Fresno State ’20
Laurel Maunder started playing lacrosse in 6th grade, when the first Sacramento program started up. Like most 6th graders, she didn’t envision herself as a goalie, but all that changed two years later when an opposing coach commented on her natural skill in the cage. She’s played in the National Tournament in both 2013 and 2014, representing Northern California, and she joined Tenacity just after sophomore year. Last Friday, she celebrated her graduation from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, where she was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Italian Club, and participated in community service. Laurel will be continuing her lacrosse career and academic journey at Fresno State next year, and while she’s excited, she’ll miss the camaraderie and spirit of her high school team.
It can be hard to convince young players to step into the cage. Any advice for coaches trying to get new players to embrace the role of goalie?
I like comparing goalie to a quarterback. We call the shots and see the entire field. Everyone knows who you are and when you have a really good game, it feels great. Even if you don’t have a good game, your teammates are always there for you because they know you’re doing something that they couldn’t do. It takes a lot to step in front of shots, but when my teammates and my coaches cheer me on it really pumps me up.
How do you handle the mental challenges of being both the quarterback and the last line of defense? It’s a really unique position on the field.
I’m pretty mentally calm, so I don’t get very worked up or emotional. It helps a lot, especially when you’re down by a few goals and just need to keep your head in the game. I’ll take a few deep breaths after a goal’s been scored or talk to my teammates for a couple minutes about what we need to fix. We’re never negative about it. We just say this is what happened, this is what needs to be fixed and this is how we’re gonna do it.
Do you have any favorite memories from this past season? Your senior season?
Beating Granite Bay to win the league title. Our whole team stormed the field and we had a lot of people in the stands. I don’t know how to describe it. We were so happy. It was only the third time our team ever beat Granite Bay and I’d never beat them before.
What kind of community service have you been involved with during high school?
My favorite program is called Evening of Dreams, which is a prom for Special Needs students. We go as dates for them, so we have dinner there and dance. It’s a huge celebration. Our lacrosse team signed up together, and the football team did it too. It’s such a rewarding experience. We signed up as a team, but it’s not about the lacrosse.
How did you decide on Fresno State? What was your experience with the recruiting process?
Sophomore year to junior year, I was deciding whether I wanted to play Division 1 or Division 3, so I toured a lot of schools. I thought I didn’t want to go to Fresno State—I thought it was too hot there!—but then I toured the school with my parents and went to their clinic. They showed me all the athletic facilities, which are brand new and so nice, and I got to meet the team. The team had such a strong bond and that’s something I really wanted.
Are you nervous about anything, heading off to college?
Trying to balance lacrosse and school work. I like to challenge myself in classes and keep my grades up pretty high, so I really want to make sure I find that good balance. But I’m excited. I think I want to major in nursing or do something medical.
How did you decide on nursing?
I took bio and bio-sciences all four years in high school. My AP bio teacher kind of encouraged me. She said, ‘You love bio, but you really like human interaction too,’ so she was really pushing me towards pre-med studies. And then I took human anatomy and physiology this year, which was really interesting because it was basically biology but focused on the human body. It was fun. If I’m sore, I’ll know exactly what muscles are sore and how to stretch them because I know how they’re positioned in the body.
Any advice for younger goalies training on their own? What kind of work were you doing?
It takes a lot of self-motivation to get out there. I used to read Lacrosse Magazine and find drills, or watch YouTube videos of really cool goalie saves. That’s how I motivated myself. And the girls on my team would always ask me to go out early and take shots. Sometimes I juggle with a partner, and I do ladders and wall ball.
How did joining up with Tenacity change your experience with lacrosse?
I started to take it more seriously. I started to think of it not just as a hobby, or something I do on the side, but as a part of me. It’s kind of like my career right now. It helps me stay motivated.
How do you get yourself pumped up for games?
Our defensive unit wrote a word on our wrists for every game. I think the first one we did was force, as a reminder to work as a force and not as individuals. It really helps, especially towards the end of the season.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a coach?
My high school coach, Randy Gross, who also coaches with Tenacity, always says ‘At the moment of truth, you won’t rise to the level of expectation but fall to the level of your training.’ That’s always stuck with all of us. He’ll start to say it and the whole team will finish it.