On today’s episode of the Lax Goalie Rat Podcast, I’m joined by Drexel All-American goaltender Jenika Cuocco.
Cuocco’s first season between the pipes for the Dragons was a stellar one.
The Long-Islander finished fourth in the nation in save percentage (.532) and 13th in goals-against average (9.17) for a Drexel team that made it to the NCAA Tournament where they bowed out to the Maryland Terrapins in the First Round.
Her amazing performances in 2023 earned her the honors of being named a USA Lacrosse Magazine Honorable Mention All-America, CAA Goalie of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and a First Team and All-Rookie Team member.
Cuocco is the first of 29 Rookies of the Year in league history to add a second major award in her rookie campaign. The redshirt sophomore broke the CAA record with seven Rookie of the Week awards and was honored as the IWLCA Co-Defensive Player of the Week in April.
Jenika started playing lacrosse as a field player and never had the intention of playing goalie until she gave the position a try,
There were already two goalies on her team so she never thought she would be able to get the chance. Until one of the goalies on her team ended up switching teams creating an opening for Jenika to fill. Ever since then, she’s been a goalie.
Goaltending came naturally to Jenika, but after working with a goalie coach and watching other goalies she started to really understand and excel at the position. The satisfaction of making a big save and the feeling of being in the zone is what really drew her to being a goalie.
Cuocco was a highly sought-after goalie when the September 1st deadline hit for her recruiting year. The Rocky Point High School Female Athlete of the Year and All-County honorable mention received quite a few offers from different schools. Her mom was insistent on Jenika visiting every school that provided her with an offer. This was a real benefit because Jenika really got to learn and understand what she was really looking for in a school.
So, when it came time to visit Drexel, she instantly knew it was the school for her.
Jenika redshirted her first year at Drexel, she talked about how beneficial the experience of getting to sit and learn behind 5th-year grad student Zoe Bennett was to her development as a goalie heading into her sophomore season.
Now Jenika has her sights set on 2024 where she’s looking to build off her amazing 2023 season.
I hope you enjoy this podcast episode with Jenika where we discuss topics like life handling pressure, being a quiet leader, and lessons learned from redshirting.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.
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