Bria Reilly arrived to Brewster as a sophomore to pursue her hopes of playing the highest level of high school ice hockey—she found just that in the Lakes Region League. Reilly was a three-year starter in goal for our Girls’ Varsity program and in the spring, she traded in her goalie stick for a lacrosse stick and played three seasons of lacrosse. A two-sport athlete for Bobcat Nation, Reilly was beloved by her teammates and coaches for her competitive spirit and drive.
“Bria was a pleasant surprise for the lacrosse program,” noted head coach Melissa Lawlor. “Having never played before, she spent a year with the junior varsity to hone her skills and learn the game, and by the time she was a junior, she was a major contributor and one of our best defenders. I tell her story all the time to kids who are the newcomers to lacrosse. I always hope to find a new ‘Bria’ every year. A great lesson on taking a chance on something new!”
Reilly’s consistency in goal led to several college hockey programs recruiting her, and she eventually decided on Utica College in New York, where she is currently a senior and the Pioneers’ goaltender. Honored with our Alum of the Month selection, Bria reflected on her time as a student-athlete in Bobcat Nation.
Bobcat Nation: How did Brewster prepare you for the rigors of life after high school?
Reilly: Brewster taught me the importance of time management, which has been critical to my success as a college athlete. Playing hockey and being a student takes up an incredible amount of time and I need to manage things because there are only so many hours in a day.
Bobcat Nation: What are your best memories of being a student-athlete at Brewster?
Reilly: Most of my best memories from Brewster revolve around athletics, and there are so many. However, the best memory was when after my sophomore year my lacrosse coach, Melissa Lawlor, took a few players on a service trip to Costa Rica where we helped out in the community and taught the youth the game of lacrosse. I often still talk about this trip today as I found it to be an eye-opening experience for me and my friends. The other great memories I had are the spring break lacrosse trip to Florida, home games at the Pop Whalen, and the late night skates on the outdoor rink outside of Brown dorm!
Bobcat Nation: Who were the teachers or coaches that had the greatest impact on you at Brewster?
Reilly: Melissa Lawlor had a huge impact on me because she took a girl in her program that had never played lacrosse before, and with her help, by my second year playing I was on the varsity team and getting playing time. I did not expect to be strong in lacrosse, but Coach Lawlor’s approach made me want to improve. She knew I was new to the game but she pushed me really hard and just expected more out of me, which made me become a better athlete! In terms of the academic side, all the teachers I had were excellent and made living away from home easy for me. Mr. Palmer comes to mind first—his history class was one of the most intriguing classes I have ever taken, and he would go out of his way to help me. I recall even joking with him once about coming to my last home hockey game to step in for my parents as the athletic department was recognizing the seniors. I did not think he would actually show up and come to find out, as I was taking the ice for warmups he was right there. It was a small gesture from him but the impact was incredible and is something I will never forget!
Bobcat Nation: What has been your greatest accomplishment since leaving Brewster?
Reilly: My greatest accomplishment has been playing college hockey—it has been my dream for years. Playing in prep school was awesome and playing for Brewster made me want to move forward with my hockey career. I have been playing since I was 9 years old, and to live out this dream is special.
Bobcat Nation: Greatest moments while playing at Utica College?
Reilly: Earning my first college start. It didn’t come until my sophomore year, but all the hard work leading up to it was worth it. Getting that start was special because I had to battle through some injuries that set me back, but stepping on the ice for that game was special. And we won the game and I recorded a shutout!
Bobcat Nation: What are you looking forward to this season at Utica?
Reilly: I just want to make a run into our league playoffs. We have made it in each of my three years but have not come out with a championship yet, and we are all hoping that this is the year!
Bobcat Nation: Can you give some advice to our current Brewster students?
Reilly: The Brewster students need to just enjoy their time and not ‘wish their BA time away’! Brewster was some of the best years of my life and you do not get the same atmosphere anywhere else. I always find myself reminiscing about living in the Mason dorm quad and being able to see Lake Winnipesaukee right outside my window! I would also encourage students to make meaningful connections with their teachers and classmates. Brewster gives you the opportunity to meet some of the best people from all over the world and not everyone gets that chance—take advantage of it!
Bobcat Nation: What is your major and what are your plans after college?
Reilly: I am a Business Management major and am still working on my plan for next year. I am hoping to land a job in my field and obviously coaching hockey as well.
Photo Credits: Utica Athletics