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Lacrosse star shines as veteran leader for Syracuse’s nationally-ranked program

Community ProfileLacrosse star shines as veteran leader for Syracuse’s nationally-ranked program

Bianca Chevarie has always thrived at sports, including hockey while growing up in Brantford, but it was lacrosse that she chose to pursue.

Chevarie, who is currently in her fifth year playing for the powerhouse Syracuse women’s lacrosse team, explained her start in the sport.

“When I first started playing lacrosse, I was playing boys ice hockey at the time. One of the hockey coaches, Scott Hill, mentioned to my dad how he coached the boy’s lacrosse team in the summer and how I might like it,” recalled Chevarie. “Scott introduced me to box lacrosse and I played for three years with the boys’ teams; he and I are still very close friends and he’s still a great mentor to me. And around that time, Scott’s sister was going to be one of the coaches for the girl’s field team in Six Nations…and that’s how I started playing girl’s field lacrosse.”

Within a few short years, Chevarie established herself as a promising player, which got her noticed by schools from the United States, including Syracuse University.  

“A lot of the recruiting rules have changed, but back then, when I was starting to look at colleges, I was fairly young. At the time, my dad realized I was pretty good at lacrosse, and I could [excel] at it while furthering my academics. He started taking me to lacrosse camps at different schools all across the United States when I was around the sixth and seventh grades. By the time I was in grade nine, I had verbally committed to come to Syracuse,” Chevarie explained.

Chevarie has always enjoyed coaching as well as utilizing her experience to mentor younger players. After getting injured in 2023, Chevarie helped the Syracuse team’s coach staff during her recovery which rekindled her love for coaching. She is looking to pursue coaching as a career after graduation. Photo courtesy Syracuse University Athletics.

However, after going to St. John’s College in Brantford for grade nine, Chevarie decided to transfer to Everest Academy which had a strong lacrosse program. Chevarie had to commute every day to Vaughn from Brantford while maintaining a rigorous schedule that included schooling, practice, playing on the team, and homework.

“I think because I had gone to Everest for those three years, it prepared me a lot for university and having to balance lacrosse and academics. I was able to learn time management skills. I was up at 5:30 in the morning…and then I would get home at around six o’clock every day. I had to come home, do my homework [while] making sure I was getting to bed at a decent time. It definitely taught me a lot of discipline [and] having to prioritize my recovery and sleep [while] eating well on top of getting my homework done,” Chevarie recalled.

One of the highlights for Chevarie has been her time representing Team Canada in both 2017 and 2022. She was a member of Team Canada which won the silver medal at the 2022 World Championship in Towson, Maryland. Photo courtesy Syracuse University Athletics.

Nevertheless, being committed to Syracuse at such a young age had helped Chevarie foster key relationships with other players and coaches who would help build her lacrosse career; not only playing at the NCAA Division I level but at the national level with Team Canada.

“Because I had been committed to Syracuse for so long, I had gotten to know the other players very well [and] I had a very strong relationship with my coaches [including] Gary Gait, who used to be my head coach here at Syracuse until just two years ago. He asked me to just come try out for Team Canada in 2017; just to get my feet wet with the national program. I ended up making the team when I was 16,” Chevarie said. “Caitlin Defliese Watkins, who I had gotten to know very well, was defensive coach for Team Canada in 2017 [and] who’s still our defensive coach here at Syracuse. So, it definitely was not a whole new experience when I got to university.”

Nevertheless, during the past five years, Chevarie has established herself as a positive veteran leader and has helped continue the winning tradition with the team.

“Although we haven’t won a national championship, I know we’ve been very close and we will be chasing for one this year. I want to win the national championship this year [and] our whole team does too,” Chevarie said. “I’ve learned a lot from the girls ahead of me and even girls who are younger than me too. I think being able to be in a position where people feel comfortable coming to me and talking about any type of problems or lacrosse issues [they may have] is something I’m very grateful for. Honestly, being able to mentor others, while I am still learning myself, is a crucial skill which has helped elevate my game too.”

Chevarie has become a strong leader during her fifth year playing on the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team, helping the team become one of the most consistent and competitive programs in the country. Photo courtesy Syracuse University Athletics.

Chevarie also had to overcome an injury in 2023, further solidifying her drive to excel.

“When you kind of go through something like that, it took a little bit of a toll on me at first. I didn’t want to accept that I wouldn’t be playing for the rest of the season, especially with the success that we were having…mentally, it was probably one of the hardest things that I’ve ever been through…I was on crutches for six weeks. Honestly, just being around my teammates, and…seeing them every day helped motivate me to get better,” noted Chevarie.

Along with playing at Syracuse, Chevarie had a chance to play for Team Canada in 2017, however, she relished her latest experience in 2022 which saw the national team capture a silver medal.

“I think that was a really special one, mostly because I was playing as a senior. I wasn’t a rookie on the team this time, so it was amazing to see because, throughout the years, I had developed so many relationships with the girls who I had played with previously in 2017 and were also still playing [and] being able to play with them again,” Chevarie reflected. “It was not the result that we had wanted. But it was a lot of fun to be playing against the US program and having such a close game. We enjoyed every second of it together.”

Chevarie, who is majoring in biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, has put together an impressive resume that has included multiple Team Canada appearances, successfully coaching younger lacrosse players, and contributing to a winning culture at Syracuse. Photo courtesy Syracuse University Athletics.

Along with her success on the field as a player, Chevarie has been busy refining her skills as a coach, something that she wants to pursue once her college playing days wind down.

“I’ve always had a passion for coaching. I had coached in high school with some of the clubs in Ontario and ran some clinics and camps. I’ve also coached some club teams here in Syracuse and helped with coaching camps and clinics for girls from elementary schools and high schools. I think that when I got hurt [and] being on the sidelines gave me a whole new perspective to coaching [as well as] working and learning alongside Caitlin, our defensive coach,” Chevarie explained. “After this last year, it reaffirmed my passion for coaching. And when I’m done with school, I want to get into college coaching. I already started my job search; sending out emails. So that’s what I hope to be doing and eventually, one day having my own program.”

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