Century High School graduate Liz French, in white, who recently graduated from Shippensburg University, became the first player in her school’s history to earn four all-conference honors.
Century High School graduate Liz French, in white, who recently graduated from Shippensburg University, became the first player in her school’s history to earn four all-conference honors. (Photo courtesy Shippensburg University , Carroll County Times)

Liz French played with some of the best high school lacrosse players in recent county history.

She played with three Times Players of the Year at Century — Jenny Steadman, who finished her high school career with 259 career goals; Katie Schwarzmann, who became Carroll's all-time scoring leader (307 goals) and twice became college lacrosse's national player of the year; and Alice Mercer, who recently helped Maryland win the national title.

French had four teammates who earned first-team all-county honors in her senior year in 2010, and six who were selected either first- or second-team during her junior year.

The good part about that for French is that all that talent helped her and Century achieve a lot of success during those two seasons. The Knights won state championships each of French's final two seasons in high school.

The bad part, though, is that it's sometimes hard to get noticed when a team has that much talent, especially when you play defense.

But while French may have been overshadowed some in high school, she just finished up a standout college career at Shippensburg.

French was a four-year starter for the Raiders, and recently became the first player in Shippensburg history to be selected first-team all-conference in four consecutive seasons. She recently played in the Division II North/South All-Star Game.

"French was a captain for us this year, and she's definitely the type of kid that led by example," Shippensburg coach Ashley Manion said. "She's just a really smart player. And from a coaches standpoint, that's what you want: You want smart defenders that are going to do the right thing."

Manion took over as Shippensburg's coach in 2011 after French's freshman season and said she immediately noticed French at her first practice. French is not the most vocal of players, Manion said. She is actually relatively reserved.

But Manion said French was consistently in the right spot and consistently made the right decisions.

"Right away, I just knew that she was going to be one of our reliable players," Manion said.

And that's what Manion says French was the last three years.

French started as a freshman the season before Manion got to Shippensburg and was selected first-team all-conference, but French said she feels like she got better season-by-season to the point that she led the Raiders in both ground balls and draw controls in 2014.

She also had 21 caused turnovers as a senior, tied for the most on the team, and finished her career with 11 goals.

"I think I improved my speed and my IQ of lacrosse and the knowledge, seeing the game better," French said.

In addition to her success on the field, French also served as the president of Tau Kappa, Shippensburg's women's athletics honors sorority. She also graduated in May with a degree in accounting and a 3.88 cumulative GPA.

"She's a good kid," Manion said. "She's a quieter kid, but she's a kid that would do anything for you when she was here. She was a good representation of the program and lacrosse in general."

Now, French will head to graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth, where she will be a graduate assistant for the Rams' women's lacrosse team.

French's long-term goal is to get into athletic administration at the college. She worked in Shippensburg's athletic department the last two years. She also attended the NCAA Career in Sports Forum last year, and said she learned "tons of stuff."

But Manion also thinks French would make a good coach.

"I think she would make a great coach one day," Manion said. "Her knowledge of the game is extensive. She can see things and recognize things, and I think she can recognize it from the sideline as well. I think being that grad assistant that she'll start to find her voice.

"And this past season, even though she was quiet even as a captain, when something needed to be said, she would say it, and I think with her having that confidence as a player that that will carry over to coaching, and she'll probably even start to find her voice even more."