Grace Gaeng has committed to play lacrosse for Maryland next year. But the John Carroll senior also loves soccer, and she will be a key factor in John Carroll's quest to win a third Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title in four years. The forward gives the Patriots offense a spark and has helped them start 5-0. Gaeng helped John Carroll win the IAAM A Conference lacrosse title last spring.
How much of a motivating factor is not winning the IAAM A Conference title last fall after winning it two years in a row?
It was something that was really, really motivating. My class wanted to win it all four years, and that would have been really sweet. But then came last year, and that's motivating us this year, definitely. Last year we lost a lot of seniors, and I don't think a lot of people thought we were going to be as good this year. We like to try and prove them wrong.
How difficult was it to pick lacrosse in college over soccer?
I wasn't really recruited that much for soccer because I didn't play club ball as much recently. I was just leaning towards lacrosse. I was looking at both Maryland and Virginia. I just visited College Park and just loved it and loved the coaches. That was probably the biggest factor for me. I'm looking forward to it next year.
Who's been your mentor in sports?
Probably my dad, Chris. He played lacrosse and soccer in college, too. He went through the same things I did. He played at John Carroll, and whenever I'm having trouble or I'm down on myself, he'll play with me in the backyard. He's always supporting me and always helping me feel better and always there to help me with things that I need help with.
What are some of your hobbies away from sports?
I really like art a lot. I like to draw. I'll do sketches and painting, too. I've drawn things in my backyard. I'm taking ceramics and studio art in school right now, and I enjoy it.
What do you want to do after college?
I'd like to be a college coach, probably in lacrosse. I enjoy the thrill of the game. I just want to stay with the whole sport, and you make a lot of good relationships there. A lot of coaches who've recruited me have impacted me, and I'd like to do that. It's a cool job to do.
What do you like to do to relax and have fun?
I like to hang out with friends. Basically, my best friends are from lacrosse and soccer teams. We just hang out. We even play capture the flag at John Carroll.
What are you trying to improve on this season?
I want to try to be more of a leader, on the field and off. We're all really close. Even the seniors are best friends with sophomores and juniors. When you're on the field, you make sure they know where their spots are and that they know what to do. That's the best thing. I love it. We're really close. There's no separation, and that's a big factor once you step on the field. You mesh a lot better.