Aili Knapp, Winters Mill, girls lacrosse

Q&A --

May 13, 2007|By BILL FREE

At 5 feet 1, Winters Mill sophomore attacker Aili Knapp is usually one of the smallest players on the field, but Falcons coach Courtney Vaughn said Knapp "is not afraid of anyone and never backs down." Vaughn moved up Knapp from the junior varsity midway through her freshman season. She is one of eight underclassmen who start for the Falcons. Knapp, who keeps the team charged up with her scrappy style, has 13 ground balls, one goal and two assists this season for Winters Mill (9-5). "She's a very gutsy player," Vaughn said.

What is it like being the smallest player on your team?

Well, I kind of like it, because even though I'm the smallest player on the team, it kind of makes me work harder. You get pushed around a little bit on attack, it's harder. But it just makes you work.

What was it like being called up to the varsity last season midway through the year?

I was really nervous at first. I was nervous because I was on the team with all seniors, and I felt like I had to make a really good first impression. I didn't try too hard. I think I did an OK job.

Are you excited about the future of the team?

I'm really excited because I think we're going to do really great in the playoffs this year. I think next year, we're going to put it all together and be really good. I think we can beat Century and Liberty in the playoffs. Every game, every practice, we get better every time we see each other.

What's your role on such a young team?

Usually I learn from the upperclassmen, and I try to keep everyone focused. I try to pump up enthusiasm. I try to put everyone in a good mood and compliment people all the time. I try not to criticize people, but just talk about things we all need to work on.

Do your parents worry about you getting hurt?

Well, sometimes they do, because they'll look at me out on the field and see how small I am compared to some people. But they know I'm pretty tough.

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