Lauren Terracciano of UMass scores one for her family
University of Massachusetts women's lacrosse senior Lauren Terracciano, far right, stands with her sister Elise, left, mom Mary Ellen, sister Casey and father Anthony Sunday on senior day at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst. Lauren Terracciano held a fundraiser for Casey, who lost her husband suddenly in February. Lauren presented her sister Casey and her two sons, Carter, left, and Colton, with a check on Sunday. Purchase photo reprints »
University of Massachusetts women's lacrosse senior Lauren Terracciano, front, approaches her sister Casey, second from right, on senior day Sunday at McGuirk Stadium. Lauren Terracciano held a fundraiser for Casey, who lost her husband suddenly in February. She presented her sister and her two sons, Carter, left, and Colton, with a check on Sunday.
Terracciano's sister, Elise, left, mom Mary Ellen, and father Anthony look on. Purchase photo reprints »
AMHERST - Casey Quinn didn’t think she could root any harder for Lauren Terracciano, her younger sister, on the lacrosse field. But after last weekend, it might be possible.
Quinn was on the field at McGuirk Stadium Sunday when the University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team honored Terracciano on senior day. Quinn, who was there with her sons, Carter, four-months-old, and Colton, 20-months, thought she was just there to support her sister, like the other seniors’ families on the field.
But Terracciano, who’d successfully kept a difficult secret for the past two months, knew otherwise when she took the microphone.
On Feb. 4, Max Quinn, Casey’s 34-year-old husband, died suddenly of complications resulting from a heart arrhythmia.
The loss hit Terracciano hard. Beyond the familial bonds, Terracciano and Max Quinn were closer than most in-laws, partially because of their mutual love of lacrosse.
Quinn was a standout defenseman at Division III Babson, where he earned the nickname “Pain” for the frequency that he laid punishing hits on opposing players. With his own career behind him, Pain channelled his lacrosse passion into rooting for Lauren, who’d been a solid player throughout her UMass career and emerged as one of the team’s go-to players on attack last year.
“Max was Lauren’s biggest fan. He loved watching her,” Casey Quinn said. “He absolutely loved it. He was probably the loudest person cheering from the sidelines. When we’d watch the games online, he’d literally be screaming at the computer screen. He got very into it.”
In UMass’ first game after he died, Terracciano’s best friend and fellow co-captain Sarah Mullen wrote “Pain 20” — Max’s nickname and jersey number — on everyone’s leg before they took the field for the season-opener against Northwestern in Los Angeles.
As the season progressed the message moved from their legs to their wrists as they each wore Livestrong-style black wrist bands that read “PAIN 20” on one side and “NEVER FORGET MFQ” on the other.
But Terracciano thought about her young nephews growing up without their father and wanted to do more.
Using the website GoFundme.com, she created a fund to raise money for Casey, Colton and Carter and called it “Cash for Quinn.” She set a fundraising goal of $8,000 but wasn’t sure if the actual donations would even approach that total.
“I was so nervous when we began. I didn’t think we were going to raise anything. It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I’m never going to be able to thank those people enough.”
The money arrived slowly at first and then more regularly, coming from former and current teammates as well as alumni of the men’s program and other UMass supporters. The donations were as small as $10 to as big as $1,000.
“I can’t even explain the amount of gratitude I have for the people that donated,” Terracciano said.
Terracciano worked to keep the effort a secret from her mother, Mary Ellen, and sister wanting to surprise them with a check on the field at senior day. Terracciano would sometimes picture what the look on Casey’s face might be, how she’d react when she found out.
As Sunday approached, Terracciano approached UMass coach Angela McMahon, unsure of what she might say.
“Coach said speak from your heart,” Terracciano said. “No matter what you say it’s going to mean so much to her.”
With her father Anthony, mother, and sister Elise also on hand, Terracciano took the microphone, thanked her teammates and then turned to Casey, her voice wavering a bit. By the time Terracciano got the words out to tell her that they’d raised over $8,000, both sisters were crying.
“I had no idea. I was so surprised,” Casey Quinn said. “It was very overwhelming, very generous. She’s just an inspiration in many ways. She’s such a wonderful young woman. The fact that she took time out of her senior day ceremony, she and the other seniors, to honor Max and my family is so amazing and kind and humbling.
“They’re an amazing group of young women. If at this point in their lives, they’re taking time to think about others, they’re going to go very far in their lives,” Quinn continued. “I was in college once. I know how much a dollar means. Just the fact they chose to give to someone else is amazing. I have so much appreciation for the coaches, the players and their families for what kind of people they are. It’s so nice for people to think of my family and my situation when they have their own lives and things going on. It’s really sweet.”
Terracciano said it’s the best thing she’s ever been part of.
“We have a great group of girls on and off the field. They were more than happy to help me and my family in any way that they could,” she said. “It was the best thing I ever did because I got many people other than myself to look at the big picture, to put things into perspective. College students, especially student athletes, tend to get caught up in their sports and don’t really take a step back to look at the reality of things.”
Casey Quinn won’t be able to make it back to Amherst for this weekend’s Atlantic 10 tournament, but she’ll be watching on her computer with her new “Pain 20” bracelet rooting perhaps harder than she ever has before.
“I don’t know if I could ever root harder than I always have,” Quinn said. “I’m a huge fan of these girls, but this brings it to another level.”
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.