Laura Kleiber: The unexpected underdog

Laura Kleiber ’14 went from not being recruited heavily to First Team All-Patriot League.

From barely recruited to First Team All-Patriot League

Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications

On the eve of the first game of the season, quotes are read aloud that denotes each player on the women’s lacrosse team. Their peers then guess which player that quote is referring to.

The purpose is to motivate the player to think about herself and to have her hone in on which specific aspect she possesses that makes her a special addition to the team.

That night, this quote by Eric Thomas was read aloud: “You cannot afford to live in potential for the rest of your life; at some point, you have to unleash the potential and make your move.”

That quote was read for none other than senior captain Laura Kleiber, and it speaks to the 2013 First Team All-Patriot League selection more than one would originally believe. It is easy to see the impact Kleiber has on Lafayette – she is a ferocious athlete and netted a hat trick against Bryant University to bring her team-leading total to 18.

Head coach Alison Fisher said that Kleiber “probably could’ve played almost anywhere.”

But not too long ago, this was not the case – far from it. Kleiber struggled recruiting-wise due to her late arrival to the Newark Academy Lacrosse Program.

“She picked up the sport very late relative to most,” Fisher said. Kleiber mentioned her high school program was “not very good, actually terrible.”

These two factors combined made the recruiting process tricky, but fortunately, all it takes is one school to submit an offer.

“She was a little bit raw when we saw her, but her athleticism and instinct was phenomenal,” Fisher said.

Bucknell did not submit that offer. “I went to Bucknell and met with their coach and I did the usual talk about how I am really athletic but I’ve only played for 1 ½ years at a high school that is not very good,” Kleiber said. “I remember her cutting me off and saying, ‘um… well let me be honest with you… you will never play at the Division I level so you’re wasting your time.’ ”

Just as the Eric Thomas quote summarized, Kleiber unleashed her potential, made her move, and soon found herself recruited to Lafayette.

“Fast forward to my freshman year playing them [Bucknell] – not only did we win but I had a hat trick and I remember shaking the coach’s hand with a fat smile on my face – just the satisfaction you get from proving someone so wrong it’s awesome,” Kleiber said.

Colgate is another example of a school that shutout Kleiber. The Far Hills, NJ native scored multiple goals in the Lafayette-Colgate game, which secured the Leopards’ first playoff berth in nine years. Colgate featured no one on the all-league team that year.

“I guess my reaction to how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time is that I’m really happy to prove so many people wrong that said to my face, ‘no way you can play at DI level or even in college,” Kleiber said.

She continues to live by that quote and will carry it with her beyond her college career. Fisher and the rest of the Lafayette lacrosse program will hope to see Kleiber continue to “unleash the potential” the rest of the season.

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