From James Caldwell High School to the turf of Montclair State University, it has been quite the athletic career for women’s lacrosse senior midfielder Brittany Costigan.
“I always wanted to play lacrosse in college,” Costigan said. “I played club for Jersey Thunder. So I was always looking to get recruited. My dream was the play Division I but then I ended up realizing a better fit for me would be Division III.”
The reason for Costigan’s choice of competing at the Division III level was the same for many athletes who chose to compete at that level: a proper balance of academics and sports.
“I could also focus on my academics while playing,” Costigan said. “I ended up picking Montclair State cause I loved the coaches and the entire team when I first visited there, it seemed like a great atmosphere. The team was very skilled at the time [and] still is, so it was like the perfect fit for me.”
It certainly was a perfect fit. During her freshman season, Costigan quickly found herself in the starting lineup and never looked back, achieving an unprecedented amount of success. She racked up five New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Week honors, First-Team All-NJAC selection, NJAC Rookie of the Year and being named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association Boardwalk All-Region Team.
Her freshman season also was the start of Costigan’s march to the career draw controls record as she broke the single-season draw control record with 121. She also set the mark for single-game draws with 13.
A draw in lacrosse is a play that happens before the start of each half and after each goal scored. Two opposing players have the ball in between their sticks and attempt to move it to the offensive side, with a referee on standby to make sure the draw is conducted without any hiccups.
“I went into my freshman year hoping I would get some time,” Costigan said. “I was mind blown that I was even starting my freshman year. I was like, ‘I am a little freshman, I can’t expect much, maybe some time here and there.’ So being able to do what I did and what my coaches saw in me was an awesome feeling.”
The following season as a sophomore, she topped both of those, notching 139 draw controls that year and 19 draw controls in a single game. This season, in her final year as a Red Hawk, Costigan added one last piece to her story.
On April 13, Montclair State took on the Kean Cougars at Sprague Field. Costigan entered the game with 318 draws on record, only three away from Kailee Beal’s all-time record (321) in Montclair State history.
By the middle of the second half, Costigan had earned her new title of “Draw Control Legend.” Finishing the game with seven draw controls, she notched a new Montclair State record. By the end of the season, Costigan finished with 365 draw controls to her name.
Costigan’s success at draw controls comes from another draw control legend, Sammy Joe Tracy, a former two-time women’s lacrosse national champion at the University of North Carolina.
“Someone I always looked up to was Sammy Joe Tracy, she was a draw specialist,” Costigan said. “I always used to watch her games and that 50/50 draw in the beginning of the game. If you can get that, you control the entire game. You have a way better chance of winning. I just always wanted to be like her and be that type of person who could control the whole game and put the ball in our possession every single time.”
The women’s lacrosse team recently wrapped a successful 2021 season which saw the program regain national relevancy. The Red Hawks made it all the way to the NJAC Championship after finishing the regular season undefeated. This undefeated regular season also included their first victory over traditional NJAC powerhouse TCNJ. The Red Hawks were also nationally ranked in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll (#23) and U.S. Lacrosse Magazine poll (#15) for the first time since 2012.
As a captain, Costigan played a big part in the program’s breakout season with her steady leadership and great play on the field.
“Brittany has been leading us through this crazy season and we’re so lucky to call her our captain,” senior defender Meghan Gorman said. “Her accolades speak for themselves, she has worked so hard these last four years and deserves everything she’s gotten and more. I know if COVID-19 never happened and we had a full four seasons she would have accomplished even greater things and gone on to set more records.”
Even though her lacrosse career has come to an end, her future is still just beginning. Costigan was recently accepted to Caldwell University’s nursing program where she will continue her studies upon graduation.
Lacrosse will still be a part of her life, as she plans to continue coaching eighth grade girls’ club lacrosse, which she has been a part of in recent years. She wants to continue to pass on her knowledge and skills of sports to the future generation of women’s lacrosse.
“We’ve been roommates since freshman year and I’m so proud to call her my best friend and teammate, it has been so amazing to play by her side all this time,” Gorman said. “Brittany is a rock not only for this team but for me as well.”
Costigan has undoubtedly left her mark on the Montclair State women’s lacrosse program. Even though she is moving on to another chapter of her life, Costigan will forever be a Red Hawk.