Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year Lindsey Devir Always Strives for More
Devir will next try out for the U.S. women's U20 national team.
For a competitive player like Lindsey Devir, the endings of her first three seasons at Ridgewood (N.J.) were especially heartbreaking.
She didn’t even get a game in before COVID-19 eliminated the 2020 season and any chance she had to play.
She debuted with 78 points as a sophomore, but the season ended in a 10-8 upset loss to Westfield (N.J.) in the sectional final despite her five goals.
Last year, it got even more painful, as her numbers went up but the Maroons lost again in the sectional final, this time in overtime to Morristown (N.J.). Devir had six goals but sat the final 13 minutes of regulation and overtime after receiving her second yellow card with Ridgewood leading by a goal. That set up all the motivation she and the Maroons needed for this year.
“I think I spent all summer, all winter and all fall training for this season,” Devir said. “I wanted to go out on a win; I wanted to go out on a state championship. It’s something I’ve been working for my whole high school career, and I knew I had one last shot at it, and it was going to be against the same team and I didn’t want the same result.”
Devir scored six goals and had three draw controls and three ground balls as Ridgewood avenged its loss to Morristown from a year ago with a 12-6 win for the sectional crown. She followed with seven goals and an assist in an 18-13 win over Kingsway (N.J.) to help the Maroons win the Group IV state championship, their first state title since 2019.
Devir ended the year with 117 goals, 14 assists, 58 draw controls, 27 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers as Ridgewood went 20-2. She graduates as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 297 goals and 42 assists despite playing just three years and will continue her career at Stanford. Devir is the USA Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic Girls’ Player of the Year.
“I think Lindsey is going to be great at the next level,” Ridgewood coach Jim Montegari said. “Her drive and love of the game are what motivates her. She’s going to continue to work until she gets where she wants to be. She’s not going to stop until she gets there.”
From a young age, Devir enjoyed pushing herself. She is the fourth of five Devir children, and the third who will be actively playing in college next year. Her older sister, Kait, was starting goalie for USC this spring and will be a senior next year. Devir grew up shooting against her. Older brother Connor is going to be a sophomore playing for Connecticut College. Another sister is the oldest while a younger brother is still in high school. All played together growing up.
“Those are some of my favorite memories,” Devir said. “We would wake up and drive down to the field and play for hours all against each other. I definitely credit a lot of my success and who I am as a player to my family.”
Devir was in middle school when Montegari first saw her play, but it wasn’t until this year that he had the chance to coach her. He is the third new coach for Ridgewood in three seasons.
“I knew of her work ethic, and I knew she was good, but the first time I actually saw her play during our tryouts I was still blown away by what I saw,” Montegari said. “If Lindsey had the ball, anything could happen. If she was doubled, she would somehow figure out how to score a goal. If she was covered and someone threaded the needle, she could catch it, move it or score a goal. Throughout the season, there were times when she just shocked me.”
Devir came with skills that she worked tirelessly to hone. Montegari was looking for Devir before the team’s first scrimmage this year. She was playing wall ball.
“That’s why Lindsey is as good as she is — she’s always working at her game,” Montegari said. “She also has a lot of fun at practice. When we weren’t doing a drill or something, Lindsey was always joking around with the younger players. She made the atmosphere more relaxed, which is unique for someone of her caliber and intensity level when the ball is in play.”
Devir has proven that she can play at the highest level. The competitive atmosphere of her STEPS Club teammates inspired her as she rose through the ranks. Then she was the only player from New Jersey picked for last year’s USA Select Women’s U18 team. She has been invited to compete for a U20 spot this summer.
“Usually, it takes several sessions to get an idea who might be making that roster, who might make the team,” said Stanford coach Danielle Spencer, who was an evaluator at last year’s USA Select tryouts. “She had a phenomenal tryout, and I remember being in that room and all the coaches went around very early on, and I forget what her number was, but early on she was added to that roster. She showed up and was great right out of the gates as a two-way midfielder.”
While her goal scoring stands out statistically, Devir enjoys the chance to play all over the field. The multi-faceted role is what drew her to playing midfield.
“I’ve actually always loved playing both ways,” Devir said. “I think there’s something so exhilarating about getting a turnover or helping your goalie get a stop. For me, that’s always been a big part of my game. I love playing defense. I love those competitive ground balls. I think that makes going on offense and scoring a goal that much more special because you had to work for it on the other end.”
Ridgewood valued the contributions that Devir brought to the team each game. She was on the draw circle or even taking the draw and played defense, but she made the biggest splash as a potent scorer. Her two lowest-scoring games — two goals apiece against Westwood (N.J.) and Passaic Tech (N.J.) — came in games that the Maroons won by a combined 38-6 score.
“She came up big in big games,” Montegari said. “When we played IHA, she had eight goals and we won 10-3. We needed those eight goals. There was another game when we beat Oak Knoll when they were No. 1 in the state and Lindsey had 10 points; she had nine goals and an assist. Lindsey’s power and intensity set the tone in that game. She did carry us sometimes.”
Devir had seven goals in a 13-12 win over Mendham (N.J.). She scored five times and had four draw controls in a 13-12 win over Northern Highlands (N.J.) for Ridgewood’s 18th straight Bergen County tournament title. Her four goals led the team in an 8-7 win over perennially strong Moorestown (N.J.). They were big moments, and she raised her level of play for a team that replaced seven starters — mostly with freshmen and sophomores — and went on to the state title after losing the first game of the season.
“It did feel quite a bit different,” Devir said. “I just felt like I had one last shot at my high school career. I truly tried to give it everything I had. I’ve had an amazing three years with the team I’ve been on and the people on the team, but this year was truly special. I feel like the people bonded well, and we did stuff in and out of practice and we had such a great connection with a lot of the girls.”
Devir has fun challenging herself in different parts of her game and in different environments. She worked at being calmer under pressure this year. This year, she pushed further the limits of her stick skills, working to fine tune more creative shot making and when to take the right risks to become more dynamic. She will continue to work to showcase new ways to score while still defending vigorously when she heads to U20 tryouts.
“You’re competing among the best,” Devir said. “It really opens your eyes to what’s out there across the country. And I think getting to be around that makes you better, it makes you want to play better and become better. I honestly think that’s one of the things that’s grown me the most as a player. It makes me want to do the best of my ability and makes me want to work harder and put more into lacrosse and go into those events and play with those players and be at the best of my abilities because you’re playing with the best, and it is such an honor to be able represent your country.”
This fall, she will turn her focus to competing in college. She will suit up for Stanford, which means she could be shooting for the first time in an actual game against her sister Kait when the Cardinal plays USC. It’s one game that she is looking forward to as well as the challenges of faster, stronger, more skilled players.
Devir could fit right in after ending her high school career on a high note.
“I certainly think she can be really successful at this next level,” Spencer said. “I think it’s a matter of getting her here and finding out what her aspirations are, working with her to try to help her achieve what she wants to achieve and coaching her and developing her.”