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Feature: Freshman in College

Name Mackenzie Worthington
Nickname Kenzie
College University of Delaware
Major Sports Management, for now… possibly switching to exercise science
Height Short, 5’3”
Number & why 23, because I’ve never had the same number twice
Right / left I write with my right hand but I’d like to think I’m ambidextrous while playing
Hometown Towson, MD
HS Dulaney HS
HSLAX recognition Honorable Mention All American, Mid Atlantic Team 3
Years played lacrosse 9
Years played goalie 9
Any other positions Nope
Favorite food My mother’s chicken marsala
Favorite band Maroon 5
Favorite book Bridget Jones Diary
Favorite movie Practical Magic, Invincible
Favorite quote “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from paying the game.”
Shaft / head combination used The Brine “Money” head but we’re sponsored by Harrow so hopefully I can switch over.  My “Money” has been through a season or 2.

 

 

Interview with Mackenzie Worthington
(University of Delaware)

As the backbone of a dominant defense at Dulaney HS in MD last year, Mackenzie gave up just over 6 goals per game on her way to a 13-3 record and All-American accolades.  Now a freshman at Delaware, Mackenzie is getting prepared for the start of the 2008 season and her chance to find a place for her self on her new team and make her mark in the Colonial League.  Mackenzie is always looking, as she puts it, “to play (her) best with the best”, and Delaware should be a great place for that to happen, as the Blue Hens look to improve upon an 11-6 record, and a 5-3 record in the tough Colonial league.

How did you become a goalie and why do you enjoy playing this position?

As a nine year old I wasn’t afraid of the ball or getting hit so my coach tested me out in the goal and I think we both realized that that was where I could potentially do better than the rest of the girls

Walk us through the recruiting process that brought you to your school?

I joined a club team (Skywalkers) and when the recruiting process started, I had to write to college coaches and that turned into phone calls, which led to unofficial visits and then they were allowed to call me and actually talk about me playing for them which led to my first commitment in September to Ohio but lacrosse fans know what happened there. So I checked out a few more schools but I knew that Delaware was where I should have been in the first place. Specifically, the recruiting process was actually very different for me as a goalie because I had to check the team’s roster to see if they had a goalie in the year right above me. I wanted to actually get a chance to play but if the top recruited goalie went to a school I was interested in chances are that school was not looking for another goalie in my year nor would I have a chance to play. And in the end, all you want to do is play your best, with the best.

 

What are some of your goals for lacrosse and life as you enter your first year of college?

My lacrosse goal is to establish a role on the team that I can start to fulfill this year and build into bigger roles for the next 4 years. My goal as a student is to find my niche outside of lacrosse because I think it’s important to have friends outside of lacrosse and to settle on a major I’m happy with.

What do you think the biggest difference between high school and college lacrosse will be?

 Definitely the time commitment is about twice as much as it was in high school. Also every day is a battle in the cage. Where in high school I could shake off a bad practice when I didn’t feel well, in this level of play and being on my own, there are too many distractions for me to make excuses about why I’m not playing well and eventually I’m going to need to learn how to play my best even under the worst conditions.

What special activities do you plan to do to gain an edge from a positional standpoint besides team lifting and running programs?

 I can’t tell you all of my secrets! But with players like Nicole Flego, Courtney Aburn, Emily Schaknowski, and basically our whole attack, I can find any player to work with outside of practice for extra shots along with hand-eye coordination and feet quickness drills.

How do you handle the mental aspect of the position?

You have to remember as a goalie that although it’s only you in the cage facing the shot, the ball still got to the shooter in front of your cage. But you also have to take a step back and forget the other aspects and don’t think who messed up but ask yourself, was that shot really worthy of making it past you?  I think a good balance of these thoughts will keep your head on straight.

What is the most difficult mental challenge in being a goalie?

The hardest thing is when you’re playing like crap and the only thing you can do to improve is to try and calm yourself down and get back into the zone. It’s mentally destroying when you’re trying your hardest to get back into the zone and the harder you try the harder it becomes.

Did you play any other sports or positions in high school that carried over to the lacrosse field?

Since I am a goalie in lacrosse I was able to get a field players perspective on how talking to the defense can help or hurt them when I played  right defensive back all four years of high school.

Describe for our readers some of the techniques and styles you use when you play the position and any philosophies you have about the game.

Something I always thought as a goalie was to take big steps to the ball and getting here at Delaware and having Coach Reed Watson tell me to take smaller steps and sometimes not even a step greatly improved my quickness to the ball. I also believe that talking to the defense even just letting them know where the ball is would greatly influence not only their awareness but your awareness of what’s going on and how to react. Playing outside of the goal has always been a big thing of mine too. Being active in and out of the cage is vital and all goalies should be able to handle pressure just as well if not better than their teammates. Playing with a heavier and bigger stick, we are more prone to having the ball come out of our heads if checked. Goalies should know how to handle that pressure effectively so that they can get the ball to a teammate successfully.

What makes you different from other goalies?

This by-far has been the hardest question to answer because I have only my perspective to give you. I can say that I generally don’t care about my reputation as a goalie. Recognition and playing on All-Star games or being picked for All-Star teams is not why I’m here. If I wanted that I’d be an attacker that has the option of showcasing their skills. Being a goalie showcases reaction time and luck and I think I’ve realized that one game I could look like the best there’s ever been and the next game Coach might want to put her 10 year old daughter in for me. However possible that may be I try and keep myself under realistic expectations and can easily “shake things off” so to say. I’m also really excited to try new things in the cage. During fall ball is the prime time for me to try new things because I’m finding my place within the team and the score’s don’t count for or against us. Bounce passes or behind-the-back throws are something I’ve been working on and I hope to incorporate into my clearing some day.

How have you been adjusting to life on campus and being away from home?

 I’m sorry Mom and Dad, but I was so ready for this. I love college. In high school I never liked the company of girls I liked hanging out with boys a lot. I wasn’t a tomboy at all but living with girls and not having my parents there or as much privacy as I had at home is working out great. I’ve met some really awesome girls that I’m already thinking about living with next year. Rooming with a softball player is also a nice break from lacrosse too. We have slightly different schedules so we can get our alone time but we have a lot in common both playing a division 1 sport.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides lacrosse that you'd like to share with us?  What do you do for fun?

In college, for fun I sleep. I’m also a HUGE Baltimore Ravens fan. I’ll watch every game this season and wear my #20 jersey all day on Sunday or Monday. For fun I also vacuum our dorm rug which is zebra stripped; a rug as cool as ours has to be kept clean. Just hanging around with my roommates who play sports here at Delaware is a lot of fun because they have the same student-athlete perspective but playing 2 different sports I can judge and compare our experiences with the athletic program here at Delaware.

Who has been your greatest role model growing up?

When I first joined my club team, Skywalkers, my first coach was Jayne Donohoe. She was the ideal coach to me, always enthusiastic and kind. She really motivated us to work extra hard in practice for her to notice our effort because her praise was so meaningful and whole-hearted that working our butts off to become better was fun. She cared about what we did once we dropped the ball not that we didn’t catch it in the first place. She was never overbearing with her advice and made you feel like getting it wrong the first few times was okay. As long as you were trying and working, she was proud. She loved us like we were her own daughter and laughed more than any adult I’ve met so far.

Any advice for aspiring goalies?

Make mistakes. Test your limits. You never know how far you can come out of the cage unless you come out under pressure constantly. Take challenges and play for the age group above you. They will fire shots in on you more than you save them but it will teach you at a younger age to handle situations that are out of your control and deal with the stress of getting beat sometimes. After time, you won’t be so lost and will start making more and more saves. Get to know your defense and don’t be shy, talk loudly and as much as you can.

Thanks Mackenzie!

 

 

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