The Vault: Joanne Connelly, 'Dominance Down Under!' (Sept./Oct. 2000)


US LACROSSE MAGAZINE, FORMERLY LACROSSE MAGAZINE, IS THE LONGEST-RUNNING AND MOST WIDELY READ LACROSSE PUBLICATION IN THE WORLD. THE MAGAZINE DATES BACK TO 1978. “THE VAULT”  REVISITS PAST COVER SUBJECTS TO SEE WHERE THEY ARE NOW AND WHAT THAT MOMENT IN TIME MEANT TO THEM. 
DON’T GET THE MAG? JOIN US LACROSSE TODAY TO START YOUR SUBSCRIPTION.

Inducted as a truly great player into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2016, Joanne Connelly enjoyed an outstanding four-year career at Penn State, where she earned first team All-America honors in 1995 and 1996 and second team honors in 1994. Connelly helped lead the Lions to the NCAA postseason three times, including the national semifinals in 1995.

After college, Connelly became a fixture with the U.S. National Team Program, playing on the U.S. World Cup team in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and helping to capture two gold medals. Connelly was selected to the All-World team as a defender in 2005.

In addition to her World Cup appearances, Connelly also represented the United States on touring teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

In 2000, she was one of 16 players selected to the U.S. touring team that traveled Down Under for games in Australia. Connelly shared the experience with then-Lacrosse Magazine in its September/October issue (Dominance Down Under!).

“Earning a spot on the 2000 touring team was the trickiest preparation that I had done because I wasn’t in college anymore with access to training facilities,” she said. “For the most part, I was just training on my own, which was much more of a challenge.”

To earn her spot on the team, Connelly outlasted a talented crop of tryout candidates and also survived coach Sue Stahl’s legendarily difficult training camp.

“Making the U.S. team always demanded every ounce of commitment that you could muster,” Connelly said. “Sue always pushed us to our limits.”

The tour of Australia in the summer of 2000 was Connelly’s third international appearance for the U.S. squad. She had previously been a member of the 1996 touring squad that visited Great Britain, and the 1997 World Cup team that won the gold medal in Japan. Connelly’s contributions were always noteworthy.

“She was very good at reading the game and very good at reading her opponent, and that’s what made her such a good defensive player,” Hall of Famer Candace Finn Rocha said. “She was a real competitor, and she hated to lose. When you have a defensive player on you with that kind of determination and focus, you know it’s going to be tough to beat her.”







The trip to Australia basically marked the midpoint in Connelly’s 10-year run as a member of the U.S. women’s program.

“We were all psyched to make that team in 2000 because most of us had never been to Australia,” Connelly said. “Of course, any time you’re doing a tour, it’s first about the lacrosse. But I also have great memories from all the off-the-field stuff, like seeing wallabies, eating local foods, going to outdoor markets and taking the long bus trips. We covered a lot of ground.”

The U.S. team participated in the Australian National Championships from July 1-8 and then played five games against Australian teams, including a series of three friendlies against the Australian national team. Team USA finished undefeated on its tour.

In an era just before cell phones and social media had fully engulfed society, Connelly said that the emphasis throughout the trip was on simply enjoying each moment. That included spending a little time in a casino, where a few of the Americans found some success.

“Our experiences were with each other. It was like touring with your family,” she said. “We were able to fully appreciate the people we were playing with and those we were staying with.”

Throughout the tour, the U.S. players resided with host families, rather than in a hotel, allowing for stronger relationships with the Aussies and more intimate exposure to the local culture.

“I remember that one of my host families drove us around in a sports car,” Connelly said. “They were all very fun and generous people. They treated us like their family.”

The bonding experience for the members of the 2000 touring squad served them well the following year, when the U.S. claimed its fourth straight women’s world championship. Team USA defeated Australia 14-8 in the 2001 gold medal game in England.

“The chemistry for our 2001 World Cup team was still building during the tour to Australia,” Connelly said. “We all enjoyed each other’s company.”

Connelly was happy to serve as the team’s correspondent in relaying the experiences from Down Under with friends, family and lacrosse fans.

“I journaled the whole trip in order to give people some idea of what it was all about,” she said. “It was a way of sharing the experience and connecting people to what we were doing.”

Originally from Fairfield, Conn., Connelly now lives in Newton, Mass., just outside of Boston. After several years of serving as a college assistant coach, Connelly left lacrosse behind to pursue another passion she’s had since her youth. Today, she works as a veterinary nurse for Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, which provides emergency care for pets.

“I was a mechanical engineering major in college, but the animals never went away from me,” she said. “I love the cats and dogs.”

Most Recent

WWC Day 6 Wrap: Belle Martire Represents Heritage Where Family Put Down Roots

Martire leads the World Lacrosse Women's Championship with 22 goals.

Fast, Furious Second Quarter Propels U.S. in 16-5 Win Over Australia

A two-hour, 34-minute rain delay pushed the start time to past 10 p.m. Eastern.

Kennedy, Ohlmiller Rep Long Island in U.S. Rout of Scotland

Both former Stony Brook stars scored three times in a 20-1 win Friday night.

WWC Day 3 Wrap: Haudenosaunee Among Several Teams to Nab First Win

The Haudenosaunee were joined by Italy, Canada, Wales and Ireland in getting Win 1.







Twitter Posts