WESTFIELD, NJ — A Westfield High School senior described by her coach as a fearless lacrosse defender recently signed to play the game at a Division 3 school.

Chloe Pappalardo, 17, is staying in shape with the hopes of having a spring lacrosse season, which would be her last before graduating at Westfield and going on to play at Susquehanna University. Pappalardo is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.

“She is a fearless defender with high lacrosse IQ and solid footwork/approach,” said Abby Cohn, the girls’ head varsity lacrosse coach at Westfield High School. “She is a positive teammate, who is a team player and is a threat to our opponents on the defensive end as she has great size and always plays with determination and grit.”

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Pappalardo’s acumen on the field comes from years of playing the game.

“I started playing when I was in second grade,” Pappalardo said. “My older sister got into it before me, so I kind of followed in her footsteps.”

Pappalardo is among 13 Westfield High School seniors who signed letters of intent earlier this month to play with colleges and universities. She wants to keep up her game for when she hits the collegiate level, but she also realizes that due to COVID-19, the possibility of school athletics being delayed or canceled is real.

“Especially since I’m playing next year, I want to stay in shape in case I don’t have a Westfield season,” Pappalardo said. “It’s so important so I can be the best I can be.”

To accomplish this, Pappalardo said, she has been working out at home and going for runs. Playing for the Lady Blue Devils through the years has been about more than just the sport, however.

“We’ve all been playing together probably since third or second grade,” Pappalardo said. “And a lot of the girls on the team I hang out with on the weekends.”

Having that bond with her teammates motivates her to perform better, said Pappalardo, who also plays club lacrosse with Center Court Lacrosse in Morristown.

She credits her coaches both at Westfield High School and Center Court for her success and looks forward to working with Randall Swope, the women’s lacrosse coach at Susquehanna University.

“I’m super excited,” Pappalardo said. “The coach is literally one of the nicest coaches I have ever met.”