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/her team.
Today's guest is Cornell freshman goalkeeper Christian Knight, who has earned wins in the team's past three games and back-to-back Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. The Baltimore native and Boys' Latin graduate, who has a 9.40 goals-against average and a .595 save percentage, has made double-digit saves in each of his three starts, which include victories over then-No. 2 Virginia on March 8 and then-No. 16 Yale on Saturday.
Did you anticipate playing as well as you are right now?
It's definitely what you've hoped for when you go in. I'm just trying to go out and have fun and do my best. Luckily, I've been able to perform as well as I would like to. It's been a good experience so far.
Did you ever think that you would be the starting goalie for the No. 3 team in the nation as a freshman?
No. That's definitely been a dream of mine ever since I committed here and ever since I've been watching Cornell since the 2009 season. I always thought that I'd have to work my way up. It's a dream come true to be able to start here in my rookie year.
Can you describe your emotions when interim coach Matt Kerwick informed you that you would make your first start against Virginia?
I was a little nervous. They were the No. 2 team in the country with great shooters like [senior midfielder Rob] Emery and [junior midfielder Ryan] Tucker and [senior attackman Mark] Cockerton and [sophomore attackman James] Pannell. I was a little nervous, but there was never any pressure from the coaches or players to play well. All I heard was encouragement to go out there and have fun. The only pressure I felt probably came from me.
Did those nerves extend into the game?
I was nervous leading up to the game. All throughout warm-ups and even a couple days before, I was a little shaky. But then as soon as we shook hands and the game started, I settled down a little bit.
You're 3-0 as a starter and Cornell is ranked No. 3. Does it get any better than this?
I think this is about as good as it gets right now. We played a tough game [Tuesday] against Colgate, but I've been getting a lot of support from my defense. Everyone's just been playing well, and that it's made it easy on me to feel comfortable and just relax and be able to play.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from family and friends in Baltimore?
I checked my phone 10 minutes after the [Virginia] game, and I had 15 text messages from a lot of my teammates that still play for Boys' Latin and that are in college now. They said congratulations. They were all extremely nice.
Who congratulated you?
[Freshman defenseman] Mac Pons at Maryland, [freshman midfielder] Ben Pridemore at Notre Dame, [midfielder] Keegan O'Connor who is a senior at Boys' Latin and is heading to Maryland.
What is it like knowing that people back home are keeping track of your accomplishments?
It feels really good. There's a Baltimore connection and a lacrosse connection that is very strong. It hasn't died out at all. You might think that once you get out of Baltimore, the Baltimore lacrosse scene dies out, but it doesn't.
Do you feel that you have cemented your status as the starting goalkeeper?
No, I never really feel like that. The goalie position is special. There are some games when you cannot play as well as you want to and not see the shots as well as you want to. So at any point, the goalie position could change.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun