Elizabeth Hillman has been a three-sport standout for the past two years at Bel Air after transferring when North Carroll closed its doors. An All-State selection in soccer and an Under Armour All-American in lacrosse, she will play lacrosse at North Carolina next year.
This summer, Hillman, 18, is playing in lacrosse tournaments in Vail, Colo., and Lake Placid, N.Y., as well as the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse game June 30 at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field. She has been selected to try out in August for the United States Under-19 national team.
Also an avid snowboarder, she plans a career in sports marketing and would like to play professional lacrosse after college. She finished her senior year with a 4.1 GPA.
How did you get started playing lacrosse?
I used to live in North Carolina when I was very young. My uncle played lacrosse at Franklin High School and we had never heard of lacrosse, because in North Carolina it was not big at all when we were living there. My uncle bought us FiddleSTX one day and we stayed in the backyard and we would just play all day long. I never actually played on a team there, but as soon as we moved up to Maryland, my dad looked for a team for me to play on.
Did you play a lot of sports?
I played a lot. I started off with soccer just like every other little kid does. I actually played flag football for a few years and I was going to play tackle. I was older at this point, but I was smaller than a lot of the boys, so the coach didn’t think it was a good idea for me to play tackle, because I was really small, so I just stuck with flag football — and basketball.
How did lacrosse become the sport you wanted to play in college?
Soccer was originally my favorite sport. I loved soccer. I would play that every day. It was around the time I was about 14 when our [Skywalkers] club coaches, they didn’t tell me to pick a sport yet, they just told me to figure out what I really wanted to play, so I could put more of my time into that. At that point, I just knew it was going to be lacrosse. There was just something about it that’s just more fun than any other sport I’ve ever played.
How has continuing to play soccer and basketball made you a better lacrosse player?
Definitely basketball, because there are a lot of things in basketball that you can can carry over to lacrosse, such as the defense. The defense is almost identical to basketball. And just in general, keeping that competitive sports attitude going all year long nonstop, it just helps on the lacrosse field, too.
This spring, you struggled with injuries early in the season. How did you overcome them to have such a good season?
I actually had a really hard time dealing with injuries, not exactly physically, more mentally. One of the hardest things about sports for me is honestly getting injured and unfortunately, I get injured more than most — usually not major injuries, but quad pulls, ankle sprains, small things. It was tough on me mentally, because it was my senior year. I was supposed to go out on a high note. I still think it was an awesome year, but not exactly the way I’d planned it. It was just the help of my coaches and teammates.
What did it mean to you last summer when Inside Lacrosse named you the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018?
Oh, my gosh, that was a huge honor. I honestly was not expecting that. I got random texts and calls from all my friends and I was like, “I haven’t even seen this yet. This is crazy.” I could not have even imagined that when I started out playing.
What do you think is the best part of your game?
I would say the fact that I would rather see a teammate score before I scored. I think that’s a huge part in any sport for any player, any team. I think you need to have that. I’m all about the team, no matter what. If I have a terrible game but my teammate’s over there stepping up with five goals, assists, whatever, it’s a great day for me, too. If my team’s winning, it’s a good day for me.
Why did you decide to go to North Carolina?
It’s been my dream school since I was young. I lived in North Carolina and that was right around the age when I started to understand college sports and that’s when I started to watch college sports and that was my local college team. It’s been my dream ever since I was a kid. It was a no-brainer.
What was it like when North Carroll closed and how did you end up at Bel Air?
Originally, we were at Bel Air. I was there my freshman year, and then right before the lacrosse season started, we moved out to North Carroll. Then we got news of them closing down, which is such an odd thing. You never hear high schools closing down. It was really difficult, because we had just started to build something new. We just had started to get somewhere and make our mark on [Carroll County] and then it was ripped away almost, so that was difficult, but honestly coming back to Bel Air, I think that was one of the best things that’s happened, because I love Bel Air.
What are you looking forward to about the Under Armour All-America game?
I’m looking forward to playing at that high of a level with and against the best players in the nation. You haven’t really seen that yet. You play with your club team, but when you get the top 40 or 50 girls in the nation and put them on the field, I’m just excited to see the level of play.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I would have to say it’s that I love Taylor Swift. I just love her music. I love who she is and people don’t expect that, because they don’t expect my music choices to be like hers. I don’t know why.