Jun. 4—One year ago, with her junior lacrosse season erased by the COVID-19 pandemic, Methuen’s Mir Morales found focus in the sport that she loves.
If she couldn’t take the field with her teammates, she would center her energy and frustrations on growing her skills, and becoming the best player possible for her final high school campaign.
“Instead of sitting around doing nothing, I worked on my game,” said Morales. “I would go to the Tenney School and play wall ball, alone or with friends when I could. I would go to the field and shoot around and work on new skills. And I watched a lot of videos on how to improve stick skills and speed.”
That work has paid off in a big way this season.
Back on the field with Methuen this spring, Morales has been a standout two-way midfielder for a Rangers squad that has a 5-6 record, 5-2 against MVC Division 2 opponents.
Morales had scored a career-high 19 goals through Thursday, and had been held off the score sheet in just one game. She scored a season-best five goals in a win over Dracut and against Lowell, and added three goals in a victory over Haverhill. That’s all while turning in key plays on the defense end.
“Mir brings a love and passion for the sport,” said Methuen head coach Krystal DePaolo. “She’s one of the hardest workers on the team. She’ll stay after practices to work on different skills. Her leadership and energy the team feels and gets everyone going.”
It was one of her current Ranger teammates, her best friend Siobhan Howell, that talked Morales into trying lacrosse.
“I started playing in the sixth grade,” she said. “But lacrosse did not click at all for me at first. It was really hard for me to figure out how to cradle the stick, and then add a ball and cradle. I was lost and confused! It took me some time to learn how to play the sport. Thanks to the coaches and everyone who put the time to help me, I learned how to play.”
As a freshman, Morales earned a starting midfielder job for the Methuen varsity team.
“As a freshman, I was so scared and nervous,” she said. “But all of the other older girls were nice and kind. I always felt like I could play at the varsity level, but it was this year when I truly felt like I belonged. I have been able to show how much I have improved as a player throughout the years.”
After scoring four goals as a freshman and six goals as a sophomore, Morales opened this season with five goals in her first three games.
“Scoring a big goal is fantastic rush,” she said. “Seeing the ball go into the back of the net, and hearing the referees blow the whistle is exciting. The fans cheering in the stands and your teammates surrounding you cheering is incredible.
“But my greatest strength is my ability to motivate my teammates. When we step off that field, I want every player to ask themselves, ‘Did I give it my all?’ if they are satisfied with the effort.”
Morales is still working on her final college decision, but hopes to continue her lacrosse career. But first, she wants to finish her Rangers’ career strong.
“We would love to win the MVC (Division 2) title and add to the girls lacrosse banner that hangs in the gym,” she said. “We also want to make it to states and go far as a team.”
Methuen lacrosse tri-captain Mirelys “Mir” Morales — who goes by the nickname because friends struggled to say her full name — is a passionate multi-sport athlete.
Morales was also a captain in basketball. She won the team’s “Coaches Award,” and then-coach Hilary Glynn said “She leaves her heart and soul on the court.”
In the fall, Morales won “Most Improved Player” for the field hockey team. She added a fourth sport when she tried track during Fall 2.