Baldwin leaves behind legacy of leadership despite canceled season

Graduating senior Lily Baldwin runs the ball up the field in the game against Bates on April 17, 2018. Alina Strileckis / The Tufts Daily Archives

Graduating senior defender Lily Baldwin has left an incredible legacy of leadership and has had a profound impact on the women’s lacrosse team’s defensive unit during her time at Tufts. Baldwin’s success as a Jumbo stemmed from her commitment to the sport and to her teammates, which has allowed her to develop as a tremendous athlete.

Baldwin was a part of the unprecedented 2019 season — which was one of the team’s most decorated seasons in nearly a decade — and the 2018 season that ended with a loss in the second round of the NCAA championship bracket.

“Lily just has this ability to walk the line between completely enjoying herself and also taking herself and what we are doing really seriously in order to accomplish her goals,” coach Courtney Shute said. “I think my favorite memory wrapped into one thing, which would just be her laugh. She has a wonderful laugh and it is so genuine and used at exactly the right time.”

By the end of Baldwin’s senior season, which was canceled almost entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she amassed 171 draw controls, started every game during her junior and senior seasons and saw play time in nearly every game over her four years. Baldwin has had a tremendous impact on the Jumbos’ defense and leads with vigor and grit.

“[Baldwin] is probably the best leader I have ever coached, part of that comes naturally and part of it is something that she puts constant time and attention into as any phenomenal leader does. To her, it is just a part of the way she lives her life,” Shute said. “She is constantly serving others, looking to do the right thing and be the best version of herself — not just for herself, but for the group. That has led her to becoming an incredible lacrosse player and her work ethic is something that you dream about as a coach.”

Baldwin was the team liaison for Team IMPACT, part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and has taken the team’s opening draw for nearly four years. Baldwin also received IWLCA All-Region honors for two consecutive years for her efforts during her sophomore and junior years, and recently received the Lewis F. Manly Memorial Prize, which is awarded yearly to a Tufts student who shows excellence in athletics and academics, preferably in economics. Baldwin will be graduating with a major in economics and a minor in finance and will be accepting a job in Chicago, Ill.

When looking at colleges as a prospective first-year, Baldwin wanted to find the perfect balance between lacrosse and other ventures — she was ultimately drawn to the team’s tenacity and focus and Tufts’ multifaceted educational experience. 

“The feeling of the program and the people in the program was something that was unmatched in other programs that I visited,” Baldwin said. “The team was super fun and silly while also having an immense drive. Tufts was just a great fit.”

Having been cut short due to COVID-19, Baldwin reflected on her senior season, slashed to just three games.

“I think it is going to be one of those moments, as it is for everyone in the world, that will be an emotional time to look back at, because there was still so much we felt that we could have accomplished that we did not get to accomplish,” Baldwin said. “I am super proud of my team for what we achieved in the first four games, but definitely super sad that we did not get to finish out the season.”

Baldwin looks forward to visiting campus in the future and cheering on the team and her senior teammates, who will use the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA is providing. 

“I think the relationships that we made with each other is something that will be more memorable than some of the moments that we have had on the field, like wins and losses,” Baldwin said. “Being on the team for four years and having about 60 best friends that I can reach out to at any point, including the coaches, is something that will have a lasting impact on me.”