F&M’s Vanessa Budd: ‘She’s going to be tough to replace’

darien-070517budd1.jpg
Vanessa Budd completes a brilliant career on the backline in women’s lacrosse.

WOMENS COLLEGE LACROSSE

Vanessa Budd’s been a team player’s team player, if nothing else, on the Franklin & Marshall defense.

I just got so lucky to be on such an amazing team.

— Vanessa Budd

And she’s been, just plain something else, the past several years, graduating last spring as DIII’s Player of the Year at her position.

But still, team player as she is, you can’t help but single her out. Again, and again. Again. And, again.

“Not many people are three-time First Team All-American,” said Franklin & Marshall coach Mike Faith. “She’s going to be a tough one to replace, for sure.”

Topping all of her accolades, Budd (DHS 2013, F&M 2017) was also named Inside Lacrosse (IL) Defender of the Year her senior season.

The honor marks the first time that a Diplomat has won the award.

It is Budd’s second National Defender of the Year distinction, also earlier being named IWLCA Defender of the Year.

“It’s all just such a crazy experience,” said Budd of the whirlwind of awards. “I mean, I’ve been lucky, from high school. I mean, I had Lisa Lindley as a coach. She’s one of the best high school coaches ever.

“And then I continued my experience at F&M with another set of just amazing coaches that could also be labeled as some of the great coaches.

“And I just got so lucky to be on such an amazing team; with such great players. So it all went from there.”

darien-070517vanessa
Budd is one of three sister siblings making an impact with sports from lacrosse to soccer to tennis at Darien High.

Budd developed her game right up to the end.

“(With) her speed, this year (she) added her ability to go to goal and start our transition — she was a little tentative to do that in years past — but always has had a great shot,” Faith said. “And this year she scored a few goals and was a big momentum boost for us.”

“I don’t know, I think I just kind of ran with the ball and hoped for the best,” Budd said.

She was remarkable shutting down the other team’s best player and basically taking them out of the game plan.

— Mike Faith

Budd takes her bow having had one of the most decorated seasons in F&M history as a senior, earning a place on the IWLCA All-America, All-Metro Region, and All-Centennial Conference (CC) First Teams, plus, earning her pair of Defender of the Year awards.

She has also been named as a nominee for the 2017 DIII Honda Woman Athlete of the Year for lacrosse.

Charging downfield with the ball was new, but shutting down the opposition has always shown Budd at her best.

“We marked her up on the other team’s best player and we just played her straight up,” said Faith. “She didn’t face-guard anyone. She just played with her feet. She was remarkable shutting down the other team’s best player and basically taking them out of the game plan.”

Give her an assist on offense too. She helped to free up the attack.

“We knew she wasn’t going to give up anything and wasn’t going to get beat,” Faith said.

Budd started all 22 games for the Diplomats in 2017, leading the Centennial in caused turnovers with 32 and pacing F&M with 30 ground balls. She had 43 draw controls. Budd is done with 105 ground balls and 136 draw controls for her 91 game career.

“I just remember going in there and my college coaches telling me what my strengths are, and just really playing to my strengths,” Budd said. “And having these girls next to me that are just amazing defenders, which allowed me to play to my strengths.”

She became only the fifth F&M women’s lacrosse player to earn All-America recognition three times in her career after making a spot on the First Team. She appeared on the All-Region and All-CC First Teams for the third consecutive season, and was recognized as the Centennial’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

Budd’s awards are many, but the buzzing moments are infinite.

darien-070517budd2.jpg
Budd made it a rushing game her senior year.

“(We) had a couple of conference championships and made it to the final four twice,” she said. “So, those are some of the big moments. And just being with my best friends on the field and having the best time of my life.”

“We do a lot of teaching here and she was always willing to push herself and learn,” said Faith. “And to just really study and to be a student of the game.”

Student, and teacher. Budd is both.

She is coaching with the CT Grizzlies youth teams for the second straight summer, this season with the 2023 Team of seventh graders.

“I love doing that,” Budd said. “It’s so nice to translate what I’ve learned and try to help them. So it’s been a really great experience.”

That experience isn’t about to stop.

“Yes, definitely, that’s what my plans are,” Budd said. “I’m looking for collegiate (coaching) jobs at this point. Putting my name out there. We’ll see how that goes. I’m not ready to let go of lacrosse yet.”

Appears in the July 13 print issue of The Darien Times