Jennings signs to play LAX at Willamette

Kendyl Jennings scored six goals in a 13-9 victory over West Albany last season. Jennings will be continuing her lacrosse career at Willamette University (File).  

Kendyl Jennings didn’t grow up loving lacrosse. 

In fact, when she first started at McNary as a freshman, she was a basketball and softball player.

But in the spring of 2018, Jennings decided to go out for lacrosse instead of softball. 

“I just knew softball wasn’t for me. There were a couple girls on the lacrosse team that encouraged me to try it out and I just fell in love with the sport immediately,” Jennings said. 

It only took two years for Jennings to transform herself into an elite-level lacrosse player, and Willamette University took notice, which is why Jennings will be joining the Bearcats women’s lacrosse program next season.

“I love that the campus is close to home and it has been my absolute goal to go to Willamette and play lacrosse,” Jennings said. “The team was super fun to be around on my campus visit. I knew that this was the place where I needed to be.”

In her two seasons as a Celtic, Jennings proved to be a key scoring threat. One of her best games came in April of last year as Jennings scored six goals to give McNary the 13-9 victory over West Albany.

“She’s has kind of been our secret weapon. Kendyl isn’t the loudest player, but she is a go-getter that will do whatever it takes to help our team,” said McNary head coach Becca LaFramboise. “She takes really good care of the ball and helps us run an effective offense.”

In the spring, Jennings was looking forward to being one of the leaders on a senior-stacked McNary girls’ lacrosse squad. But after a few weeks of practice, the COVID-19 pandemic ended up cancelling their season.

“I just wanted to play the sport I love one last time with all my teammates. That’s why this has been so difficult,” Jennings said. 

Even though her senior year was cut short, Jennings still has plenty of great memories of her two seasons in the McNary program, with her favorite one coming in her sophomore season when the Celtics beat South Salem.

“It was just a really special win for our program,” Jennings said.

Jennings plans to study biology at Willamette and is hoping to make an impact on the lacrosse team in her freshman season.

“I want to compete for a starting position, but I just want to contribute in any way that I can,” Jennings said.

“I’m really excited to see her play in college. I think she may be in the background as a humble freshman, but I expect her to step up as a leader as a junior and senior and be explosive on offense,” LaFramboise added.