For Cammie Linville, being around Lafayette College sports produced some indelible childhood memories.
“Growing up, I was always at Lafayette, going to soccer games and dressed up in Lafayette stuff,” said Princeton native Linville, whose mother, Cindy, played lacrosse and field hockey at Lafayette and father, Jud, starred for the men’s lax team.
“My grandfather was always going to soccer games, he was a big supporter of that program. He was a soccer player and captain when he went to Lafayette.”
When Linville matured into a lacrosse star at Princeton Day School, she was initially hesitant to follow in her family tradition.
“I cancelled out Lafayette as a junior because of the coaching staff,” said Linville. “I actually did consider other schools.”
But a coaching change led Linville to reconsider following her family tradition.
“When the new coach Alison Fisher came, I got interested again,” said Linville.
“She was a Princeton assistant; she sold me on how the program was going to change. She was a Lafayette alum and I thought that was a plus.”
Linville ended up going to Lafayette and emerged as a big plus for the program, serving as a sole team captain this spring as a senior, helping the Leopards enjoy a 9-9 season as they made their first appearance in the Patriot League tournament since 2004.
When Linville started her Lafayette career, she was a long way from any postseason play as the Leopards struggled to a 3-14 season in 2010.
“Lacrosse-wise, the speed of the game was the biggest adjustment,” said Linville, who tallied 12 goals and three assists as a freshman.
“It is so much faster, it is not even comparable. The strength of the other players is a big difference. The fall scrimmages were a rude awakening.”
Linville’s transition to college lax was aided by going through it along with longtime friend and former Hun School standout Addie Godfrey.
“I committed in July and Addie was still looking at a ton of schools,” recalled Linville.
“When I was going on my official visit in August I told her she should come with me. She did and I kind of convinced her. We were in preschool and we went through elementary school together and then I went to PDS and she went to Hun. Our parents are best friends. It absolutely helped with my adjustment, people can struggle with their freshman roommates. It brought home to school, it was nice to have someone there to support you.”
After going through another three-win season in 2011, Lafayette made some nice strides in Linville’s junior year as the team improved to 9-8.
“It was such a game changer, it put us on the map,” said Linville, who had eight goals and two assists in the campaign.
“The goal was to make the Patriot tournament. It was a huge step for us to beat American. It showed how good we could be. No one thought we could win that game.”
The Leopards fell one win short of making the Patriot League tournament that spring, losing 8-7 to Holy Cross in their finale to finish fifth in the conference standings.
“We lost in the last couple of seconds and just missed the tournament,” recalled Linville. “As much as that hurt, it gave us drive for this season.”
Linville was primed to assume a big role this spring, getting chosen as the sole captain of the Leopards, following in the footsteps of her grandfather and parents, who also served as team captains during their college days.
“It definitely meant a lot; I had always hoped I would be a captain,” said Linville, who was also involved in the school’s 360 Oaks Leadership Academy, which was named after her grandfather, Wilbur Oaks.
“I was on the team’s leadership council since I was a freshman so I was on that path. We had such a good group of seniors, they were all leaders and they supported me.”
With the seniors leading the way, Lafayette produced a 4-0 start and entered its season finale at Colgate needing a win to make the Patriot tourney. This time. Lafayette came through, edging the Raiders 9-7.
“Going up there, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave anything on the field,” said Linville.
“We had the confidence that we could win. The coach prepared us really well. The pressure was on them, they needed to win to get into the tournament and they had gone every year since it was started. It was also their Senior Day. We played so well, we held the ball, we finished our shots. It was an amazing feeling when the whistle blew.”
While the Leopards lost 9-8 to nationally-ranked Navy in the Patriot semis, they produced an amazing effort.
“I think we brought confidence; we felt like we played well the first time against Navy even though we lost by seven goals,” said Linville.
“We had nothing to lose and they were definitely overlooking us. We came out and left everything on the field. It was the best game I have ever seen a Lafayette team play in my years with the program. Everyone was committed and everyone worked so hard. We had no substitutes because we were carried by the adrenaline. Even though we lost by one, it showed the classes below us what we can do. It showed how far we had come from freshmen year and what can happen if you work that hard.”
Over her Lafayette career, Linville worked hard on developing her leadership skills.
“I think as a person, I grew a lot as a leader,” said Linville. “I faced adversity and learned how to deal with it. I was a captain in high school and that was easy when we went undefeated in the regular season. This was a lot harder. It is hard to lose that many games. As a D-1 athlete, you show that commitment and you put so much work into it.”
Linville’s commitment extended into the classroom, as she worked hard to become a top student.
“I was a little worried; I wasn’t that great a student at PDS,” said Linville.
“The coach set the tone, she really supported us as student athletes. The class sizes were small and you were able to build relationships with teachers. They were always supportive of my sports, sending us e-mails after wins and going to games.”
Utilizing that support, Linville ended up earning Academic All-Patriot League honors, posting a 3.76 GPA during her Lafayette career.
“I figured out how to handle the academics and the sports,” said Linville, who is starting a job with the JP Morgan sales and trading program this month in New York City.
“It was difficult at first, I learned time management. It was special to recognized by the league, there are so many good schools.”
And there is no doubt that Linville has added to her family’s special Lafayette legacy.