Sue Sofarnos, one of the most decorated figures in Australian women’s lacrosse history, died suddenly Saturday. She was 59. While the cause of her death has not been made public, an Australian Lacrosse Association official reported that Sofarnos had just returned from an ocean swim that morning.
Sofarnos played on five World Cup teams. She made the All-World team in 1982, won a gold medal in 1986 and was a three-time Australian team captain in 1989, 1993 and 1997. Sofarnos stayed on as a coach, serving as an assistant on the world champion 2005 team and leading Australia to a silver medal as the head coach in 2009. She was the general manager of the 2021 team set to compete in the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship next summer in Towson, Md.
Earlier this year, Sofarnos, who also played and coached for Lacrosse Victoria and the Newport Ladies Lacrosse Club during her nearly lifelong involvement with the sport, earned the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
“Sue’s contribution to the Australian women’s teams over many years was instilling internal trust and self-belief and of each other,” the Australian Lacrosse Association reported Monday. “Her leadership and support of everyone was part of what she was and her care factor to those around her was unsurpassed. Sue’s passion, dedication and commitment to her teammates was unapparelled. Her work ethics and pursuit of ‘an edge’ was always on show. Sue was always leading by example, proving support and encouragement to be the best you could be, every single day.”
Sofarnos is survived by her husband, John; her daughters, Hayley and Jessica; and her son-in-law, Chris.