Baron Athletics

Barons Attackman’s Humble Dominance

Franciscan Magazine Homepage > Autumn 2023 > Barons Attackman’s Humble Dominance

Baron Athletics

Barons Attackman’s Humble Dominance

Lacrosse player Grace Deegan '23 strives for holiness and excellence.

Autumn 2023

In This Article

When Grace Deegan’s mother discovered Franciscan University at a 2014 Defending the Faith Conference, she knew it would be ideal for her daughter. Since Deegan was still in middle school, her mother was afraid she might get turned off if she insisted too much. So, she gently planted a seed and played it cool.

Thank God for motherly wisdom.

Deegan not only chose to attend Franciscan, graduating in May with her master’s in clinical mental health counseling, but she also did so as the best women’s lacrosse player in Barons history.

Every statistic from her five-year career as a Baron denotes dominance. Excelling in her offensive position of attackman, she ended the 2023 season with Franciscan’s all-time scoring record of 206 goals and 259 points. Last year, her 1.26 free-position goals per game put her in the Top-25 Best in the entire NCAA Division III. She was named PAC All-Conference First Team in 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023, and PAC AllTournament Team in 2021 and 2023. She also made the PAC Academic Honor Roll in 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023, and the IWLCA Honor Roll in 2022 and 2023.

It was her older brother who first inspired her to play lacrosse. When she was in fifth grade, he convinced her to spend her birthday money on a lacrosse stick and start playing. After almost a decade in the sport, she knew she had found something special when she came to play at Franciscan.

“Franciscan had definitely the friendliest people,” she says. “I could tell the coach cared about my person and not just who I was as an athlete. The girls were really welcoming too, and I could tell the team was really supportive of one another.”

Although she set school records every year, Deegan’s impact has always gone beyond helping her team win games.

“Grace made a significant impact on our team from day one,” says her coach, Brittany Bain, describing Deegan as one of the humblest people she has ever known. “She was a quiet leader on our team, showing up each day with dedication, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor, spreading laughter and joy throughout practice. She constantly pointed to others’ successes, cheered her teammates on to new heights, and treated competitors with kindness.”

Deegan’s secret to achieving excellence while staying humble is faith.

“When everything you’re doing is meant to be directed toward heaven, you can give it everything you have, but it isn’t the entirety of who you are,” she explains. “Before every game, a teammate would always say—‘Who are you playing for?’—which means we’re playing for God. It’s about growing in holiness.”

Deegan grew up Catholic but says she didn’t know much about prayer until she came to Franciscan. Her friends, teammates, coaches, and professors helped her develop a personal relationship with Jesus and Mary for the first time.

“I know what holiness looks like in everyday life,” she says. “I’ve learned to offer up my studies, my athletics, my work. That’s how I participate in the life of the Church.”

Deegan’s dream is to start her own counseling practice and have a family. This year, in addition to working as a therapist, she will continue to lead through example as an assistant coach on her beloved Barons women’s lacrosse team.

Go to Top