Each week, The Baltimore Sun publishes a Q&A with an area college lacrosse player to help you become more acquainted with the player and his/her team. Today's guest is Maryland senior attacker Kristy Black, a Glenelg graduate. Black is one of the key cogs in a balanced Terrapins attack, ranking fourth on the team in scoring with 37 goals and 21 assists. She still holds several state tournament scoring records from her days as an All-Metro midfielder at Glenelg. She and the No. 3 seed Terps will play in their fourth straight NCAA semifinal when they meet Northwestern on Friday at 8 p.m. in Stony Brook, N.Y.
Why did you choose to play at Maryland?
I grew up watching Maryland lacrosse. I grew up watching Cathy (Reese), Jen (Adams) and Quinn (Carney). When I was being recruited — my brother actually went here — and at first I was kind of like, oh it's too close, and then he was like, no, the atmosphere's amazing, all the football games, the basketball games. So I was like, OK, I'll go down and meet with them. Out of all the coaches I met ... oh my gosh, Cathy and Jen are amazing. They're so outgoing and they're easy to talk to and get along with. It was such a different atmosphere. Then on my recruiting trip, I loved the team. I loved everything about Maryland, and it was nice being close because I'm a big family person.
What makes Maryland's offense work so well?
I think there's a bunch of different things. We have so many good lacrosse players on the field that if someone's being face-guarded, someone else steps up. As a team in general, we have such good chemistry and we're so supportive. You don't have that one person that needs to score six goals a game, trying to be the hero. We have such an encouraging team that it's so easy to play with each other because we all get along so well and we want everyone to do well.
What is your role on such a balanced attack?
Being a captain, I feel I always have to make sure people are in the right places at the right time. We have a ton of different plays and a lot of younger people — and just giving each younger person the confidence. I think being a captain I've just come into the role of picking people up when they're down and encouraging people to keep going and celebrating every time they score. I just feel like I'm ... not the mom, but — the confidence builder.
There would seem to be a lot of pressure on you to avenge last year's championship loss to Northwestern and win another title. How do you alleviate that pressure?
Everyone that's a returning player has lost to Northwestern, and I think our loss to Northwestern last year was one of the most devastating losses of anyone's career. I think it just sort of built an inner competition and it's awesome that we're playing them, because we're playing the team we lost to in the national championship last year, so there's nothing worse that can happen to us. I think it's better than playing a team we've beaten or that we've never played before, because this will make us bring our "A" game from the beginning.
Most college athletes never get to play in one final four, but you're about to play in your fourth. What is that experience like?
It's actually crazy. After we beat Loyola, I was like, "Wow we're going to the final four for the fourth time." I think as a freshman and sophomore, it was more like this was what we do. I didn't understand what it was like for teams that didn't go. Now that I'm a senior, I'm really starting to take it all in. It's going to be ending soon, and I'm sitting here smiling just thinking about it. I think when I'd done playing lacrosse, I'm going to looking back and be like, "I can't believe I experienced that."
What are you going to savor about this last one?
Everything. From the silly bus rides, the locker room dancing to our coaches pumping us up to the films to practicing. These are my last couple practices I'll ever have. I just really need to cherish every moment with my teammates, with everybody. It's all gone so fast. It's going to be sad.
What are your summer plans?
I'm going backpacking throughout Europe all of June. I'm really, really excited. We fly into Madrid and we're doing all Spain, Amsterdam, all France, Italy, Monaco and we end in Greece.
What did you major in, and what career path are you planning?
Hearing and speech sciences. I had an internship this semester at Guilford Elementary School in Columbia with the speech pathologist. I have to do grad school for two years to get my master's before I can work in the school system, but that's ideal. I would love to do that. I always wanted to work with kids, and I'd love having summers off.