Sam Darcangelo learned about lacrosse at a young age from her father, national Hall of Famer Jim Darcangelo, a two-time All-American at Towson and a U.S. national team player. She took to the sport quickly and turned into an All-Metro second-team player at Maryvale.
A versatile midfielder, Darcangelo had scored 44 goals and added nine assists entering Wednesday for the No. 5 Lions this spring. She also plays for the ROME lacrosse club and for the Lions' field hockey team. She has signed to play at Florida next season. A member of the National Honor Society as well as math and science honor societies, her GPA is just under 4.0.
How did you get started playing lacrosse?
Mostly because of my dad. When I was really little he always wanted to put the stick in my hand, because he was on the USA team four times and then he started a lacrosse store (Lax World). And then I fell in love with lacrosse. My mom (Marilyn Darcangelo) coached me when I was little and she's always been a rock for me and encouraged me to try my best.
What is your earliest memory of lacrosse?
I remember when I was really little it was raining and we had a game and nobody wanted to play. We had one umbrella and we were all huddled under the umbrella. Of course my mom was the coach and she was like, "Sam, you have to go and play." I remember there was a girl who was so tall and she was really fast and my mom was like, "Go on her," and I was like, "No." (Laughs) I just remember playing in the rain and trying to keep up with this girl.
When did you get out from under the umbrella and really start liking it?
Probably around fifth grade when I started ROME. I fell in love with it. Me and my dad, every day we'd just go out and play catch. We have a field and a little goal, so he'd shoot with me. I loved doing Beach Lax and all those tournaments. They're so fun, and they make lacrosse more fun.
What role has your dad played in your career?
He's who I look up to. He was so amazing, and I just want to make him proud and be as good as he was. I feel like I need to keep up with him.
Do you feel pressured to do that or is it just internal pressure?
My parents support me no matter what. My dad's all the time saying, "I'm so proud of you. You're my hero." It's more in my head. I don't think they realize it as much as it is a factor to me.
Do you always put a lot of pressure on yourself?
Before games, I set goals for myself, so I set how many goals I want to get, how many assists, interceptions, stuff on defense and it feels great when I reach them. Because I feel like I set my goals so high, in games when I don't do well even though I still might have done well to me I failed, because I didn't reach the goals I wanted to reach. And in school, it's gotten so much better senior year, but as a freshman and sophomore if I got below a 90, I'd go home and cry. I'd be, "No. I got a B." My mom would be like, "Sam, that's ridiculous. You put too much pressure on yourself." (Laughs)
Have you worked on that, thinking your standards might be a tad too high?
Yeah. My dad is like, "Sam, stuff happens. You're going to have off days in lacrosse. You're going to have off tests in school. Just brush it off and make it up for the next game."
What's your favorite part of the game?
I think it's the feeling when you're on defense and you can see that the girl is passing it to your girl and you get the interception. Then you start the whole play for your team on attack. Goals are awesome and assists, but I feel like interceptions are really cool, because it's stopping their play and creating an opportunity for your team.
What's you role on this Maryvale team?
I'm one of the captains — me, Carly Ross and Kaylin Ziemba. I like to motivate our team. We're all motivators. We try to get our team up whenever we're down. I remember last year, I wasn't a captain, but it was our (IAAM A Conference tournament) semifinal game against Roland Park and we were losing 6-0. Me and Carly were like, "We've got to get our team pumped up." So we just tried to create plays for other people, force it to goal a little bit just because we wanted to get to goal to get our team pumped up.
As a senior, what additional leadership roles are you called upon to play?
I feel like just being a captain is different than just being on the team. You have to set the example. Before, it wasn't like I necessarily had to, but I wanted to. This year, the younger kids are looking up to me, so I have to realize everything I'm doing is being watched by other players. I need to make sure that it's a good example.
What are you looking forward to most about college lacrosse?
I'm looking forward to how it's going to be faster and I feel like that's something to be worried about too. I'm going to have to adjust to that, but I feel like it's a whole different game. It's going to be more exciting having a lot more fans coming to the games, because we don't have that many. Having a new set of coaches is going to be cool. I'm especially excited to be coached by Caitlyn McFadden. She was so great at Maryland.
Why did you choose Florida?
First, I really like the weather down south (laughs). I feel like I play better in the warm weather. I really liked the school. I went three times before I made my decision. The palm trees — I love palm trees. When I finally got to meet the coaches, they were all so nice and funny and when I went on my overnight with the girls, they were so nice. I got along with them really well. I was like, "I can really see myself here."
Florida is going to have a lot of seniors next year, so are you prepared to wait your turn if necessary?
I'm expecting that. That's one thing my parents have told me, "Don't expect to play a lot. Work hard and try to see as much field as you can, but don't be disappointed when you don't get as much playing time as you normally do." There's so many good players at Florida.
Isn't that going to be tough for someone who's as competitive as you are?
It is going to be tough. I hate being on the sidelines watching. I wish I could be out there and make a difference, but as a freshman (at Maryvale), I got taken out a little bit, not a ton, but I know the feeling. I don't like the feeling, but I know it's something I'm going to have to do. It's probably not going to be only me, so at least I'll have my friends to be with me and deal with that too.
What are you most looking forward to about graduation?
Summer. I am so excited just to be able to be free and be with my friends. It's the first summer since like fifth grade that I don't have tournaments to go to. As much as I love tournaments, it'll be fun to have one summer to relax.
What day of your sporting life would you most like to live over?
Any time that we play McDonogh, because I think it would be the coolest thing ever to be able to beat them. I feel like everyone just expects them to win. We were playing Dulaney the other day and the ref asked me, "How's your season going so far?" and I was like, "We lost three games, like McDonogh." He was like, "Well, that's expected." It would be cool to beat them as such underdogs. I feel like we have the ability, but I feel like they get in our heads.