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Behind the ball: Meet Regan Byrne, Clemson lacrosse’s newest star

Ashleigh Snyder
Regan Byrne (10) has only played in three collegiate games — and has already scored nine goals in her time with the Tigers.

The Clemson women’s lacrosse team welcomed eight freshmen to the team this season, each with a long history of elite-level competition to get them to the collegiate level. The Tiger sat down with Regan Byrne, a five-star attack recruit out of Urbana, Maryland, on Tuesday to learn more about what led her to Tigertown and her experience at Clemson thus far.

A packed schedule is typical for all student-athletes, and Byrne is no different.

She wakes up around 7:15 a.m. and doesn’t sit back down until bed later that night. First is treatment and getting taped up, followed by team lift from 8-9 a.m., then warm-ups and practice until 11:30 a.m. Then comes a quick lunch, class, study hall, dinner, homework and finally, back to her room.

When asked how she manages such a busy day, Byrne’s answer was simple.

“Honestly, because I like it,” she said. “I like the schedule because it makes me have something to do every day. It was really hard at first, but once I got used to it, I really liked it.”

Another influential factor for Byrne is her identical twin sister, Blair, who plays as a midfielder for the team. In fact, the greatest influence in deciding where to attend school was if they would be able to play together.

“It was extremely important; we didn’t want to separate. Going to school together was our number one priority,” she said. “Every place I’ve ever visited was together. We’ve been best friends our entire lives.”

“Coming here as twins helps with the chemistry of the whole team, too, because we’ve played together our whole life,” she added. “Having five girls from Maryland in our grade come here also helps because we’ve all played each other and played together almost our whole lives.”

Maryland is known across the country as the hotbed of lacrosse, and Byrne has represented The Old Line State well, scoring six goals in the Tigers’ 2024 season opener against Davidson. She credits her abilities today to playing against top-tier competition in her youth.

Although many athletes struggle with the move from high school to the Division I level, this was not quite the case for Byrne and other teammates from Maryland.

“I would say the transition for us Maryland girls who played in our high school conference and on our club teams was definitely an easier transition than girls from other parts of the country,” she said. “When I looked around, everyone on my high school team was committed somewhere crazy. We were pretty much playing college teams.”

Byrne has already made her mark in the Clemson record books, as she also scored the first-ever goal for the Tigers at their new lacrosse complex on Lake Hartwell in the opener against Davidson and she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“I was just trying to take it play-by-play. Even though I already had a bunch of goals, I didn’t really care,” she said of her double hat trick against the Wildcats. “I wanted to just help my team the best way I could. I just try to focus on the game and the moment.”

Though she may be new to the team, she shared the same motivation to succeed as the rest of her teammates: playing for their head coach, Allison Kwolek, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

“At the end of the day, if I have a bad game, it doesn’t matter because there’s bigger things that people should be worrying about than missing a pass or missing a shot. I really think that her (Kwolek) having breast cancer really changed the team’s perspective, and realizing that you just have to have a good attitude and there’s definitely bigger things that are going on in life than a lacrosse game.”

“It definitely made us have more gratitude and realize that we can’t take anything for granted,” she added. “At the end of the day, it’s a lacrosse game. There’s stuff that people are going through that is so much worse. People wish they could be out there playing a sport, doing what they love.”

Establishing strong team chemistry, especially among an offense mainly composed of transfers and newcomers, is never easy. The commitment of the entire team and coaching staff to the cause has translated to an ever-increasing dynamic of closeness among and between units.

“It took a lot of time to figure out who works with who, what person to be in which position,” Byrne said. “But once we figured out like, ‘okay, you work well with this person,’ we really emphasized and focused on that. It took time, but we all came together and are trying to do the best we can for ourselves and our teammates.

Our chemistry is still building, and I think by the end of the season, it will be really great. I’m really excited for that.”

Playing in the ACC is synonymous with playing in one of, if not the most, competitive conferences in the nation. With a long stretch of conference play slated to kick off this weekend when the Tigers travel to Durham, North Carolina, to face No. 25 Duke, the team has a lot to look forward to. Byrne is most excited for a proper Clemson tradition: jumping in Lake Hartwell.

“I don’t know when or if we’re allowed to jump in with our uniforms on, but I really hope so because that has to happen. Maybe after Virginia.”

After traveling to Duke this weekend, Byrne and the Tigers will be back in action at the Clemson Lacrosse Complex on Saturday, March 2, at 1 p.m. to take on the No. 15 Cavaliers.

Fans can come out to support the team, and maybe get the chance to watch them dive into the lake.

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About the Contributors
Grace O'Donnell
Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
Ashleigh Snyder
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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