North Shore's Kylee Colbert, West Babylon's Lacey Downey will form unstoppable line at Boston College
So far, the appearance of Lacey Downey and Kylee Colbert on the same line has been the Halley’s Comet of Long Island girls lacrosse — stunning, explosive and rare.
They are two of the best players on Long Island, but are rarely seen in the same county, let alone on the same field. Downey, a senior midfielder at West Babylon, is the defending points leader in Suffolk, racking up 61 goals and 60 assists last spring. Colbert, a senior midfielder at North Shore, is the reigning goals leader on Long Island, knocking in 98 last year.
Imagine what would happen if they played on the same team, on the same field, at the same time.
It’s been seen before and will soon be seen again. What was once rare and special will become as common as sunshine in May, possibly as soon as next year. The two Long Island standouts are both committed to Boston College, a national power that’s about to bring in two of the very best from one of the sport’s premier regions.
“I think we fit together because we’re both able to play with other people,” Colbert said. “When you already have that connection with each other going into college, I think it can be really beneficial when we get up there. Our connection could just grow.”
The connection formed, however briefly, when the two played on the same line in an Under Armour All-American Tournament as underclassman. Although they didn’t know it yet, it was their first taste of college life.
“Immediately, we realized that we liked to play together,” Colbert said.
“We were always on the same middie line, just because we work very well together," she said. "We always have this connection where she cuts, I feed her and she scores.”
The admiration between the two has always been there. The battles in club lacrosse games were fierce — where Colbert played on the Long Island Yellow Jackets and Downey was on Long Island Top Guns and, later, the Long Island Jesters.
They were, by virtue of their high-level talents, often matched up against each other.
“When you go up against Lacey, she’s really good at the backchecks — so you need to watch your back,” Colbert said. “She’s very fast … She’s able to check the ball right out of your stick, even if you think you’re protecting it. She’s very good on the draw and on the draw circle. She has a really amazing shot from the eight-meter.”
Colbert, Downey said, was so outwardly talented that she became a folk-hero of sorts on the club circuit.
“Definitely very intimidating, just because of how she plays and the way she carries herself,” Downey said of Colbert. “For some girls on my team, she was almost like their idol just because of how skilled of a player she was and how far greater skill she has above the others.”
This kind of awe at Colbert’s skill has extended to the high school fields. First-year North Shore coach Jaclyn Stevens admits that the first week of practice — while very productive — occasionally delved into moments of pure marveling at their top player.
“She’s just so strong,” said Stevens, who’s previously coached at Wantagh and Plainedge. “The whole team, we see her rip it from anywhere and everyone just looks at each other, like ‘glad she’s on our team.’… She’s, by far, one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen on a lacrosse field.”
Colleen Kilgus, who has known Downey since she was 8 and has coached her at West Babylon since she was in the seventh grade, thinks that playing at a national power will only accentuate how good the Suffolk standout truly is.
“She’s going to be in her element,” Kilgus said. “We expect so much from her because she can do it all . . . She never gets a break. She’s up and down the field. When she’s full-speed ahead and has her stamina, that’s when she’s at her best. Unfortunately, I’m not ever able to give her a break. But when she gets to college, she’s going to have that opportunity to make sure she has that stamina.”
Downey’s kaleidoscope of skills, in addition to that presumed stamina, led Kilgus to another prediction.
“She’s going to change the game,” Kilgus said before referencing two former Boston College stars. “The same way that Charlotte North changed it, and [West Babylon's] Sam Apuzzo changed it, Lacey is 100% going to change the game of women’s lacrosse … She’s so strong. The shot selection that she takes, the way she can anticipate a play is different from anybody else I’ve seen.”
Downey and Colbert are already friends. They bonded on their recruiting trip to Boston College and text and Snapchat frequently. They’re both excited about their senior years on Long Island — Downey to help guide a very young West Babylon team and Colbert to possibly make a run at a Nassau title.
But, in the distance, that connection is coming.
Like a meteor.