Grace Dobrzynski’s Living Her Five Year Old Self’s Dream

"Getting to step on the field with my teammates is a blessing and an honor."

Grace Dobrzynski
Grace Dobrzynski – Photo Courtesy Siena Athletics

ConnectLAX is a go-to website for high school lacrosse players who aspire to play in college.

A West Greenwich native who has been in the cradle of the lacrosse world since she was five, Grace Dobrzynski’s profile description on ConnectLAX read as follows: “Explosive first step, threat from the right and left, elusive X-attacker, remarkable stick skills, coachable and determined, team player.”

A freshman attacker on the Siena College women’s lacrosse program, Dobrzynski wasted little time fitting in as a first-time Division I contributor. As the Saints gear up for their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament appearance (their first game, due to a bye, is May 6), they are equipped with someone who has earned the distinction as both a single-season record holder in assists and a three-time recipient of the MAAC’s Rookie of the Week honor.

 

 

With 39 assists in 17 games to date, Dobrzynski can lay claim to an individual feat that speaks volumes to the perception that it’s been a seamless transition from her days of shining at La Salle Academy. It’s a number that’s also currently setting the pace among MAAC competitors.

Looking back at what was decreed on ConnectLAX and where Dobrzynski stands at this current juncture … let’s just say this assessment is spot-on. Dobrzynski is coachable. She is determined and personifies all the qualities typically found in a team player. Her stick skills aren’t too shabby, either. Her 14 goals coupled with her prodigious assist total have catapulted her to No. 3 on the Siena roster in total points (53).

As someone who came into the season with the mindset of hitting the ground running and getting better each day, Dobrzynski has checked off both boxes in emphatic fashion, while helping her team earn a share of the MAAC regular-season title.

Grace Dobrzynski
Grace Dobrzynski – Photo Courtesy Siena Athletics

“Getting a chance to play on a Division I team is pretty exciting. It’s the kind of thing you dream about. I just try to take the opportunity I’m given each day and give 100 percent, especially having teammates who work hard and make me look good. We just try to work for each other,” said Dobrzynski when reached earlier this week. “We push each other every day. We always say that practice should be harder than the game. We compete hard in practice and it sets us up to be in a great position when we get on the field.

“Coming into last fall, I came in looking to take every advantage to learn. We always say that it’s important to be a sponge at practice,” she added. “I’m still learning a lot, but it’s definitely been great to step in and play a big role.”

Dobrzynski committed to Siena during her junior year at La Salle – October 2019 to be exact. She began playing for Revolution Lacrosse as a sixth-grader and remained with the Boston-based club program throughout high school.

 

 

She benefited from two older brothers who also play lacrosse. Jack Dobrzynski is a face-off specialist enjoying his graduate student season at UMass Boston. Ryan Dobrzynski is a sophomore midfielder at Bryant University.

Grace has fond memories of going out in the backyard each day after school and working on passing and shooting with Jack and Ryan.

“They have pushed me so hard my entire life. We’re always competing in everything we do. They have made me the tough player and tough person that I am,” said Dobrzynski.

Naturally, the two big brothers couldn’t be more proud of the instant splash their youngest sibling has made at Siena.

“They know it’s a big deal because they’ve been through it themselves. They’re still playing at very high levels. They understand the hard work that goes into it,” said Dobrzynski. “They’re very supportive of me.”

Grace Dobrzynski
Grace Dobrzynski – Photo Courtesy Siena Athletics

On the subject of placing her Siena teammates in strike mode, Dobrzynski noted what she does is a labor of love coupled with the acceptance that was conveyed the moment she set foot on the Loudonville, NY campus.

“To be honest, they make my job easy. I do love setting up my teammates. It’s easy to find them when they’re open and in a position to score,” she said. “From the first day of practice, they welcomed me as if I had been there for four years. They’ve made me comfortable and feel supported. No one is worried about individual stats or going out there and looking good. It’s about getting wins and marching towards a MAAC Championship. That’s our only focus.”

Added Abigail Rehfuss, Siena head coach, “Despite only being a freshman, her feel for the game is so strong and continues to skyrocket with each game she plays. Her ability to quickly read and dissect a defense to find a flashing open teammate is what fuels our offense. When the ball is in Grace’s stick, our players cut harder and faster because they know she’ll find them and set them up to score.”

 

 

A major piece during the recruiting process was finding a college that would place Dobrzynski on the path toward medical school. Siena has provided the biology major with the ideal setting that doubles as the perfect fit – playing lacrosse at a high level while honoring her commitment to her demanding course load.

“They have allowed me to balance both sides of my life,” said Dobrzynski, who grew reflective upon being relayed her ConnectLAX player profile.

“I realized I had to kick it into another gear and take my game to another level,” she said.

Amidst the acclaim that goes with the territory of establishing a program record as a freshman, there are still those pinch-me moments.

“Getting to step on the field with my teammates every day is a blessing and an honor. Every day, I get to live out the dreams that I set for myself when I was five years old,” said Dobrzynski. “I’m not worried about chasing records. I just want to go out and do my job.”

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