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SENIOR WEEKS: Bishop Shanahan’s Manley tries to stay positive amid coronavirus uncertainty

Monica Manley is an upbeat person. The Bishop Shanahan senior sees the glass half full.

A skilled lacrosse player, Manley’s been looking forward to her final high school season for a very long time. But the coronavirus pandemic has put it all on hold, and the outlook for even an abridged season is looking doubtful. But Manley continues to prepare, just in case.

“The people around me are making me feel better about the situation,” she said. “My coach (Kacy Small) has been so optimistic. And as a leader and captain of my team, I take his outlook and spread it to my teammates.”

A resident of West Chester, Manley comes from a family of lacrosse players. Her dad, Steven, played at Notre Dame following a stellar career at Springfield (Delco). Her older sister, Alyssa, is a junior at St. Joseph’s. Monica says that she first picked up a lacrosse stick in the first grade, and it’s been a constant presence ever since.

“My Dad was my coach throughout grade school all the way into high school,” she reported. “My older sister got into lacrosse and that helped me get into it.”

A first-team All-Ches-Mont pick in 2019, Manley amassed 60 goals, dished out 20 assists and won 82 draw controls for the Eagles a season ago.

“Monica is a team player and a true leader,” Small said. “Monica is a true gamer and competitor, and the other girls feed off of her. Her lacrosse IQ is through the roof and she will be a star at the next level.”

Manley suffered a hip injury during district playoffs during her sophomore year. And even though she missed the ensuing travel lacrosse season, she responded with a huge junior season for Shanahan. The injury knocked Manley off the radar of some college recruiters, but not Division I Coastal Carolina.

“I went down there for a visit and fell in love with it,” said Manley, who is excited to be playing for the Chanticleers starting next season.

Being unable to play competitively right now has been a jolt to the system of all spring sports athletes, and Manley is no exception.

“It is really strange,” she said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever been through something like this before. And the timing isn’t great either.

“I’ve been looking forward to this season since I was in seventh grade. My teammate, Maddie Parke, and I knew that this was going to be a big season for us. We thought we’d go far because we have a lot of great players. It was all just kind of coming together. It would be a bummer if it gets cancelled.”

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