By Zoe Hall
Originally from Toddington, England, freshman Eleanor Bruce grew up loving sports.
“My Dad would take me and my sisters to watch professional league soccer on a weekly basis which I really enjoyed, and it initiated my dream of one day playing in front of a crowd in a stadium,” said Bruce.
According to Bruce, she played every sport available to her.
“When I moved to my middle school, I played up to seven sports at once before finally focusing on three: field hockey, netball and lacrosse,” said Bruce.
However, Bruce didn’t always love lacrosse.
“Initially, lacrosse was my least favorite as it was very hard to pick up and it was introduced to us significantly later than my other sports.”
When she was introduced to the sport around 13 years old, she progressed to higher levels.
“After a couple of years of playing the sport, I trialed for Regional Academy, which is the first step in the England pathway. I was successful [and] worked extremely hard in order to climb my way up over the years until I was selected for the U19 World Cup training squad.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the 18 selected to travel to Canada for the World Cup in 2019 but I learn[ed] so much from the experienced and grew as a player both mentally and physically. It was this experience that made me want to play lacrosse at an American university – the standard is much higher than in the UK.”
However, Bruce described her journey of coming to Montevallo as “far from typical.”
“I was signed up start at Loughborough University back home in England September 2021 as my plan was to take a gap year,” said Bruce. “Due to COVID and the harsh lockdown restrictions in the UK, a gap year would have been very pointless and being at home all the time made me realise how much I missed playing lacrosse.”
With help from her parents and a recruitment manager, she met UM’s women’s lacrosse coaches, Adrianna Piontek and Jessica Ormrod, and the team in October.
“I will never forget the Zoom call I had when I met the team,” said Bruce. “Everyone was so friendly and to this day it is why I love the environment here so much. Overall, I couldn’t be having a better experience here – it is everything I’d hoped for and so much more.”
Bruce made her debut in the game against Mars Hill University in North Carolina over the weekend of Feb. 6. She had four goals in the 14-3 win over Mars Hill, and added two more points against Lenoir-Rhyne on Feb. 7. She also recorded four draw controls over the weekend.
“My favorite memory being a Falcon so far is our away trip to North Carolina where I made my debut,” said Bruce. “The team experience was so fun, from just simple things like the bus journeys and the pre-game time in the locker room to the bigger things like scoring my first collegiate goal and then getting Freshman of the Week.”
Bruce expressed her gratitude of her UM experience so far.
“It is definitely a family culture here at Montevallo – something I really value, especially being far away from home,” said Bruce.
Though Bruce has just made her college debut, she looks forwards to new experiences with the team.
“I cannot wait to grow with the team – we are working so hard day-in-day-out, so to start picking up some solid performances and hopefully wins against some ranked teams would be really cool once conference games start,” said Bruce.