Kaitlyn Larsson just completed her freshman season at Loyola University (MD). Kaitlyn came up big in key games for Loyola, including a one-goal win in triple OT over cross-town rival Towson in March. Her performance earned her the IL Women National Rookie of the Week honor.
Kaitlyn is from Garden City, NY, where she was a seven-time varsity letterwinner, receiving three in both soccer and lacrosse and one in basketball, at Garden City High School. After her senior season, Kaitlyn earned All-America and All-County honors, along with Most Valuable Player of the New York State Tournament. She led Garden City to the 2016 and 2017 New York State Class B Championships and the Founders Cup, while also helping her soccer team to the New York Class A State semifinals in 2017.
1. How long have you been playing goalie/lacrosse?
I have been playing lacrosse for 7 years, starting in 7th grade.
2. What drew you to the position?
I was a goalie in soccer and all of my friends played lacrosse, so they got me to try it out.
3. What’s your favorite part about playing the position now?
Being able to change the momentum of a game by making a save and shutting down the other team.
4. What’s the hardest part about the position for you? How do you try to manage or handle that aspect?
The hardest part about being a lacrosse goalie is the mental side. Being able to shake off a goal when your scored on helps me manage focusing on saving the next one.
5. In close games how do you stay focused?
I focus on the ball when the opposing offense has it and when the ball is at the other end of the field I stay on my toes and walk up and back 10 yards. Also after each goal my team scores I run up to the midfield to hit stick with my defenders; which keeps my moving.
6. When things start going south in game, like consecutive goals without a save, how do you rebound and stay confident?
When goals are going in, you just have to stay positive and know that the ball went through every other player on my field including seven other defenders. To keep confidence high, I try to picture myself making saves, and think of times where I have played my best games which helps me remember all that I am capable of.
7. Can you discuss any challenges you faced and how you overcame them? (I.e. lack playing time, injury, time management, etc)
In my town, I stared playing lacrosse years behind my teammates. This being said the starting lineup was always set, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Specifically, in high school I didn’t get the chance to start until my senior year. Leading up to that year my coaches and teammates saw the hours of work I put in to play my best for that upcoming year. They nominated me captain before my season and I was given the All-American title at the end of the year.
8. What’s the best part about playing in college? Favorite college lacrosse memory?
The best part of playing in college is having set friends that you get to spend every day with playing the sport we love. Something that’s very special to me is that we have become sisters to one another and always have each other’s backs on and off the field.
9. How do you motivate yourself to stay in shape in the off season?
I love spending time going to the gym and going for runs. I know when I am in my best shape, I am playing my best. That alone gives me the motivation every day to workout in my off season.
10.If you had to do the recruiting process over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not in your choice of school, but things you considered highly then but might not necessarily now? What were the things that were most important to you to look for in a school during your process?
When going through the recruiting process, especially at such a young age I would advise finding a school that you love and would go to even if you didn’t play lacrosse. Also, if you are not sure what you want to major in, which is very common, make sure the school you’re interested in has a wide range of options, so you’re not stuck with a major you don’t love. When thinking about what school is right for you, many people should consider, distance, price, school size, class size, academic range, the state your school is in which could have weather extremes, and a campus that fits you. When I was recruited by Loyola, I loved everything about the school from the campus, distance, class size, the stadium, and my coaches were amazing.
11.If you had a challenging high school experience has it affected your college game?
I would say not having the opportunity to get the time I wanted on the field. I was a backup the majority of my high school career, and in college you will have a goalie that is ahead of you, so you just have to be patient, keep working hard, you will eventually get your time to shine.
12.Do you have a favorite drill or one that has helped you the most in goal?
I love doing ladders and jumping rope on my own, it speeds up your footwork like crazy which is a huge advantage as a goalie. Another thing many goalies do on their own is learn how to juggle, this helps improve hand eye coordination. My favorite drill is when someone shoots tennis balls at me while I use a shaft punching my hands to the ball to make the save.
13.Where do you think you have grown the most in your game from high school to college and how did you do it? Did you have an individual goalie coach to help?
I went to goalie trainings called Breakout which provided me with lots of shots and constantly working on fundamentals and upper level training. Also playing for my club lacrosse team, Long Island Liberty Lacrosse helped me get most of my game experience.
14.Something you could tell yourself now when you were first learning the position?
It is impossible to save every shot, so don’t get discouraged stay positive! Also, every shot off the body and any bruise is worth every save!
I always listen to music to get myself pumped up for games.
16.What makes you weird? (Or just a fun fact)
I have 4 sisters and I am a triplet.
17.Anything else you think young goalies would find helpful or interested in knowing?
You don’t need to only focus on lacrosse, keep playing other sports, being a well-rounded athlete is very beneficial.