Berger Commits to Oberlin

The life of a goalie can be an isolating one. It’s one of those unique positions in sports that rarely gets enough of the credit and shoulders an unfair proportion of the blame, yet requires the deflection of hard rubber balls off the helmet, arms, shins–anything to keep it out of the net. Few are built for the goalie position, but those who are imbue their team with courage, strength, and leadership. Emily Berger is one of those players.

She grew up in Three Village, where playing lacrosse is as much of a birthright as saltwater and Sunday morning bagels, and joined her first lacrosse team in first grade. Two years into her budding career it was her turn to play goalie as part of a rotation on her team. She saved the first shot she ever faced, looked over at her dad in the stands, and relished the feeling. She stuck with it and learned more about the position under coach Jim Nagle, who went on to lead the men’s program at Stony Brook University. She quickly felt comfortable guiding her defense and expanding their vision with her voice, knowing that success would ride on their ability to work together as a unit. It’s what keeps her motivated to continue working every day: “I know I’m not going to save everything, and that I can turn to my team to support me.” That first moment between the pipes at age eight set her on a path that would eventually take her to Stony Brook and, next year, will lead her to Oberlin College.

Emily’s lacrosse education continued throughout grade school as she began playing on club teams that allowed her to experience strong regional and national competition. She attended Ward Melville and Stony Brook University games which solidified her understanding of what it took to compete at the highest caliber, as well as her desire to play on that level. Last December, that lifetime of knowledge was put to use when she traveled to the National Championships in Florida and faced one of the top club teams in the country with a tent full of college coaches looking on. The team trailed at the half, but Emily stepped between the pipes for the second half and played the best lacrosse of her life, refusing to let anything past her and breathing life back into her team with every stop. They came back to win the game thanks to her courage and ability to step up in a huge moment.

Courage and strength was again on display during the spring when the Bears faced off against Portledge, a rival they had been unable to get past since joining the PSAA in 2019. In a 9-2 victory that gave the Bears sole possession of first place, Emily led her defense to a dominant showing against one of the league’s most potent offenses. But what was most impressive about her performance that day was that it came during a week in which she lost a friend outside of Stony Brook. Her play helped lead to team to an undefeated season, securing the first league championship in the 18-year history of the program. She closed her junior season at #3 on the Long Island private school saves list and pulled to within 10 saves of the 300-save milestone for her career.

As a result of her play, college recruitment ramped up throughout last season and into the summer with Williams, Wesleyan, Vasser, and other strong Division III program showing interest, despite often recruiting for a single goalie spot. In choosing Oberlin College, she found a coaching staff that demonstrated they really wanted her with frequent communication and a desire to see her prosper as a whole student. She also found a college that reminded her of Stony Brook in its ability to foster strong relationships with teachers and build a vibrant community. It made the decision to verbally commit an easy one for her. She will sign her National Letter of Intent this year.

When she leaves for Ohio next fall, she will take with her the leadership skills, desire to try new things, and expanded view of the world that she attributes to her time at The Brook. She credits her involvement with the Admissions Council, Mentorship Program, Women in STEM, Junior Class Council, and the Prefect Board in fostering her growth as a leader. “I was lost in the waves at my former school in a much bigger district. But I thrived here. Stony Brook has given me real community support and all the tools I need to be successful.”

Before she dons the gold and cardinal of Oberlin, she still has a season of Blue & White lacrosse ahead of her in which she hopes to repeat as League Champions before making a run in the state tournament. If they achieve those goals his year, her encouraging voice and presence in net will be a big reason why.


One comment

  1. Emily Berger my dear precious niece Auntie is so very proud of all your academic and sport endeavors. I wish you all the best in your senior year at The Stonybrook School and your future college years at Oberlin. Go get ‘em Emily you shoot for the stars.

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