of the state championship game.

Yet, despite all of this success, she was considered a “raw” player going into college at Division II Seton Hill. Sure, she had the numbers, but lacrosse was just beginning to gain popularity in West Virginia when she graduated from Fairmont Senior.

“Compared to the other states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, the lacrosse world is not nearly as developed in West Virginia,” Cain said. “They’re starting in fifth grade playing lacrosse.”

The question when she was recruited to play at Seton Hill in Pennsylvania was how would Cain, someone who had just four years of experience, fair against those athletes from other states?

After four years Cain has answered the question ... and answered it emphatically.

Through four standout seasons, the former Polar Bear started in all 77 of her games. She was named all-conference three times and U.S. Lacrosse second-team All-American as a sophomore. This year, she led her team to a victory over a top-10 ranked team, a first in school history. Morgan also helped Seton Hill secure a playoff berth, another first.

By the time she graduated just a few short weeks ago, she was Seton Hill’s all-time leading scorer, with 243 points, and this past weekend, she was one of 90 of the country’s top seniors to play in the North-South all-star game, where she scored a goal.

Cain didn’t just prove she could compete against top talent from other states; she made it look easy. But she’ll tell you it was far from a cakewalk.

“For me coming into college and only playing four years and everyone else around me playing seven or eight, it was kind of intimidating,” she said. “But when you have someone behind you, constantly believing in you, it helped me develop and work hard throughout college.”

That “someone” was her father.

Jon, the girls’ lacrosse coach at Fairmont Senior, got his daughter and the program off the ground in Fairmont. He admitted that he learned everything he knows from seminars and YouTube videos. The first live lacrosse game he watched was one he coached.

All were obstacles he was prepared to face. Add to it the challenges that come with coaching your own child.

“It’s always tough to coach your own kid, but she made it pretty easy,” he said. “She worked hard and I always told her you have to do that. If Dad’s coaching, you don’t want anyone to think you’re getting anything because of Daddy.”

Jon also had to walk the fine line between coach and father. He had to know when to push, and when ease off.

But his ability to navigate this difficult path helped to develop his daughter into the athlete she is today.

“Honestly, I would say my dad is my idol. He’s my hero. He’s the man,” Morgan said. “He believes in every player that he coaches.”

Now that Morgan’s playing days are over, she is hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps as a coach.

After graduating from Seton Hill with a psychology major and biology and sociology minors, Morgan was accepted into Seton Hill’s graduate program for marriage and family therapy with a specialization in PTSD. She also has her fingers crossed for a graduate assistant coaching position, so she can pass on her knowledge of the game to others.

“(Lacrosse) helped me grow up and develop into the person I am today,” Morgan said. “I just want every girl to experience the love and passion I have for lacrosse.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

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