This summer a number of Starz alumni who currently play NCAA lacrosse have returned to our sidelines as coaches. Hannah Graves, fresh off of her first collegiate season with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps which included a trip to the NCAA tournament, reflects upon her time as a Starz player and shares what she has gained from a summer season spent behind the whistle.
How did playing for Seattle Starz helped you to be successful your freshman year of college, both on and off the lacrosse field?
Starz was integral in setting me up to have a successful freshman year of collegiate lacrosse. Having the ability to be in high school or middle school and play on an entire team of top quality girls reflects how colligate lacrosse teams are composed. The competition and effort level at practice is taken very seriously on both Starz teams and collegiate teams. Off the field, Starz enabled me to build relationships that I was lucky enough to carry onto my collegiate team which helped while adapting to a new school and living environment.
What is the biggest difference between HS club lacrosse and college lacrosse?
The biggest difference between high school club lacrosse and collegiate lacrosse is the time commitment. High school club lacrosse only holds practice a few times a week. The girls are still expected to practice wall ball and get conditioning outside of that practice time, but, it doesn’t come near the amount of time that someone is expected to devote at the collegiate level. At my division three school where the commitment is much less than division one schools, we still have 2-4 hours of commitment a day six days a week for the entire spring semester with lifts and fall ball in the fall. Lacrosse is a lifestyle and a big commitment in college.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from a coach?
The biggest piece of advice I have received from a coach is that you cannot stop what you are doing because it is not working for you. If you are in a game and your shooting percentage is not great, you cannot stop shooting or you will never get through the rut. This may apply in all different aspects of the game; if you are not great at your off-hand you are not going to get anywhere by not using it.
What drew you to coach with Seattle Starz this summer? And what is the best part about coaching for Starz?
Coaching is my way of giving back to the sport and doing my part to grow the game. I still remember all the coaches I have ever had and how they helped me. I can only hope that I am having this affect on the girls that I am coaching this summer. My favorite part about coaching Starz is the moment when I see all the girls finally understand how to effectively play together and mesh as one unit. The team I am coaching is young, and their learning curve this summer is HUGE! One of the major concepts we’ve taught this year is team defense. Going into Pacific Lacrosse Festival, our defense was a little rocky but the girls played their hearts out and played the best defense I have ever seen them play. Watching that unfold in front of me was my favorite moment as a coach this summer.
Favorite lacrosse moment?
My favorite lacrosse moment was having the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament this last season (2017). Although it didn’t end as we wanted, the success and excitement brought forth from knowing we had earned a spot in the tournament was immense.
Question from previous Alumni Spotlight: What has college lacrosse revealed to you about yourself?
Moving from high school lacrosse to collegiate is a major change and one must adjust to that change without the same support as they had at home. Making the physical and emotional adjustment without everyone I was used to having around me was tough. It taught me to have mental tenacity and to seek alternate routes to find the help and support that my parents and high school coaches always gave me.
Give us a question to ask the next ‘Alumni Spotlight’ person.
What was the biggest misconception you had about collegiate lacrosse going into your freshman year?