Jan. 21, 2014
Sophomore, Midfield, 5-6
Severna Park, Md.
In 17 days, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team begins the 2014 season on Feb. 7 at Kennesaw State. To get ready for the 19th season in program history, vucommodores.com will spotlight all 29 players and coaches Cathy Swezey, Susan Ellis and Julie Gardner. This segment will offer an inside look into the team on and off the field.
Today, Alexa Kunowsky, who wears jersey No. 17, continues our countdown. The sophomore from Severna Park, Md., was named a high school All-American by U.S. Lacrosse and ESPN. She did not disappoint in her freshman season at Vanderbilt.
Kunowsky was one of the most productive freshmen on last year's team. Besides Mallory Schonk, she was the only freshman to start all 17 games. She finished fourth on the team with 19 goals and was second to Abby Wheeler in shooting percentage (.514). Her five goals in the season finale against Penn State tied for the most by a Commodore in 2013. She also led the team with 31 draw controls.
How long have you played lacrosse and why did you get into the sport?
I first tried it in second grade... and I hated it. So I quit. Then in seventh grade, I had a girl on my rec basketball team and her mom was one of the big coaches around Severna Park. She convinced me to try out. So I played for her and ever since I loved it. I had always played travel soccer and basketball. Once I started lacrosse I loved that.
Any particular reason you liked it the second time around?
I like how fast it is I think. Same as basketball, kind of. They kind of play off of each other. Just the quickness of it is really fun.
What was that like last year starting all 17 games. Was that important for you? Did that experience pay off?
That was a really big honor to start all 17 games. It is just amazing to think back on it. I think it helps this year. I know what to do. I have more experience. It was a great experience and I was really honored to start all those games.
How much of a confidence boost was that?
I set goals for myself but that definitely wasn't an expectation (to start every game). I was kind of surprised. Bringing it into this year it brings a lot of confidence because I was able to learn every play. I had to know them perfectly because I was playing so much, especially offense and defense. Doing the draws against some of the toughest kids in the country, like Northwestern girls and Carolina girls. It brings a lot of confidence for me going into my sophomore season so I'm really excited.
Draw controls, is that something you look forward to? You led the team with 31 last year.
Yeah. I started that in ninth grade actually. I had always been on the circle. I barely remember but as a ninth grader I remember my coach made me start doing the draws. Ever since then I kind of enjoyed it. I just like it. It is a confidence booster when you get on the field and you know you are the first person around the ball.
Any particular strategy to it?
I would say Kelly (Chandler) pulls it to herself and goes up. Whereas I pull it more far behind me to try to get it to the attackers or the girls on the circle. I'm not necessarily trying to get it to myself. Trying to pull it back to the team.
Favorite part about playing at Vanderbilt: The close-knit team who are my best friends and the coaches. Nashville is an awesome city.
Favorite sport other than lacrosse: Basketball and field hockey
Dream Date: Tom Brady
The best tasting food I can make: Pasta
My bucket list includes: Going to Australia
Favorite athlete to watch in another sport: LeBron James
One thing my hometown is famous for: Crabs
The person I'd love to trade places with for a day: Blake Lively
Ultimate vacation destination: Anywhere tropical with a beach
The person(s) I admire the most: My parents
My advice to young people is: Work hard and set goals