Owls' Semones has one goal left before graduation: a state title

3-sport star has led perfect Westminster to state semifinals for 4th straight year

May 19, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Alyssa Semones is one of the highest-scoring athletes in Westminster history. A standout in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, the senior has scored 1,212 points on the basketball court, second all-time in program history, and has 226 goals in lacrosse. She has 70 goals and 48 assists this season, and has led a balanced No. 4 Owls lacrosse team to a 15-0 record and a berth in the state semifinals for the fourth straight year. Semones, who has a 4.3 GPA, is considering majoring in kinesiology when she attends Penn State next year. She signed with the Nittany Lions in November and will join her sister Kristin, who will be a junior at Virginia Tech, in playing college lacrosse.

How did you get started playing sports?

My dad got me and my sister in T-ball, and then after that, we decided we wanted to play soccer in the fall. I was 4. Lacrosse had just come into the area, and our soccer coach was like, "Do you guys want to try out for Gamber lacrosse?" so my sister and I both played. We started basketball later when we decided we wanted to play a winter sport, too.

When did lacrosse become the No. 1 sport for you?

It was pretty early, probably after we played for a few years. I just played soccer to stay in shape, and I love lacrosse. It got really big in the area, and it was one of the sports a lot of girls were playing because they knew they could go to college for it, so I started playing club and I kept liking it even more. It's definitely my favorite sport.

How much are you going to miss soccer and basketball?

Soccer, not so much. Basketball, I'm actually going to miss a lot because that was a sport I ended up loving a lot more than I thought I would. I loved that almost as much as lacrosse. I just like the fast pace of basketball. Senior night was really sad. Our last game, I got really sad because it hit me I'm never going to play again.

Do you think you are a better lacrosse player because you played three sports?

Yeah. I think it definitely helps because it keeps you in shape. Playing all the sports helps with field awareness, court awareness and makes you a better athlete and that carries over to every sport. I feel like a lot of the principles in every sport are the same, like the footwork and defense.

What has been the key to the success of your lacrosse team this season?

This year we're all really close. I feel like this year, we have a really balanced attack. In the past, we've had four or five people we can really go to, and I feel this year we have seven on attack we can trust with the ball who can score in pressure situations. I feel like we're more complete.

How badly do you want a state title?

I want it so bad because my freshman year we lost in state semis to Severna Park, and sophomore year we made it to state finals. That was the worst one because we lost, 7-5, and that one is still in the back of my mind. We had the opportunity to win that game, and I think about that game all the time, the things I could have done differently that might have changed it. Last year, we played South River in the state semis, and we lost. Every year we get so close, and I want to win a state championship just once.

Do you feel any pressure because you're undefeated?

I feel like in the season, we did. When we played Century, Winters Mill and Liberty, we didn't want to ruin the record. I feel like now that we're in the playoffs, it's not really as much because you either win or you're done. It's not about the undefeated record, it's that we all want to win states.

What do you think will be the biggest adjustment to college lacrosse?

The difference in the pace of the game, I feel like is going to be totally different. I'll probably go from being one of the strongest girls physically, and then when you go to college all those girls are stronger. You're going to have to work that much harder. It's kind of like starting over. No one knows you, and you've got to prove yourself.

Why Penn State?

I was looking at Duke, [James Madison], Penn State, Maryland and Hopkins. Me and my sister both love football, so I wanted a good football school. I went to Penn State and I loved the campus. I felt like it would be a great school and the lacrosse program was getting better. It was the perfect fit.

What has been the highlight of your career at Westminster?

Getting to play in the [lacrosse] state finals with my sister sophomore year. Even though we lost, just the atmosphere of being at states was amazing. It's cool because it's at UMBC, so it's a different playing field and it makes you feel like you're in college. So many people come to that game, and you're just playing for a lot more.

What role do you think sports has played in making you the person you are today?

I think it's the work ethic because the work ethic my parents instilled in me through sports carries over to school and things in general. If I'm going to do something, I just do it to the best of my ability. [Playing sports] takes a lot of my time, so it kind of defines who I am, being an athlete. The days when I don't have practice, I come home and I'm bored. It'll be 5 o'clock and I'm like, "What am I supposed to do until like 10?" I don't know.

What are you looking forward to most about graduation?

I'm excited, but I'm kind of starting to get sad about it. I love high school. So many people can't wait to leave, and I loved every minute of high school. It's kind of sad to leave your friends, but I'm excited to go to Penn State and meet new people, start over and play lacrosse there.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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