WILTON, Conn. – Wilton’s Kacie Johnson started scoring goals for the women’s lacrosse team at Columbia University early in her collegiate career. Now, the senior has another place in history in the Lions’ record book.
Johnson became the school’s all-time leader in goals scored for the Lions in a game against Dartmouth on March 23. She already owns the record for most points in a career, and holds the single-season record for most points.
She has 30 goals on the season and with six games left, could surpass the school single-season mark of 45 set by Brittany Shannon in 2010. She also has the school record for most assists in a season (32), set last year.
“I never really focused on goals or points,’’ Johnson said in a phone interview. “I was more focused on the team in general. This year we’ve been in three close games that we lost and easily could’ve won. I’d prefer the wins more than the goals, but it feels great to have the record.”
Johnson scored 31 goals and dished out 18 assists as freshman to set a Columbia single-season record for a first-year player. As a junior, she earned first team All-Ivy honors and ranked seventh nationally with 4.87 points per game. She was second all-time at Columbia in points and goals after just three seasons.
“I think I’ve gotten in better shape, and I’ve gotten bigger and faster,’’ Johnson said. “We do a lot of lifting, and it’s made me stronger. I was always in good running shape. Being stronger helps me take the pressure that you get from defenders. There’s a lot of big girls that play defense and they’re really physical. You need to able to keep up with that.”
Johnson said the added strength also helps her shot. “You can definitely tell when you start lifting, you get an increase in velocity,’’ she said. “You need to maintain your accuracy, and that can be difficult, especially in the Ivy League.”
Despite Johnson’s individual success, the team has posted a 1-8 overall mark and an 0-4 Ivy record. Three games have been one-goal losses, including an 11-10 loss to Brown in double overtime. Columbia lost to No. 13 Dartmouth, 8-7, in the game in which Johnson became the school’s leading goal scorer.
“It’s definitely been frustrating,’’ she said. “That Dartmouth game was the closest we’ve ever played them.”
Johnson is hoping the Lions can get on a win streak and qualify for the league tournament. Still, in a little more than a month the sport that she has spent playing for so long will be over.
“That really hasn’t hit me yet,’’ Johnson said. “I think once the last few games come, I’ll realize I won’t be on the Columbia team. It’s kind of surreal, just graduating in general. I’ll be working and being an actual person in the real world.”
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