King’s College-bound Dillon missed last two girls lacrosse seasons

Rachel Dillon celebrates her decision to play women’s lacrosse at King’s College with brothers Robert and Ryan, mom Jennifer and dad Robert.

Rachel Dillon celebrates her decision to play women’s lacrosse at King’s College with brothers Robert and Ryan, mom Jennifer and dad Robert.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

SHELTON - Rachel Dillon is first and foremost a lacrosse player. As a freshman she helped Shelton earn a berth in the Class L state tournament, where the Gaels split a pair of games.

Things looked rosy heading into her sophomore season; and then not so much.

Dillon first separated her right shoulder while snowboarding. She returned to the field only to collide with a rival player and have her season end. Oh yes, and then the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed her junior season.

“It was the first time for me snowboarding and then I dislocated it again in a game against Foran,” Dillon said. “It was at the end of game and the video make it to GameTime CT. It came on the winning goal and she ran through my shoulder. I just laid on the ground. I had to have shoulder surgery, so junior year was going to be my comeback season. That didn’t happen.”

Dillon will play Division III women’s lacrosse at King’s College (Wilkes-Barre, PA.). Joining head coach Ashley Stevens and the Monarchs in the Middle Atlantic Conference took the edge off.

“I found a sense of calm there when I was talking to the coach,” said the Honor Roll student of Stevens, who has guided King’s to three consecutive MAC tournament appearances before the 2000 season was canceled. “I want be a physician’s assistant after I graduate, and King’s has a great 5-year PA program.”

An attacker on the field since 2nd grade, Dillon will look to do the same at King’s. But first she wants to have a senior season at Shelton.

“All of the seniors have been talking about what conditioning we can do before the season,” said Dillon, a team captain with Cate Santa and Zoe Yoon. “Since we didn’t have a season last year, we want to make it really a family this year. I have been lucky to always have a great group of teammates.”

When captain’s practice may be held and how many players will turn out is still a question.

“We don’t know players from the freshman or sophomore class because we haven’t had a chance to meet them,” Dillon said. “We’ll put some sort of plan together and go to our athletic director Mr. (John) Niski to make sure it is COVID safe.”

Dillon worked hard to rehabilitate her shoulder and wanted to face competition to test out her progress. The James Vick Foundation’s Dream League was formed over the summer and Shelton competed with teams from Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Haven, Wallingford, West Haven, Amity, Stratford, and Monroe.

Dillon said: “That was definitely a fun experience. Most of the girls weren’t sure how it would work, but we put a team together. That was one of my first times to play since the surgery. It was great to play again and we had a productive season.”

Dillon revisited why she favors lacrosse.

“I’m a skier who decided to try snowboarding, that was my first time,” she said. “No more snowboarding for me.”

And for why she didn’t add cross country to her challenges like her brother Robert (a 2019 Shelton grad now competing at Fairfield University), Dillon was quick to respond:

“No running for me,” she said with a laugh. “Thankfully, Robert got the running gene.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354