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 or her team. Today's guest is Towson senior defender Alexa Demski, a Loch Raven graduate and third-team All-American.
Demski missed the last four games, including a first-round NCAA tournament game, last spring after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during the regular-season finale — but she still led the Colonial Athletic Association champions in caused turnovers. A broadcasting major, she has a video blog, Defending with Demski, on the Towson women's lacrosse webpage.
How does the knee feel?
It feels great. It's a little weird not playing for eight months when you've been playing since you were 4. This is the longest I've ever taken off, but I'm very happy where I've been. I came in every day during my summer break and put in three hours of [physical therapy] and just kind of sitting out through the fall, it feels really good. I'm hoping now to work on getting my speed back.
How tough was it to watch those final games, especially since you won the CAA tournament games by one goal each?
It was definitely something new for me, being fortunate enough to be a four-year starter and always be in there. It was a new challenge to have to find a way to help my team without being out there on the field: What can I do from the sidelines to try to help them and tell them what I'm seeing and what's working and what's not working? I had 100 percent faith in them that they were going to do it. It made me smile because they almost did that for me a little, because I had come so close the past two years to getting that ring, that [CAA] title.
The Tigers played nine one-goal games last season. You won eight of them, but doesn't that put a lot more pressure on the defense?
It puts a lot of pressure, but I feel like we almost thrive on that pressure. Playing with Mary [Teeters, last year's senior goalie] for three years, we knew having her in that cage that when that final shot came, no matter who was shooting it, she had that save and as a defense having that faith and that trust in your goalie and in one another, it's kind of adds a thrill factor to playing each game.
How much of a test will it be to open on the road Friday against an opponent as tough as North Carolina?
For the past three years since I've been here, we've played at home or just down the street — the Charles Street rivalry — so it's going to be a big challenge, but we're excited for it. To be able to show all our hard work and especially for me — I've been working for almost nine months to get back out there and play — I couldn't be any more excited.
What's the key to defending your CAA championship?
We just have to know that we have a target on our back this year. Last year, we were kind of the underdogs coming in because we had lost to James Madison [in the 2011 CAA final], so that was our year to come back and win. Now we do have a target on our back, but we can't let that change the way we play at all. We have to play every game, no matter if it's UNC or someone in our conference, we need to make sure our opponents are faceless and we're just playing the game.
Have you always played defense?
Yes. I think somewhere in rec they stuck me behind the [restraining] line, and I was like: "I don't even want to go over. Keep me back here. It's where I love to be." Sometimes you'll catch me over on the attacking side, but most of the time, it's just to run the ball down and, "Here you guys go."
What do you like about playing defense?
My favorite part about defense is really just the thrill of knowing you can shut down someone. When you're an attacker, all the moves are on you, but when you're defending someone, you're trying to defend someone else's moves and read what they're going to do, so I think that takes a very different kind of skill and technique to be able to keep up with someone else's movements and what they're going to do. I know it's an amazing feeling to score, but in my book, it's just an amazing feeling to get that interception or knockdown.
How did the video blog come about?
That came about because I actually interned with Towson Sports Network [Towson's broadband channel]. We kind of talked about it last year, maybe writing a blog to keep up with everything, but it never really went through. From what Megan [O'Brien, Towson assistant sports information director] and Damon [Lewis, director of new media] tell me, I guess I'm interesting and outgoing, so they like to put that on camera and I love it. I love being able to keep our fans updated, especially parents. We have a girl from Texas, and [her family] can't come up for every game, so it keeps them updated on what's going on.
As a broadcasting major, what kind of career are you planning?
It is up in the air right now. I interned last semester at 98 Rock, and I fell in love with the entertainment aspect, so right now between entertainment and sports, if I could find a happy medium, it would be perfect. I'm just planning on trying to get some internships and trying to get my foot in the door, maybe using lacrosse to help out with that and maybe call some games.
Why did you choose Towson, a school so close to home?
It was a challenging decision for me. My recruiting year was really one of the first years they started recruiting juniors in high school. It was almost unheard of. I played for Sky Walkers, and we had five girls going to Florida and people recruiting everyone. But knowing what I wanted to do in my future and my major was a big thing because not many schools have broadcasting. That sold me a lot, and [former Towson coach] Missy Doherty just knows how to seal the deal. In my meeting with Missy, it was, "You're coming to school to play lacrosse, but that's not your life. Your life is to get a good education, to play here and to have a great college experience," so that's really what sold me. And my mom being able to pop in and bring me packed lunches always helps.
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