There has never been a question if
can score. She can light up the scoreboard.
But after the star Spencerport (N.Y.)
lacrosse player notched 38 goals as a seventh-grader and 70 the next season, she changed her offensive approach.
Why fix something that's not broken? Coykendall realized how important it was to get her teammates involved in the scoring column.
She amassed more assists (69) than goals (71) as a freshman and had 56 points in each category the following year. Coykendall expanded her game and made her teammates — her equals — lethal at the same time.
"Her assists are what separate her from all the other attackers that I've seen," Spencerport lacrosse coach Tricia Condon said. "She finds ways to find teammates behind the back. We always joke, if Erin passes it to you, there's no way you can't catch it because it's going right to your stick and you're wide open."
The Northwestern University verbal commit is intelligent beyond her years.
"I think it's huge to have a lot of different threats on the team," Coykendall said. "I think it builds team dynamic when it's not just one person and it also makes it a lot harder for other teams to scout us and prepare for us if we have like four or five girls scoring multiple goals a game."
Coykendall isn't just a player when she's out on the field, she directs traffic and dictates the tempo of the game.
"She's like an assistant coach to be honest," Condon said. "She knows the game so well and she's found a way to kind of teach as she's playing trying to get girls to see the puzzle and what's the best way to win."
Coykendall, now a junior, has been engrossed in lacrosse ever since first picking up a stick as a kindergartner. The Spencerport community didn't offer girls lacrosse early in Coykendall's career, so she competed against the boys. That was a huge boost in developing her extraordinary stick-handling skills and made her a more physical player.
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In fourth grade, Coykendall got on a club team with the girls — to no one's surprise, she excelled. By seventh grade, Condon's first year as varsity head coach, Coykendall was brought up to varsity.
"Everyone was shocked at first and kind of like, ‘Well, how are you going to bring up a seventh-grader?'" Condon said. "But that first game everyone's questions were confirmed, I guess you could say."
Starting as a seventh-grader was an eye-opening experience for Coykendall.
"At that point it was different because I was playing with girls who were five years older than me, but I definitely think that starting every game since seventh grade has helped me a lot as a leader," Coykendall said. "I've grown over the years to become like a better leader and more composed on the field."
Coykendall tallied 38 goals and 25 assists that first season. Her best season came as a freshman, racking up 140 points in a mere 19 games.
For her career, Coykendall has 467 career points (252 goals, 215 assists) in just 75 games. She also has 343 career draw controls, 80 last season, to lead her team.
She has a knack for scoring, something she developed at a young age.
"I think she can see things before they happen," Condon said. "She watches a lot of lacrosse and I think it's such a large passion for her. She enjoys watching the game played at the highest level. She can analyze the game and break it down and pick out weaknesses in the defense and put herself in positions where she knows she's going to be successful or her teammates are going to be."
Coykendall, who is in her second year as a captain, is dominant on the field despite garnering all the attention every game from the opponents. Teams regularly face-guard Coykendall, and that's when she really utilizes her teammates.
In an early season game this year, Coykendall was face-guarded all game but ended up with one goal and six assists.
"You can't stop someone who's willing to work hard for the people around her," Condon said. "She's selfless on the field and she doesn't care if her name is in the paper. She just wants to win the game."
Coykendall is making it a point this season to get Spencerport to the state tournament. Two years ago, the team made it to the sectional finals and last year was tripped up in the second round.
Spencerport is off to 6-0 start as Coykendall has 19 goals, 22 assists and 50 draw controls.
Playing on the club team Common Goal has also helped Coykendall's all-around game.
"There's so many teams that we play against that have so many players committed to top schools, so I think that playing against the girls that I'll see in college gives me a good idea what it's going to be like," Coykendall said. "I think it just helps me be a better player."
Coykendall isn't just a dynamic scorer in lacrosse, but also in soccer. She's a three-year starter and has tallied 59 goals and 25 assists in her career.
She helped lead Spencerport to back-to-back Class A state championships as a sophomore and junior. In the title game in 2016, Spencerport scored a 2-1 upset victory as Coykendall notched both goals.
Coykendall, who will pick up her 11th varsity letter this spring, finds a lot of similarities between soccer and lacrosse.
"Because I'm a forward, I work a lot on finishing and finesse in small spaces, so I think that helps me a little bit," said Coykendall, who has also been on her high school's bowling team the past two years.
Coykendall started to get recruited by colleges early in her varsity lacrosse career. By the time she was a freshman, she had already decided seven-time national champion Northwestern was her choice.
"They had such a legacy and had won so many national championships," Coykendall said. "It's such a great school academically, so I think that that a big part in it, too."
Northwestern is an excellent fit for Coykendall, who holds a 4.0 unweighted grade point average.
Coykendall knows the importance of succeeding in the classroom.
"Being involved in so much in high school plus like school and sports, it gives me a starting point what it's going to be like in college," Coykendall said. "Playing a Division I sport, but also having one of the highest academic institutions in the country and having to balance everything is going to help me in college."
In school, Coykendall is a member of National Honor Society and the CHOICES Program. Through that program, she takes part in leadership around the school and volunteer opportunities in the community.
Coykendall is also a volunteer assistant coach for youth lacrosse and soccer teams in her town. She finds time in her busy schedule to attend practices twice a week and teach the younger generation of athletes.
"I know a lot of them through personal connections, but to be able to help them and I think that they like having a new face there besides just their coach, so I think that helps, too," Coykendall said.
Another big part of Coykendall's life is rescuing animals, mainly cats and dogs. Ever since she was little, Coykendall has assisted her mom.
"We'll get in litters of cats or dogs and take in pregnant dogs or pregnant cats," Coykendall said. "We've had a lot of foster animals in my house and I've also rescued some of my own. I have three dogs that are rescues and four cats that we ended up adopting through fostering."
Coykendall is all about getting an assist, whether it's on the field in athletics or saving animals in her spare time.Know an incredible student-athlete who stands out in sports and in life away from competition? Click here to nominate them for a chance to be featured on MaxPreps.