Senior Spotlight: OJR’s Jarvis puts in work, ends up at dream school

When a travel coach asked Cayden Jarvis where she wanted to play lacrosse a few seasons back, two schools stuck out for the Owen J. Roberts goalie: Temple and Penn State.

“She was like, ‘I’m just going to be fully honest with you. You’re not going to be able to make it on those teams. That’s out of your range,’ which was fully true at the time,” Jarvis said. “I had only been playing for a couple years.”

The honest words did not dismay Jarvis, now a senior goalie at Owen J. Roberts. In fact, they had the opposite effect, driving her to work on her craft ever since.

Entering her senior year, Jarvis had her choice between the two dream schools after turning herself into one of the area’s top goalies.

With her OJR career now in the books after the coronavirus pandemic wiped her senior year, Jarvis’ lacrosse journey will continue at Penn State next season.

“It’s definitely cool to see how much I’ve been able to grow the past four years,” Jarvis said. “And to just I think I have another four years coming to grow, it’s definitely cool to look at.”

While Jarvis started playing lacrosse around third grade, she didn’t find her place in the net right away. She first remembers playing goalie at the end of her sixth grade season, when she filled in during the last game of a tournament and saved all but one shot she faced.

Jarvis decided to try track in seventh grade, but she missed the team environment that came with lacrosse. In eighth grade, she rejoined the lacrosse team and found her home in goal, playing for the seventh grade team as well because they were without a goalie.

“It sort of helped me get caught up,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis joined the Owen J. Roberts field hockey team as a goalie during her sophomore season and made her debut as a starter for the Wildcats’ girls lacrosse team the following spring.

In her spare time, Jarvis said she often watched YouTube videos on how to play goalie, trying to make up for lost time learning a position that still felt new when she got to high school.

Time spent perfecting her craft in “Goalie World” last spring with assistant coach Melina Avery, who played the position at Harriton High School and Syracuse University, helped her get better by the day.

“I remember sophomore year she started to play field hockey goalie, and we were like, ‘OK Cayden, you’re really finding your place blocking the net,’” senior Maddi Koury said. “That carried over to the lacrosse field, and everyday it was amazing to see her progress. She really grew, and she got better every time we stepped on that field.”

Jarvis was a second team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division selection and a Mercury All-Area honorable mention during the last two seasons, helping Owen J. Roberts win two PAC titles.

In two seasons for the girls lacrosse team, Jarvis made 265 saves, including 181 last season. She jumped onto the recruiting radar by following up a strong junior season with an impressive performance in front of coaches at the Nike Summer Showcase last June.

Jarvis earned Mercury All-Area first team honors for the field hockey team this fall, and the player OJR head coach David Schlesinger describes as the “heart of the team” was poised for the best season of her lacrosse career this spring.

“With Cayden, we’ve probably seen the most improvement of any individual player,” Schlesinger said. “She was a good goalie at the beginning of last year and just through her own hard work and also a lot of talent and willingness to accept coaching on a daily basis, she has become an exceptional goalie.”

“She is a great story of being in the right place and right time, committing to the process, and hard work all combining for a very positive result,” he added.

Owen J. Roberts lacrosse player Cayden Jarvis has committed to continue her academic and athletic careers at Penn State University, where she will major in mechanical engineering. Seated from left are Kristi Jarvis, Cayden Jarvis and Ed Jarvis. Standing from left are Coach David Schlesinger and Principal Ken Napaver.

As Jarvis went on YouTube for goalie instruction early in her career, she also ran into videos from U.S. Lacrosse and college teams who had documented their seasons.

Already involved with film through her classes at OJR, Jarvis decided to document her sophomore season on the lacrosse team and continued to do it through the rest of her time at the school. She compiled game highlights, footage from her GoPro at practice, videos from bus trips and other experiences at the end of each season .

When she heard the news about the cancellation of her senior season, Jarvis got to work putting together a video for this year’s team.

“This year, once I found out the news that our season was cut short,” Jarvis said, “I took all of the film that I had collected from the last three or so years of lacrosse and just looking back at that I was able to see all the great things that we’ve accomplished on the field, off the field and all the bonds we’ve made.”

With her senior season taken away, Jarvis has an added appreciation for the memories she has collected and documented during her time at Owen J. Roberts.

She will be busy for the next four years playing for Penn State and studying mechanical engineering, but still hopes to find time to use her video skills to document her next lacrosse journey.

“I’m definitely hoping to, obviously my workload will be increased with Division I lacrosse and mechanical engineering but I definitely want to try and keep the camera in my hands,” Jarvis said. “I’ve had so much joy being able to look back at all the memories I’ve captured in the past years that I hope to continue that into college.”

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