When Alyssa Pigott arrived at the Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall of 2006, she might have had a decent idea of what the next stages of her life would look like. She’d play on the lacrosse team at Stevens for four years, maybe pick up some accolades along the way, and leave with a degree in biomedical engineering.
If everything had gone according to plan, that might have been what happened. Instead she fell in love, became a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, and went on to open a chiropractic care office on Main Street in Robbinsville. Ten years after her first semester at Stevens, Alyssa went back to be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame Sept. 30, and she brought with her a life (and name) different from the one she led a decade ago.
The road that led Alyssa Decker to her husband David is an improbable one. In 2006, David wasn’t even supposed to be in the same state as his now-wife.
“I was going to Hofstra on a full ride,” David said. “I was probably one of the best goalies in the country.”
David was set to be the next goalie of Hofstra lacrosse, a Division I team who had just reached the NCAA quarterfinals the previous season. But after an injury to his lower back while weightlifting, he couldn’t keep up with the team and quit. He transferred to Stevens to focus on academics, and didn’t plan on playing lacrosse until a chiropractor helped him get healthy enough to get back into the game. Once he had made his way onto the lacrosse team at Stevens, he met Alyssa and the two started dating.
Alyssa and David weren’t your average lacrosse players on campus; they were the stars. In their time at Stevens, both would be three-time All-Americans. David set the school record for goals allowed average and was an NCAA Student Athlete All-American. Alyssa was the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year and two-time Conference Player of the Year. They were a power couple.
“I guess you could say that, yeah,” Alyssa said. “I don’t think anyone used those words, but yeah.”
“She ran that team by herself,” David said. “She scored all the goals. She led the team in assists…She was a monster and could score and put any assist anywhere she wanted to.”
David and Alyssa had two of the most successful careers in Stevens lacrosse history, and did it all while earning degrees in technology management and biomedical engineering, respectively. But as the two got closer to graduating, they took interest in the chiropractic care which had given David a second chance in the sport.
“He got me into chiropractic care when I met him,” Alyssa said. “That’s kind of where our chiropractic journey started.”
The two became more interested in the field as time went on, and eventually decided to take a chance and pursue careers as chiropractors.
“It’s not a common thing for Stevens graduates to go to chiropractic school,” David said. “Most people who go into chiropractic care you wouldn’t find at a high-level institution like Stevens Tech.”
But instead of taking the normal route of a Stevens graduate, the Deckers went through three and a half more years of schooling so they could open their own chiropractic center. As it turns out, Alyssa and David in the office aren’t all that different from Alyssa and David on the field.
“You have to have incredible hands when you’re moving with the stick, and as a chiropractor, it’s a skill with your hands,” David said. “The biggest thing that got me interested in chiropractic care is that I was a college lacrosse player. I love using my hands, and I see these chiropractors adjusting people’s necks with their hands, and I’m like, ‘I’ll do that.’”
Alyssa was an attacker in lacrosse, while David played goalie (he says Alyssa could easily score on him, by the way). They worked different parts of the field, and do the same in their practice now. Each is better than the other at some things, and the two work off each other. If David is working with someone he thinks would be better suited with Alyssa, he’ll hand the patient off to her. As long as it helps the team, they don’t care who scores and who gets the assist.
“I think that speaks volumes as to why our clinic is really successful,” David said. “It’s a whole different chiropractic experience because of our background. We’re not your typical chiropractors.”
The power couple that ruled Stevens lacrosse in the late 2000’s hasn’t gone anywhere; they’ve just settled down. In November, they will celebrate one year in their Robbinsville office, and their son Max will turn two years old. David is still involved with the game; he works with the community’s youth lacrosse teams as a coach.
As they start this new chapter, Alyssa was given the perfect ending to the old one when she found out she’d be inducted into the Stevens Institute of Technology Hall of Fame. Alyssa is second in Stevens history in goals scored, third in assists and second in points. She goes into the school’s Hall of Fame with the program record for shots on goal. If there was ever a shoo-in Hall of Famer, it is her.
“It commemorates all of the great memories I have playing with all the different girls that shaped who I am today,” Alyssa said before the event. “I couldn’t have played as well as I did without them… It commemorates the whole time that I had there, and I’m just really excited to go back.”