Each week, The Baltimore Sun will publish a Q&A with a college lacrosse player or coach. Today's guest is Navy senior goalie Annie Foky. Coming off surgery and rehab for a torn left anterior cruciate ligament late last spring, Foky is as quick and fearless as before with a .512 save percentage and a 6.26 goals-against average through the first four games. No stranger to injury, she had two operations to repair a torn shoulder labrum, most recently after her freshman year. She bounced back as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. Foky, from Charlottesville, Va., plans to become a naval aviator.
What attracted you to the Naval Academy?
It's definitely a different experience and something unique to pick in the recruiting process, but a lot of my family had gone to West Point. My brother was swim captain at West Point, so I had always seen the military academy and that lifestyle. Initially, wasn't sold on it, but when you're given an opportunity as special and as unique as this, I really found it difficult to give it up especially without trying it.
What was the most difficult part of coming back from the ACL surgery?
I think just finding the pace of the game again. I had gone through it a couple times with the shoulder, but seeing the ball and catching the pace of the ball coming off somebody's stick are things that deteriorate pretty quickly when you're not playing the game every day. It wasn't necessarily the communication or the style of the team that I had trouble with at first, it was finding the ball and really trusting my knee and taking the steps that I needed to get the save.
Describe your style as a goalie?
I'm a pretty athletic goalie. I like to move around. I like to go for interceptions and ground balls and run after shots. In spite of all the things I've done to hurt that side of my career, I've really worked on staying active and being an important field player if that's what's required … I think my biggest asset that I bring to the team right now is that I'm not afraid to chase the ball or run down the clock or something like that.
There has been talk lately about save percentages going down for Division I goalies. Do you think changes in the rules have made it tougher on goalies?
I'm not sure necessarily [it's] the changes but I think the interpretations. There are a lot of opportunities for attackers to take shots right on top of goalies with defenders that get put behind (the attacker after a foul) and things like that, so I think the lowering of save percentages is more a result of the game trying to be safer by more whistles and more defenders being put behind, rather than [the difference between] an active goalie who saves less balls versus a traditional goalie who stands in there and is ready for the shot.
Why do you want to be a pilot?
I don't know if I have a really good answer for that (laughs). There are a couple different options you can take or ask to be a part of after graduation and, for me, that community seemed to be the most similar to my style and pace of life. I was excited to make a difference and hopefully, I'll be doing something humanitarian-based.
Your brother Daniel graduated from West Point. Is there much Army-Navy rivalry in the family?
Absolutely, especially when it comes time for football season. Lucky enough for me, they don't have a women's lacrosse team right now that's varsity, so he can at least root for Navy a couple times a year when it comes to my games. But Army-Navy football season, him and my uncle and the rest of the family take every opportunity to make jabs at me.
Haven't you been on the winning side of that for a while?
Yeah, I think we're at 13 years right now. I can't imagine what's going to happen once Army gets a victory.