The trip to the game field goes one of two ways for the field hockey team’s sophomore goalkeeper Katie Lass, and it all depends on the day of the week. Lass, who has started every game for the Bombers for the past two seasons, follows certain pregame superstitious routines to help maintain her ongoing success.
During the week, with games normally played on Wednesdays, Lass finds herself literally running from class. She makes it to the locker room with only minutes to mentally prepare before team warm-ups.
Weekend games are more relaxed. Before these games, she walks — not runs — to the A&E center, making sure to avoid stepping on sidewalk cracks. Lass always walks through the same door: the automated one on the left side. Once inside, she sidesteps to tap the four leaf clover on the right pillar and heads to the locker room.
She then suits up in her gear, keeping to herself as she goes through her routine, for she is the lone goalie on the team after junior former goalkeeper Blaire Janney left the team following her sophomore campaign due to injury.
“This year is kind of different,” she said. “I don’t really have someone to get psyched up with, and I kind of have to rely on myself.”
Head coach Tracey Houk, who scouted Lass when she was in high school, said Lass earned the starting nod from the beginning of her career.
“She’s got a great eye for the ball,” Houk said. “She’s a team player, she’s a hard worker, her attitude is great, she improved throughout the preseason, she meshed well with our defense. There was no question.”
Lass started all 18 games during her freshman season as a goalkeeper, allowing only 36 goals and maintaining a save percentage of .812, which ranked first in the Empire 8.
Additionally, Lass secured the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year and second team all-conference honors.
With the goalkeeper position comes a great deal of responsibility. Lass must lead her team on the field, staying loud while locking down the defense as its keystone. She is integral to the team’s success because she can see the entire playing field.
Lass depicts herself as quiet in person, but loud on the field. She said on the field, she directs her teammates, reinforcing what they are doing well and working through what they need to improve on.
Freshman midfielder and back Kiaria Anglero said the team looks up to Lass’ leadership, and her vision of the field is of utmost importance.
“We all listen to her because she’s in the back and can see everything,” Anglero said, “We want to listen to her to make sure we are doing things to put ourselves in a good position.”
The Bombers have struggled so far this season, sitting at 7–8 with one game left to play. Last weekend, the team dropped a road game to Stevens Institute of Technology 3–2, which likely eliminated their possibility of qualification for the Empire 8 tournament.
Lass, however, has been a bright spot on the team despite its struggles, as she has had another outstanding season. She ranks first in the Empire 8 in shutouts with five, three more than any other keeper. She ranks second in save percentage at .815 and second in goals against average with 2.2.
She has already asserted herself as one of the top goalies in the conference, yet she said she feels she still has something to prove.
“I want to give 100 percent,” she said. “Even when people tell me that I’m doing well or giving it my all, I always know I can do better.”