Q&A with Alex Rode, set to represent the South team at the Under Armour All-America Classic

Alex Rode, a recent St. Paul’s graduate and All-Metro first-team goalie this spring, has just the right laid-back attitude to thrive when he represents the South team in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic, set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.

As the area’s only selection in the 12th annual game, the Virginia commit was a three-year starter for the Crusaders, finishing with 164 saves with a .564 save percentage this season. He completed his high school career with 444 saves, including a single-season program-best 258 as a junior.

What’s it going to be like playing against so many great shooters in this game?

Kids are definitely going to score some, so you just have to go out and have fun and enjoy it. It’ll definitely be cool going up against shooters that good. In the [Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association], we’re always playing against guys like that, but it’ll definitely be fun and a neat experience.

When did you get your start in the cage?

I’d say sixth grade is really when I got into it. Attack wasn’t really working out. I wasn’t fast enough, couldn’t move around very well, maybe a little clumsy, so I guess I moved [in the cage] because I thought it would be a better opportunity for me.

What are the keys to being a successful goalie?

Having a short memory is important. You’re going to get scored on, it’s going to happen, so you need to be able to move on. [The mental aspect] is huge. At the end of the day, there’s a lot of pressure, especially at St. Paul’s , and even though it can be hard at times, you just have to enjoy it.

How do you handle the pressure that comes with that pressure?

You have to know everyone else is feeling the same way – the attackman feel the same thing playing in the MIAA. Everyone is feeling the grind and, at the end of the day, you just got to enjoy it. Part of the fun is it matters so much.

How do you feel about being the only MIAA A Conference player selected to play this year?

It’s kind of absurd, I don’t know. I think the MIAA definitely had kids that were good enough to be in this game, but I don’t really know. It [stinks], but it’ll be fine and it is what it is I guess.

How does it feel to be a St. Paul’s graduate?

It’s pretty weird because I’ve been at St. Paul’s just about my whole life for school and stuff. It’s a pretty awesome place and it’s going to be different not hanging with the same kids every day.

What was it about Virginia?

I’m not a cold-weather guy and it was a little warmer down there than most of the other schools I looked at. It’s a cool campus. At the time, coach [Dom] Starsia was really nice and now Lars [Tiffany] is there now and he seems like a nice guy, too. It just seems like a really cool place.

What do you see yourself doing down the road?

I’d like to own a restaurant one day, but that’s definitely a pipe dream. Me and [St. Paul’s assistant coach Mitch] Whiteley always joked about it — he’s going to be my cashier man! Just a little shack or something. That would be cool, but I’ll probably be working a desk like everyone else.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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12th annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic

Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson

Saturday, July 1

Girls: 5:30 p.m.

Boys: 8 p.m.

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