Setting goals to score them: Zahn closes out lacrosse career

Senior Danielle Zahn has played in all of the women’s lacrosse 11 games so far this season. She has 28 ground balls and a shooting percentage this season of 55.1 percent. Photo by Gabriella Anderson

There’s a certain amount of motivation required to tally 100 career goals as a college lacrosse player. A target like that appears even more unattainable when trying to balance working in a research lab and at an internship, conducting research for a senior capstone and being a psychology peer advisor – all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

But senior psychology major and women’s lacrosse midfielder Danielle Zahn is just restless enough to chase after that achievement.
“I’m one of those people when if I have some free time or nothing to do, I don’t know what to fill it with, so I like having things that I need to do,” Zahn said.

Zahn sets goals; an action she and Dan Kirkpatrick, Chapman’s women’s lacrosse head coach, acknowledge brings success.

“We’ve done goals and individual goals, and we’ve gone over them. And for some players, it’s an exercise (that) helps focus,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s just what she does.”

During her sophomore year, Zahn came up with another objective, this one off the field.

“I realized, ‘Hey, I still have my 4.0 GPA. Maybe I can actually pull this off,’” Zahn said. “I didn’t want my lacrosse performance to slip, so it’s been quite the motivating balancing act.”

Zahn came into her senior year with a specific goal – to make 100 goals before she walks at graduation. With 94 in her Chapman career coming into a March 23 victory over the University of Redlands, she scored seven goals to tie the single-game school record – not only reaching 100, but adding one more for good measure.

“I was relieved … I just knew that was floating in the back of my mind,” Zahn said. “I didn’t think I would hit it that game.”

With that accomplishment, Zahn didn’t slow down. In Chapman’s next game against Kalamazoo College March 26, she scored another seven goals.

“Doing that two games in a row was just luck,” Zahn said. “We’ve been running the same plays all season, the same things against every team, so I honestly have no clue what was different.”

But Kirkpatrick said Zahn’s success is due to her hard work and determination.

“Those 100 goals (aren’t) because Dani showed up to game days and decided to go hard. Those 100 goals are because Dani goes hard at practice,” Kirkpatrick said.

With about a month left in her lacrosse career, Zahn has one final aim: for the team to achieve a high seed in the conference tournament in early May. So far, Zahn’s two for two on both of her accomplished objectives. And, Kirkpatrick said, she typically achieves her goals.

“Our entire season is in front of us,” Kirkpatrick said. “Everything that we want, everything that we’ve been fighting for is still there.”