Defensive anchor steadies team

May 14, 2008|By Pat O'Malley

Broadneck's Morgan O'Brien is a coaches' All-County senior defender and is set to play lacrosse at the Naval Academy. A two-year starter, O'Brien received an appointment to Navy in October, contingent on her attending Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., for a year. With a 3.5 grade point average and an SAT score of 1,500, O'Brien plans to get into the medical field.

O'Brien is one of five team captains on the Bruins and relishes her role as a defender. Bruins coach Karen Tengwall said defenders such as O'Brien don't get enough credit for a team's success.

When did you start getting interested in the Naval Academy?

Early last summer, and I made an official visit in early September. I was impressed with everything at the academy, and know that I will be in a good position for my future when I graduate. I was considering the University of Louisville at the time and realized that Navy is where I wanted to go.

How do you think the inaugural women's team at Navy is doing?

Great. They were undefeated at home, and it's definitely an up-and-coming program that I want to be a part of with all of the other new recruits.

How do you feel about not playing lacrosse for a year while you're attending NAPS?

Well, I will play basketball to stay in shape and try to work out with the boys lacrosse team. I don't see not playing for a year as a disadvantage. I will keep working on my stick skills.

What will you have to do to succeed at the next level?

I'm not the biggest person out there, at 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds, but you don't have to be big to be a good defender. I need get quicker feet because the college level is really fast. I think the karate I took for eight years has helped my discipline and composure.

How old were you when you started playing lacrosse?

I was 6 years old when I started playing in a St. Mary's program, and I started as an attack. I switched to defense in eighth grade and have loved it.

Do you feel overlooked playing defense while offensive players get most of the headlines?

Our coach tells us that we might not get in the newspapers much, but we are just as important and usually start the fire. On defense, you have to be a team player and not an individual. We have to be open to everybody.

What are your main responsibilities?

It's my responsibility to anchor the defense and to talk to everybody and make sure everybody knows what they are supposed to do. Communication with my goalie and everybody else, including the offensive players, is important.

What gives you the most satisfaction?

Knockdowns and takeaways get me fired up, and I had a few big ones when we beat South River this year when everybody made them the favorite.

How frustrating is it to lose to rival Severna Park?

It's very frustrating losing to them. Going into the county championship game last week, we practiced hard on draw controls and ... did well on them but still lost (14-8). Hopefully, we will get another chance to face them this week in the playoffs, and beating them would be the best thing to ever happen.

What do you like to do when you are not playing sports?

I like to go boating with my dad and friends or just hang out.

What's your favorite music?

I like pop and alternative.

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