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Interlake's Sullivan hoping to take Bellevue East lacrosse to new heights | Prep sports feature
Before the 2014 season even began, Camille Sullivan had a plan for her Bellevue East girls lacrosse team.
After winning the Division II championship during the 2011 season, BELAX missed out on a playoff berth last year in Division I. That left Sullivan, an Interlake High School senior and Princeton commit, determined to provide a more fitting ending in her final prep campaign.
"Ever since last season ended, I knew we needed to work hard and get into the playoffs," she said. "I think we have the chance to do something great here."
That belief, according to head coach Craig Van Der Horn, has transferred to the rest of the team as well.
During a recent game against perennial power Lake Sammamish, with her team in need of an emotion lift, it was Sullivan delivering the inspirational message. Even though that match ended in a loss, Van Der Horn said the way his team responded in the face of a deficit was evidence of an evolving mindset.
"That type of tenacity is great for the other players to see, and they feed off of it," Van Der Horn said. "They are catching up to the intensity."
Georgia Phillips, a Sammamish High School sophomore and fellow midfielder with Sullivan, said the lessons on the field have been plentiful.
"She's always really intense in whatever she does," Phillips said of Sullivan. "She's always going 100 percent and she really motivates people."
Sullivan said that wasn't always the case, but has been a vital aspect of both her growth as a player and the cohesion of a BELAX team that draws players from three high schools.
"It is definitely an aspect that is difficult for our program," she said. "I love every single girl out here, and I know she is giving 100 percent."
While Sullivan's work on the field has helped BELAX to a state championship and gained her recognition as one of the top players in the region, it is her dedication in the classroom that helped land her in the Ivy League with the Tigers.
Sullivan said the intensely competitive nature of Princeton, both in lacrosse and her studies, is a challenge she looks forward to meeting head-on.
"I'm really excited for the chance to be in that competitive environment," she said. "I'm excited to see where that takes me."
Bellevue East began the season with three straight wins, before dropping games to Lake Sammamish, Eastside Catholic and Issaquah. Those three stand as the top three teams in the division, and BELAX players and coaches know they will have to find a way to beat top competition to realize their own postseason dreams.
Bellevue East faces Stadium in Tacoma at 7:30 p.m. April 16 after returning from spring break, and then meets Garfield and Bainbridge Island before finishing Snoqualmie Conference play against Bellevue and Overlake.
While a playoff berth would be a fitting end for the program's most notable player, Sullivan said it would mean more to build the profile of a program hoping to establish itself as a power in the coming seasons.
"It would mean Bellevue East is a program that is a force to be reckoned with," she said, adding she is aware the program is not currently seen by opponents as a true title threat. "I would really like to change that, and I think we have a chance to do something great here."