Kelsey just completed her senior year at Columbia, where she majored in Political Science. In her senior season, she was named as 2018 Honorable Mention All-Ivy League. Kelsey is originally from Kinsale, VA, and attended Fredricksburg Academy where she was a three-sport athlete in basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse. Now, Kelsey is preparing to attend NYU Law School this fall. Read more to learn from Kelsey and how she was able to become a better lacrosse goalie.
How long have you been playing goalie/lacrosse?
What’s your favorite part about playing the position now?
I love how unique the position is and how we have so many opportunities to make momentum changing plays. A big save or a defensive stop can turn a game that may not be going as planned around.
When things start going south in game, like consecutive goals without a save, how do you rebound and stay confident? What about when things aren’t going well defensively as a unit
I try to have a short-term memory, this is much easier said than done, but I’ve learned over time if I dwell on the consecutive goals scored during the game it can distract you from making that next save. So, by having this short-term memory and thinking about things as 0-0 I can focus on making a save without dwelling on a mistake or a goal scored in the past. When things aren’t going well as a unit I feel like that is where vocal leadership is needed, in those situations I try to lift up and encourage my teammates so that things don’t spiral.
Can you discuss any challenges you faced and how you overcame them? (I.e. lack playing time, injury, time management, etc)
Prior to my Senior year I had started and played in every game, this year was difficult because in the beginning of the season I wasn’t starting and didn’t play in some games. I think it would’ve been very easy for me to have just given up and accepted this, but I took this as extra motivation. I asked for more extra work sessions with my coaches, I would come early before practice and stay later after practice and I finally worked my way back to the starting position by midseason through hard work and determination.
What’s the best part about playing in college? Favorite college lacrosse memory?
The best part about playing in college is being a part of a group of women who are just as determined and motivated as you are about the sport. I feel like in high school sometimes you have people who don’t really care as much about the sport, so I love being a part of a team that motivates and supports each other towards a common goal. I have two favorite memories; one was when we beat Harvard this year for the first time since 2009 it was a very close game and we all put everything we had into it. The other was when we found out we’d made the Ivy League Tournament for the first time in program history, I was filled with so many emotions because we had been working towards that goal since my freshman year.
Did you feel burnt out after the recruiting process? Have you ever felt burnt out throughout your career? How did you get through those periods?
I don’t think I’ve ever really felt burnt out per say but I have gone through periods where I felt like I wasn’t improving. I think when that happens it can be frustrating, but what worked for me was looking into finding new drills that focused on specific parts of my game where I felt I had become stagnant.
Do you have a favorite drill or one that has helped you the most in goal, with and without someone else?
I like using a small boys stick when I do individual drills. It really helps with my hand eye coordination and hand speed. I do drills with that with regular balls and tennis balls sometimes. One drill that has been very helpful for me with the boys stick is a drill where you use a tennis ball and tennis racket, it really helps with quick reactions because with the tennis racket the release is different and you have to react to where the ball is going.
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 have grown the most in my level of confidence and being able to handle pressure. In high school if we lost a game I used to think it was my fault and during my time in college I have grown to learn that it had to get through so many different players before it gets to the goalie and that it’s not just you who gets scored on it’s the team. I think in adopting this mindset it has really helped me develop a confidence and better understanding of the game.
I like to go on a walk outside and listen to some music before the game, sometimes the locker room can get a little too crowded or loud, so I like to take the time before the game to go outside and clear my head.
What makes you weird? (Or just a fun fact)
I grew up on a farm!