Anyone that has seen Sorelle Lawton play lacrosse knows she can score at will.
But it was her ability to make her teammates better that allowed Dartmouth to enjoy its best season in school history and earned her the 2022 Standard-Times Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year award.
“She’s meant everything to the program,” said Dartmouth head coach Nicole Simas. “What I love about her is how hard she works in practice. She’s been a mentor to a lot of the kids that have just started the program. She’s been a huge support system.”
Knowing that Dartmouth’s postseason success depended on a more balanced attack against the state’s top competition, Lawton worked all season on building up the confidence of her teammates.
“I definitely took advantage of some games to set people up,” said Lawton. “We had a lot of games where I was focused on my teammates, trying to help people out so they had confidence.
“The second time we’d face teams, normally I would get face guarded so I’d take myself out and that creates more space for others. I had so much faith our six could beat their six. It was great to watch all the players gain confidence. In games, it was great everyone was always out there doing their best. It was so good to see.”
That newfound confidence showed with more contributions across the board as Dartmouth captured the Southeast Conference championship, finished with 19 wins and reached the Div. 2 Elite 8 for the first time in school history.
“To Sorelle’s credit, she makes those players better,” said New Bedford head coach John Mosher. “She’s not always looking to go and score. She moves the ball to other players and she’s a tough defender. She’s the complete player.”
Lawton saved her best performances for the playoffs as she scored a combined 14 goals in three playoff games.
“She leads the team really well and helps the team in big moments,” Simas said.
Lawton’s biggest goal of the season and her career came in a thrilling 10-9 overtime win over Burlington to lift Dartmouth into the Elite 8.
“We drew up a play in the timeout and it went perfectly,” she said. “I feel like that doesn't always happen. Getting that pass from Meredith (Sylvia), it couldn't have been more perfect. Getting the pass from Meredith and that being the goal bringing us to the Elite 8, it was surreal. It was such an amazing feeling, especially since we’ve never made it that far.”
Four years later and Lawton still remembers how it felt after losing to Silver Lake by one goal in the Div. 1 first round as a freshman.
“I didn’t like that feeling,” said the 17-year-old. “Coming into this year, I said, 'I need to see what it’s like to make it past that point.'
“Knowing that we were one of the last eight teams (in the state) standing was amazing. I have never been so proud of our team. The way we fought the whole game (against Burlington). Being down at the end of the game, everybody dug deep and we played together and we did what we’re supposed to.”
The deep playoff run was extra gratifying for Lawton and the rest of Dartmouth’s players who experienced a coaching change early in the season.
“We weren’t expecting a coaching change and everyone did a good job of adjusting to it,” Lawton said. “With coach Simas, it was such a shift in energy and we were having so much fun.
“We got to a point when we thought we could go pretty far.”
A three-sport athlete at Dartmouth, Lawton has always prided herself on playing her hardest.
“No matter what sport I'm playing I try to make the most of it,” she said. “Obviously lacrosse has been my sport for my whole life, but when it came to volleyball and track I was going to give 100%. Everything I would do, I wanted to make my team better.”
Lawton plans to bring that same approach with her to Cornell University, where she will study biology and play lacrosse.
“Talking to the coaches and getting to know their program, I fell in love with the coaching staff at Cornell,” said Lawton, adding that both of her parents went there. “They’re always very competitive in the Ivy League. It’s a great program going into it.
“This is very exciting to go to a new place and play that level of a sport. I’m super excited. It’s going to be tough but I love the challenge. I think stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but that’s when the best things happen.”
ALL ABOUT SORELLE LAWTON
WHY SHE WAS SELECTED: Lawton helped Dartmouth sweep Old Rochester, win the Southeast Conference title and make a historic playoff run with her skills, playmaking ability, experience and leadership. … Old Rochester’s Maddie Wright was also considered for the top honor after she led the Bulldogs to the South Coast Conference title with 147 goals.
KEY STATS: The Southeast Conference All-Star notched 111 goals and 20 assists this season to finish with 218 goals and 49 assists for her career despite her sophomore year being canceled because of the pandemic and an abbreviated junior campaign.
MVP MOMENT: Lawton scored a team-high five goals, including the game-winner in overtime to lift Dartmouth past Burlington in the Div. 2 Sweet 16.
DARTMOUTH COACH NICOLE SIMAS: “She does it all for us. She’s phenomenal and does everything right.”
NOTES: Over her high school career, Lawton helped Dartmouth win SEC titles in both volleyball and lacrosse. She also reached All-States during winter track of her senior year as part of the school’s record-breaking 4x200 relay team. … Lawton started playing lacrosse in the first grade with Dartmouth Youth Lacrosse. She started playing for Boston Laxachusetts in the eighth grade. … Lawton is the daughter of Kyra and Mark. She has an older sister, Emerson, and an older brother, Camden.
This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Dartmouth's Lawton is the 2022 Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year