High School Girls

April 21, 2009

As part of Lacrosse Magazine's in-depth look at the nation's top two producers of college-ready lacrosse talent -- Boys' Latin (Md.) boys and St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) girls -- we asked two prominent alumni to reflect on their high school lacrosse experiences there. This article appears as part of that package in the April issue of LM.

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Kendall McBrearty: St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Years

as told to Matt DaSilva

"It's just a vive. It's not cocky; it's just people who love to play lacrosse."
-- Kendall McBrearty on SSSA girls' lax.

© David Petkofsky

I went to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes from K through 12, so I went there for 13 years. Coach Jenkins was our phys-ed teacher in middle school, so she started us sort of early. Around third grade, they started putting lacrosse sticks in our hands. When I was in sixth grade, we started to play for our first house-league team.

When you get into high school, there are a lot of people that go out for the varsity team. After playing JV for a year, I was lucky enough to make it my sophomore year. Everybody’s friends and everybody gets along. It’s just a vibe. It’s not cocky; it’s just people who love to play lacrosse.

Everyone’s out there to win and compete, and there’s this great vibe that floats around this team — so energetic.

We had our rituals. Before games we would take a lap and run into the woods, stretch and warm up with everyone surrounding the captains.

But the best part was our spring break trips.

My freshman year we went to St. Petersburg, Fla. We stayed at this ratty hotel and it couldn’t have been more fun. Oh sure, we wandered over to the beach every once in a while, but it wasn’t about that. Both varsity and JV teams go. I remember one time the seniors, sort of as a little initiation, had us wear diapers. Every morning, we had to run to practice. We’d strap on our diapers and run to practice and they’d check our diapers.

My sophomore year we went to Santa Fe, N.M.

My junior year we were back in Florida at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

Every four years, we get to take an international trip. So my senior year, we went to England. We played England’s U-19 team and traveled to play different teams around England.

Back home, it’s a very tough schedule throughout the season. You take nothing lightly. It’s just sort of engrained in you that you’re among the best and you need to compete in every game.

And it’s fun to win.

One of the best moments was my junior year. We went undefeated the whole season, 18-0, and beat Moorestown (N.J.). That was when they were getting to be a powerhouse. They had won the Jersey state title three years in a row, but nobody knew who they were. We beat them at Moorestown, and it was an awesome moment.

From my year alone, I went to UVA, Rachel Manson went to Penn, Abigail Meyers played at Duke, Hope Jones at Harvard, Mary Downs at Cal-Berkeley, Kelly Finnigan at Davidson, Karla Herrera at Georgetown, Jenny Hauser at BU and then UVA, Caitlin Blair at Dickinson, Allison Murray at Williams, Hallie Routh at Denison and Meaghan Donahoe at Villanova.

Coach Jenkins makes the whole college selection process very personal. She looks at your abilities and she knows everyone, where you might be able to play and what positions people need at certain colleges. I really wanted to go to Georgetown my freshman year, and she said, “They don’t need a goalie that year.”

She knows people. She gets us into club teams and to the right tournaments and knows what college coaches will be watching. She has her own camp that brings in the best of the best in sophomores and juniors, and she brings in great coaches for that camp.

Her network is vast, and she gives you advice based on where you’d fit. She’s not sending somebody that wouldn’t be ready to play at UNC to UNC. During the whole process, she’s just honest. She’s not going to lead you on.

It helps, because when we get there, we’re ready to play at that level.

Kendall McBrearty graduated from SSSAS in 2004. She went on to play goalie at Virginia, where she was a third-team US Lacrosse/IWLCA All-American in 2008. Now an assistant coach at Yale, McBrearty also is a member of the U.S. Developmental team.

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