Marriotts Ridge's Anne Zabel 'fell in love with defense'

The Baltimore Sun

Anne Zabel excelled as one of the Baltimore area’s top girls lacrosse line defenders at Marriotts Ridge, where she was a two-time All-Metro player and a first-team selection this spring.

Zabel led a Mustangs’ unit that allowed just 3.9 goals per game and won Howard County and District V championships after winning the state title in 2011. A Greater Baltimore regional All-American and an Under Armour All-American, she will play in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic at 5 p.m. Saturday at Towson University.

Headed for UMBC in the fall, the Ellicott City resident is spending the summer working in Ocean City. Zabel, who also played field hockey, graduated with a 3.2 GPA and is considering majoring in economics although she would like to try coaching in a few years as a graduate assistant.

How did you get started playing sports?

I am the youngest of six kids and the majority of growing up, we were always outside playing sports. We were never inside watching TV.

What’s it like growing up the youngest of six athletic children?

It’s interesting. I can say that my childhood was so much fun. It would never be boring here. Once I leave, I’m sure my parents are going to go, “What is going on?” But I actually have two nieces and we have one on the way.

Did you always play defense?

No (laughs). It’s actually funny because I played attack for M&D, my club team, for coach Scott Robinson and then my freshman year of high school I made varsity, so my assistant coach Becky Clipp (a former All-America defender at Maryland) wanted me on the field and asked me if I would play defense and I said, “Yes, of course.” I just fell in love with defense, so when summer came around and I went back to M&D, I asked Scott Robinson if I could play defense and he tried me there. I loved it so much more, so I just stuck with that.

What do you like about defense?

I like how you’re stopping people from going to goal and it’s more so if they don’t get by you, you just feel good. You don’t necessarily get all of the “Oh my gosh, good job. You scored,” but I like it better not being the one who scores. They always say defense wins championships, because if the other team scores then you’re not going to win.

How are you best at causing turnovers?

A lot of times if I just put a little bit of pressure on, they kind of back up, but then if they turn around, I like to go for the back check. Sometimes if you’re lucky, they’ll just drop the ball if you put a little bit of pressure on them. The check is the best feeling.

Your sisters are a bit older – Katie, 29, and Monica, 22 – but did you ever play with them in the backyard? I thought maybe that’s how you became a defender.

Monica and I would go outside and I would play defense on her. She would always be getting ready for JMU (James Madison) and I would go out with her and do her JMU workout.

That got you in shape, huh?

Yeah, it did. It was hard. I’m not going to lie and I’m not really looking forward to getting the UMBC workout packet (laughs), but it’s funny because I would always go outside and play, even with my mom playing catch ever since I was so little.

Is there a Mount Hebron-Marriotts Ridge rivalry in your household?

Not at all. My entire family besides my oldest brother, who went to [Mount] St. [Joseph], went to Mount Hebron and they come to my games. They cheer for us. When we play Mount Hebron, they’re always cheering for me and cheering for Marriotts Ridge. They don’t care about that kind of stuff at all.

Why did you choose UMBC?

I’m very family oriented. I was looking at schools around here, but UMBC’s the closest one. I’ve got nieces and I’ve got another one coming and I just don’t want to be missing any of that. I know my parents are going to be so sad when their last kid’s gone and I want them to come to my games, too.

How did your sisters help you with the recruiting process?

They just told me go to the best possible school. Have fun. Make sure that when you go there you’re not going just because of lacrosse, if something happens like you tear your ACL and you can never play again that you wouldn’t want to transfer.

How did you feel when you found out you were an Under Armour All-American?

I was really excited. I thought it was really cool. It was like a pat on the back.

What are you looking forward to about the game?

I’m excited to see how everyone plays. Everyone is going to be so good.

Do you know a lot of other girls who will be playing?

Yeah, I do. There are a lot of girls from my M&D team on it. We’re used to playing together since sixth grade, so we know each other really well.

Where are you working this summer?

Ice Cream Castle. This is my first year working down there. I’m living with a friend.

Are you going to get in any vacation?

My family is coming down to Ocean City, I think Bethany [Beach, Del.], actually. I think all of us are going to be together. I’m just going to sleep there and I’ll be with them the whole week. That’s our family vacation pretty much every year. We love the beach.

Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic

Date: Saturday, June 30

Time: Girls at 5 p.m.; boys at 8 p.m.

Location: Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University

Tickets: $26 (premium); $21 (general admission); $16 (youth — 12 & under)

TV: Boys game on ESPNU

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