Each week, The Baltimore Sun will publish a Q&A with an area college lacrosse player to get you more acquainted with the player and his/her team. Today's guest is Mount St. Mary's senior goalie Brigid McTavish, whose grandfather was a Mountaineers basketball legend. Jack Sullivan, who passed away in 2010, set the men's career scoring record of 2,672 points that still stands along with 10 of his other records. McTavish, 22, is a South Carroll graduate in her fourth season in the cage for the Mountaineers, who made it to the Northeast Conference title game last season. She is second in program history in minutes played and wins (21), and ranks fourth in career saves (422).
Did your grandfather have anything do to with your coming to Mount St. Mary's?
He definitely pushed me coming here. He loved it here. When he heard that I was looking here, he was very excited.
Have you ever felt any pressure because your grandfather was a Mount legend?
No, I don't think so. A lot of people don't know that we're related sometimes because of the last names, and people who do, I've never felt the pressure from them.
What was his influence on you as an athlete?
He definitely pushed basketball and he came to all of our games. He coached us, and I remember going and spending the weekend at his house and him taking me down to the park. It was always basketball. I didn't start playing lacrosse until I was in eighth grade, but when I did start playing lacrosse, he was there and he related everything that we did to basketball, the work ethic and everything like that.
Have you always been a goalie?
No. When I started, I played the field, but I didn't make it to many of the games. I just usually got to practice because I played Amateur Athletics Union basketball. When I got into high school, they had other goalies, so I tried out for goalie and for defense, but then my coach said, "You're just going to play goalie." He made the decision for me, I guess.
Were you happy with that?
I was because I played field hockey goalie as well. It's a lot different, but I didn't mind it at all. I like it.
What do you like about it?
I just like so much of the pressure being on me. I feel like it gives me a spot where I have to show myself. I'm not like the leading scorer, but I have a position that's as important as the leading scorer. I really think I like getting balls thrown at me (laughs). With field hockey and lacrosse, it's fun.
What's the biggest challenge for a veteran goalie to keep improving — is it physical or mental?
I think it's a lot mental. In games, it's just getting started. It's like I know I can do it, I've been doing it for so long. It's getting that first save or getting that first ground ball to get me going. Once I'm going, it's just like natural.
Do you have any tricks for staying focused when you're getting scored on more than you'd like?
I just think about the ball. I tell myself, "Don't worry about anything else — just look for that ball."