Ali Jaeger’s future is uncertain—in a good way.
The 2011 alumna and record-setting lacrosse attacker has four years of veterinary school on the horizon—she’s an animal lover, among other things. But she also has an unprecedented shot at taking her game to the next level: this summer, Jaeger entered the final round of tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
One way or another, she’ll be doing something she loves. Jaeger, who graduated in May with a degree in biology, has kept busy on and off the playing field.
Her collegiate athletic career is etched in the record books. As a senior player for the women’s lacrosse team, Jaeger set the all-time College record for goals, at 261, and became one of just two players to rack up more than 100 assists. She was named Division III Attacker of the Year for 2011, and helped lead the team to an undefeated record in the New Jersey Athletic Conference and a semifinal finish in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
But Jaeger’s performance didn’t stop at lacrosse wins. A serious drummer since eighth grade (and onetime member of Crossed Out, an all-girl group of high school lacrosse teammates), she rounded up a band of buds when Student Government held its first TCNJ’s Got Talent! show in 2010. Anyone who attended the crowded showcase likely recalls a bombastic rock-n-roll transfusion of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” courtesy of the cleverly named Ali Jaeger and the Jaegermeisters.
As she heads to the University of Pennsylvania to work toward her professional aspiration, she’s drawing on yet another passion.
“I think it was more of a natural inclination,” Jaeger said of her decision to become a veterinarian. “I’ve always loved the sciences and biology, so it was a perfect match.”
Throughout college, she interned at small animal hospitals and a refuge called The Raptor Trust, a rehabilitation center for wild birds. “Right now, I’m kind of going in with my options open,” she said, adding that she would like to open a mixed-animal practice that welcomes animals large and small.
Yet any decisions about her future will ride on the result of her lacrosse tryouts. “That’s the big test coming up…,” she said. “I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to play lacrosse with the best girls in the nation.”
Ed’s note: Since this article ran in the print edition, Jaeger informed us that she did not make the U.S. Women’s National Team. “The tryouts were very competitive, because 78 girls were trying out for 36 spots on the team,” Jaeger said. “It was also physically challenging to endure over 100-degree weather for two out of three days. Even so, I had so much fun at the tryouts—I was just happy to compete on the lacrosse field again. It was also really cool to play on the same field as many of my lacrosse idols, including Katrina Dowd and Shannon Smith. I didn’t make the team, but it was an experience of a lifetime.”