Erin Brown never has had much trouble with lacrosse goals -- either scoring them or meeting them.
After excelling on attack at Fallston High, Brown earned female athlete of the year honors at Essex Community College before heading off to pick up All-America accolades in her senior year at the University of Maryland.
Although she has come close, Brown remains one step short of her ultimate goal -- winning a spot on the United States' World Cup team.
This year, she survived cuts to 30 and 24 players, but Brown learned a few weeks ago that she would be an alternate to the U.S. team that hopes to defend its World Cup title in Edinburgh, Scotland, next month. The final cut to 16 players came Memorial Day weekend at the United States Women's Lacrosse Association National Tournament in Ohio.
"Basically, it means I have to work my butt off and I don't get to go," said Brown, with a laugh. As an alternate, Brown will not travel to Scotland unless another attack player is injured or cannot make the trip.
Disappointed but not a bit upset, Brown said she couldn't argue with any of the selections. She remained realistic about her chances all along, she said, especially because some of the other attack candidates had more international experience than she did.
"I kind of thought I wasn't going to make it," said Brown, 24. "It wasn't like I was trying to prepare myself -- it's just that at this particular time, a lot of [attack players] are getting ready to retire, so what better way to retire than to go out as a member of the World Cup team."
The Bel Air resident hopes to take another shot at the World Cup team four years from now. But after she finishes practicing with this World Cup team, Brown may slow down for a while -- at least long enough to get married. She plans to wed Ken Bell in October.
Always athletic, Brown grew up riding horses and playing soccer and basketball. In her freshman year at Fallston, she discovered lacrosse.
"I was always serious about lacrosse," said Brown. "The sport just kind of fit me. All you need is gratification, and it's enough to drive you."
A three-sport standout at Fallston and Essex Community College, Brown settled for field hockey and lacrosse at Maryland. In her senior year, she dropped field hockey and has concentrated on lacrosse ever since.
Now, however, it may be time for a break.
"I don't know if I'll be on the U.S. team for the next four years. But that's not to say I wouldn't be one of those people who can come back and try out [for the next World Cup] at open trials. I want to be the best player I can be, and I think I have some growing room."
Brown has spent almost four years on the U.S. Squad, a pool of 60 chosen annually from which players are selected for international tours. Two years ago, she made the Under-23 team and gained international experience when England's national team toured the U.S.
Her former college teammate Jenny Ulehla may know Brown's (( abilities better than anyone because the two honed their skills against each other for two years at Maryland.
"What makes Erin so good is that she's very quick in a small area," said Ulehla, a Maryvale graduate who made the World Cup team on defense. "She'll get open for you and if you feed it to her where she wants it, all she needs is a little space."
When she's not playing lacrosse, Brown promotes the sport and its equipment as a marketing assistant for STX Inc., a manufacturer of lacrosse equipment and other sporting goods in Baltimore.