Each week, The Baltimore Sun will publish a Q&A with a college lacrosse player or coach to get you better acquainted with the player and his or her team. Today's guest is Navy senior long-stick midfielder Pat Kiernan, who was selected by the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the fifth round of the Major League Lacrosse college draft in January.
The 5-foot-11, 183-pound co-captain leads the Midshipmen — who will host No. 1 Loyola in a Patriot League showdown on Saturday at noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium — in career categories including caused turnovers (66) as well as points (15) and goals (12) by a defensive player.
How do you feel about graduating as the program's all-time leader in caused turnovers?
It's something I try not to think about too much. I'm aware of how many I had last season, and I'm trying to strive to beat that number. But in terms of playing the game and thinking about that specifically, it's not a huge thought in my mind. If I'm causing a turnover, that means we're getting the ball in the offense's hands, and I feel pretty good about it when that happens.
What are your thoughts on leading all Navy defensemen in goals and points?
That's another thing where if you go back and look at all of the goals and points I've had, they're all a result of [senior attackmen] Tucker Hull or Sam Jones or one of our offensive guys dishing me a good pass and I'm in the right place at the right time. To be at the top of that list is a huge honor. When I — or any long-pole, for that matter — can get a goal in transition, that's a huge momentum-changer. So if I can make that happen on the field, it's always a good thing for the team.
What's more gratifying – scoring a goal or causing a turnover?
I'd have to say scoring a goal because it's not often. I joke about how when I shoot, I close my eyes, and when it goes in, I feel pretty good about it.
What are going to be your lasting memories of your time at the academy when you graduate?
Just being around this family. Individually, I can't think of much, but just being a part of the Navy lacrosse family is one of the greatest things I can think of. I can't say enough about how grateful and thankful I am to be a part of it. When it's all said and done, playing is one thing, but just to wake up every day and be surrounded by everyone from the equipment staff to the guys on the team to [public relations], it's just such a blessing.
How did it feel get selected by the Bayhawks in the MLL draft?
I knew it was a possibility just from talking to my coaches. To be honest, being at a service academy, once it happened, I had no idea what it entailed, and I still don't know. If I get the opportunity to play, that would be awesome. But if I don't, it is what it is. I've got bigger and better things, bigger and better responsibilities once I graduate.
Are you bracing for being deployed abroad and forgoing a career in the MLL?
I wouldn't say that I'm bracing for it. I expect it. When I graduate from here, I expect to be deployed, I expect to be overseas doing whatever the Navy asks. That's going to happen. I'm excited to get out there and do it.