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Student-Athlete of the Week: Senior Paige Walker

Student-Athlete of the Week: Senior Paige Walker

 

Name: Paige Walker

Class: Senior

Sport: Lacrosse

GPA: 4.2

Parents: Maria and Chuck Walker

A four-year member of the Lake Orion varsity girls’ lacrosse team, senior Paige Walker has established herself as one of the most accomplished goalies in school history, helping the program capture its fourth league title – and first in six years – as a junior in 2021 and racking up 187 saves in 18 games that year, the ninth-most in a season in Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) history.

Also playing soccer during her youth, Walker began playing lacrosse in seventh grade, initially as a defenseman but she switched to goalie midway through that first year playing the game.

Taking great pride in that craft that goes into being a netminder, she shared what it was that drew her to the position.

“I’ve always liked being in goal, I played goalie in soccer and then in lacrosse,” she began. “The idea of being that last line of defense, the techniques and skill that go into being a goalie are really interesting to me.”

Being a freshman on a varsity team, often having teammates two-to-three years your senior, can sometimes be a challenging situation for young players talented enough to face this dilemma. This was the case with Walker in 2019, but that season produced one of her favorite moments of her career, a moment from an overtime victory over the Rochester Adams Highlanders where she felt accepted by her teammates and knew she could play at this level.

“For me, being the only freshman on the team, I felt sort of distant from everyone else,” she recalled. “They had all played together before, we had a really big senior class that year, so they were always really good friends.

“So, playing in that Rochester Adams game, I started in the second half because we had two goalies at the time. I kind of expected they were going to bring the other goalie back in for overtime because she was a junior, but they wanted to keep me in, they said I was doing well during that game, and that felt good.

“In the last few seconds of overtime, we were up by just one – and we had lost a lot of games beforehand, we didn’t have a super good season, so we really wanted to win this game and we played really well – and I ended up coming up with a save in those last few seconds and we won.

“The whole team ran out and we were all just cheering, and it was really exciting, and I felt really, really close to the team. That was really the moment it clicked, and I felt like part of the family.”

Now one of the upperclasswomen herself, Walker is one of the leaders and the most experienced player on the 2022 squad.

Led by first-year head coach Meghan Allcorn, the Dragons are off to an 8-3 (1-1 Oakland Activities Association White Division) start this season and feature a couple of talented freshmen in Mel Guccione and Abby Lee.

Having seen her prep career come full circle, Walker shared what she likes best about the current team.

“It’s been really exciting,” she said. “The girls are all really, really close this year, so this team, there’s a lot of loyalty and passion for the game, which makes it exciting and it’s really fun to work with the defense knowing what I know and being able to talk about teams we’ve played in the past and how they might play in this game.

“Having that knowledge has really helped a lot this season and it’s been really exciting to play with these girls. We have a D-II commit (junior Quinn McElroy) who’s going to GVSU, and we have a couple of other girls who are looking to commit, and some really, really good younger players. It’s been really exciting to play with them.”

A tremendous student who owns a 4.2 grade point average, Walker is also an extremely talented musician. The top tenor saxophonist in the state for the last three years, she has played at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and will take her skills to Vienna, Austria this summer with an international band.

“Part of playing, it really just allows me to express myself and be able to see a more creative side of things compared to something like lacrosse,” she said of her musical interests. “It’s been a very, very big part of my life.”

Following graduation, Walker will continue to pursue her love of music at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University in Tempe where she will work toward a dual degree in Postsecondary Music Education and Saxophone Performance.

The next time Dragon fans can catch Walker and her teammates at home will be Monday, May 16 against the Saginaw Valley League’s Midland Chemics at 7 p.m.

Lake Orion will begin postseason play the following Monday, May 23, against the host Oxford Wildcats in MHSAA Regional No. 4 action, also at 7 p.m.

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