Lauren Bosse cringes when she hears herself described as the Towson High volleyball team's "heart."
"Everybody is working really hard," the 5-foot-11 senior middle hitter said. "To be called the heart wouldn't be fair. Without the rest of my team, I'd be nothing."
But it isn't saying too much to mention that she's a key element to the success of the defending Class 3A state champions, who play in the state semifinals Thursday at 8 against North Hagerstown at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.
An All-Metro selection a year ago, Bosse has averaged three kills and one block per game this season.
And volleyball isn't even her best sport. That would be lacrosse, a game she's played since she was 5, and one she will continue to play next year at Penn State. She carries a 3.6 GPA.
How do you expect your volleyball team to finish the season?
If our team plays like I know we can, we have a really good shot at winning. We have a lot of offensive weapons and we know exactly where to put the ball. We're really good at communicating, too, and that keeps the other team from finding our holes. I'm really excited about going back to states in my senior year.
What do you see as your strength on the team?
My strength is power, and I know how to get around the other team's blocks. I'm a hitter. If the person on the other side of the net is holding their hands up in front of me — and sometimes I have two or three blockers in front of me — I know how to get around them. I mix up my shots. When I go up to hit, I don't think about where to hit it. I keep an open mind and it keeps me from making mistakes.
It sounds very physical. Are you a tough girl? Do you like anything beyond sports?
I am a tough girl. But I also like to paint — portraits that tell a story. And I really like computer science and math. I don't know what I want to study in college yet, but I have an interest in computer programming and architecture, which would combine math and drawing.
How did you happen to become a volleyball player?
My dad was a pro beach volleyball player, and my mom played volleyball at Catonsville High School. They both loved it so much they decided I should try it. I've been playing for eight years now, since fifth grade. I just love hitting the ball, getting the kill is the best feeling in the world.
You've been playing lacrosse longer. What position do you play?
I've been playing lacrosse since I was 5. I'm a low defender in lacrosse. I like defense, because you have to react more. It's true that if you play offense, you get to make decisions. But playing defense you have to keep the other team out of the goal. I like the head game you have to play. In lacrosse, it's 7-v-7, and you have to work as a unit to keep everyone outside the goal. You have to handle all the tricks, fakes and dodges they use to get through us.
You've signed a letter of intent with Penn State for lacrosse. Why did you chose that school?
It was between Penn State and Princeton, and I liked the atmosphere more at Penn State. It's a big sports school. There is so much going on there. It seemed like it would be really fun.
There is a lot of bad news about child abuse, the football team and the administration coming out of Penn State this week. Are you having any second thoughts?
It's really unfortunate what happened there. But it really doesn't affect the lacrosse team. I will still have the same lacrosse coaches and teammates I met on my visits. I feel what's happened there could have happened anywhere. I still love the school.