By: Rebecca Factor ’14
As one of only two seniors on the team this year, she has proven her strength and determination throughout her four years. Retaleato has managed to continually demonstrate the qualities of a model student-athlete.
Since her freshman year, Retaleato has been a consistent contributor, playing in 13 games as a freshman, eight as a sophomore, 16 as a junior and all 14 games in 2014. The Mountain Hawks advanced to the Patriot League Tournament her freshman year and are returning this season.
“Chelsea brings experience to our team,” said head coach Jill Redfern. “She has played a lot of minutes for us over her four years and has become a very steady player. Her confidence has grown and so has her understanding of all our offensive systems.”
Not only has Retaleato been a strong asset to the team since the beginning, but she has also grown and learned to command the field as a left attacker.
Retaleato began her lacrosse career at just ten years old, and knew she wanted to play in college at the young age of 12. She claims she struggled with the sport at first, even using the word “bad” to describe herself. She knew she wanted a future with lacrosse when she got more serious and began to demonstrate promising skills.
During high school, Lehigh quickly caught Retaleato’s eye as a university she would love to play for. She looked at other colleges throughout the recruiting process, but Lehigh, being a smaller yet competitive Division I program from the Patriot League, stuck out as a frontrunner. Once Retaleato stayed overnight and met the team and coaches, Lehigh was a done deal and one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
As a global studies major and sociology and anthropology minor playing five to six days a week with approximately two games per week in the spring, Retaleato thought it might be difficult to balance her schoolwork, sport and social life. However, she says it has been easier to manage than expected, especially with her team as a support system. She considers the people she’s met on the lacrosse team as the best part of Lehigh and are people she truly can rely on.
“There’s always someone you can talk to on the team no matter what you’re going through,” said Retaleato. “Everyone’s willing to pick each other up.”
Retaleato has made the most of her time at Lehigh. This past summer, she studied abroad in Paris, France then interned with Atlantic Investment Management in New York City. Retaleato was required to study abroad and being a student-athlete, she chose to go over the summer so it wouldn’t affect her lacrosse season.
“I met with the professor leading the program (John Savage) and Paris just seemed like the right fit,” she said. “I got the opportunity to walk around the city each day, seeing and learning amazing things about the art, architecture and history of the city. It’s a really great program and it was a great way to experience the city.”
The experience interning in the city was extremely beneficial as well.
“The internship opportunity came about in the summer of 2012 through a colleague of my mother,” said Retaleato. “I was able to get an interview and started working for them doing administrative type work like filing, phones etc. They presented me with the opportunity to work for them again this past summer. It was really nice to get a feel of the finance industry, especially as a global studies major. I do a lot of reading in classes about different economies worldwide so to get the opportunity to see how much research goes into investing and trading was really cool from my perspective.”
All while overseas and interning in New York City, Retaleato was preparing for her senior season of lacrosse, which has been her most successful to date. After entering the year with 22 career goals and six assists, Retaleato owns a career-high 12 goals this season. She began 2014 with a hat trick vs. Mount St. Mary’s before adding a career-high four goals against Bryant.
One thing that’s helped Retaleato is that Coach Redfern is a very open person and always someone she can go to when feeling stressed or pressured.
Not only is Retaleato appreciative of the impact Lehigh lacrosse has had on her college life, but she has also made a lasting impression on the team and her peers. As a senior and a very strong player, she is truly a mentor for the younger players both on and off the field. Redfern describes her as a team-first player and is always looking out for the underclassmen.
Retaleato’s best friend and fellow senior, Alexandra Fitzpatrick, agrees. Her drive and dedication to the sport throughout these four years are admirable qualities to the Mountain Hawks.
“She’s definitely a leader on the team,” said Fitzpatrick. “She’s what I like to call a workhorse. She comes to practice and gives 110 percent every day and doesn’t look for any recognition. She’s what our team needs.”
There’s no doubt that Retaleato is someone all of her peers value and admire. Described as a genuine, down to earth and good-hearted person, she is someone the lacrosse team will deeply miss after this year.