The Londonderry High School sports family was dealt a stunning blow early last week when it learned that former Lady Lancer multi-sport standout Noelle Lambert and one of her University of Massachusetts-Lowell lacrosse teammates were severely injured in a vehicle accident on Martha’s Vineyard.
Lambert – who excelled in basketball, soccer, and lacrosse during her four years at LHS and had moved on to a fine lax career at UMass-Lowell after graduating from Londonderry High in 2015 – was driving a moped on the Massachusetts island shortly after noon on Saturday, July 30 with U-Lowell lax teammate Kelly Moran on board when she accidentally drifted onto the right shoulder of the road. Lambert tried to get back on the road, and in attempting that correction she made contact with the front left side of a dump truck traveling in the opposite direction that had nearly come to a complete stop.
It’s believed that if the moped had hit the dump truck straight on, the accident would have been fatal, but both young women were still severely hurt and Lambert ended up having to have the segment of her left leg below the knee amputated after she was med-flighted to Boston Medical Center.
Moran, a Newfields resident who starred in lacrosse at Exeter High School, underwent surgery at a hospital on Martha’s Vineyard and was later flown to a Boston hospital.
Both young women – who are slated to be sophomores in college this fall – are expected to recover from their injuries, and both have vowed to return to playing their sport at UMass-Lowell.
The accident was followed by an outpouring of support for Lambert through social media, and she had many visitors in her Boston Medical Center room, including nearly her entire college lacrosse team and her former LHS lacrosse coach Bob Slater, before she was transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Mass., on Aug. 4.
“Noelle is doing remarkably well for what she has been through,” said Lambert’s mom, Judy. “She is entertaining all the friends and family that have been visiting, which is no surprise. She is already talking about going back to school and playing lacrosse again.”
Lambert was known during her athletic career at Londonderry High as a fiery, intense, in-your-face competitor who would always do her all to get a positive outcome for her team. And it’s that indomitable spirit and attitude that her former coaches and current and former teammates expect to serve her well as she attempts to overcome the challenge of being an amputee intent upon continuing to play a collegiate sport.
“She’s one of only one or two kids I could name who I think might be able to overcome something like this and play again,” said Slater, who visited her Aug. 4.
Longtime Londonderry High varsity girls’ soccer coach Derek Dane – for whom Lambert played three seasons – concurred with Slater’s thoughts about his former athlete’s challenging recovery.
“I was shocked and saddened when I got the call last weekend that she had lost her leg,” said Dane. “After thinking about it for a while, I decided that if she maintains the upbeat attitude and work ethic that have brought her so much athletic success, she’ll be fine. I chatted with her during the week, and her mindset is correct. She’s prepared for the battle. If anyone can recover from this, she can. I expect to see her on a field, playing lacrosse, in the fall of 2017.”
Lambert played key roles on consecutive state championship basketball squads for LHS coaches John Fagula and Nick Theos during the winters of 2014 and 2015. She began her collegiate women’s lacrosse career at UMass-Lowell in a newly established women’s lacrosse program during the 2015-16 school year and was a standout on that contingent.