Finding home in net

The Baltimore Sun

One of the area's top lacrosse goalkeepers, Dana Cahill was a second-team All-Metro selection last season. Cahill, who signed early with Penn State, faces many of the area's toughest attack players when she's in net for Mercy in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference. She has a .504 save percentage as the Magic heads into the last week of competition before the tournament. Cahill, 18, plans to major in communications and is interested in public relations. A PR intern at Mercy, she travels to local middle schools to tell students about Mercy and her experiences there. Cahill also plays lacrosse for the ROME club team. She is also vice president of the Girls Athletic Association at Mercy.

Were you always a goalie?

No. I started at center and then went back to defense. I guess I was in the 11-12 league at Lutherville, and I was one of the tallest players on the team, so my coach was like, "We need a backup goalie. It's probably never going to happen. You know, just in case." I'm like, "OK, I'll volunteer for it." I'd never picked up a [goalie] stick in my life, and during Lax Splash, which is the biggest tournament when you're that young, me and my dad got to the parking lot and he had a different type of look on his face. I said, "Dad, what's wrong?" and he said, "You're playing goalie today?" I started to laugh. I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. How did it go?

We made it to the championship, and I've loved it ever since. I never have gone back. What is it that you like so much?

I didn't have very good technique back then, but I just wasn't afraid of the ball. I liked the feeling when you've made a save and your teammates and your coaches and the parents would go crazy. I wouldn't mind getting hit. I mean, it hurt, but with the adrenaline pumping, you get over it. Describe your style as a goalie.

I'm pretty aggressive. I come out a lot for interceptions and ground balls, and if somebody's close enough, I'll come out of the crease and try to stop them. I've always been like that. I guess it's from being a field player, and I always have a lot of energy, but I have to make sure I commit all the way or don't go at all. It's a risk. What is the biggest challenge to being a goalie?

The biggest challenge is that you have to keep your head up at all times, especially when you're one of the biggest leaders on the team as a goalie. You can't let your defenses down, and you can't show other players that you're upset if the other team starts to score a lot. You have to help your team realize that you're still in it. Tell me about the end of the Maryvale game when you made the big save to preserve the 9-8 win.

That last shot was a free position, and I wasn't even sure of the exact time, because we don't have a working scoreboard, but I knew there wasn't much time left. I knew this was going to be big. After I saved it, our team was so excited because it was our first league win. What's the best advice anyone every gave you?

A lot of things my parents say I've really taken to heart with lacrosse or just life in general, but one of the things they always tell me is that anything's possible if you work hard. I've always lived by that, and I will continue to. It's true, because I've worked hard as a goalie, and I'm pretty good at it.

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