Mary Kate O’Neil, Boston College 2017, Midfield
Mary Kate O’Neil was born and bred on the lacrosse field. She’s been playing lacrosse since childhood and took her talent to Boston College in 2013. As a senior at BC, she competed in the NCAA Division I Final. Mary Kate recently discussed her tips for success and her college lacrosse career with us.
What are some tips you would give to a younger lacrosse player hoping to play at the college level one day?
My first tip would be to develop both hands: dominant and non-dominant. A player that can't be stopped by "forcing them weak" is a dangerous player to defend! My second tip would be to stay involved in your other sports as much as possible, some of the best lacrosse players I know didn't make lacrosse their solo priority until college, and even then, they were always engaged with and learning from athletes in other sports. Playing multiple sports will only increase your IQ and athleticism.
What was the highlight of your college lacrosse career?
My highlight would definitely be our 2017 National Championship run at Boston College. Those will be some of my most cherished memories for the rest of my life.
How was playing in a NCAA Div. 1 final?
It was totally surreal! Seriously. I couldn't stop pinching myself and asking, “Wait a second... where am I right now!?” But also truly special to feel like a home team playing in Gillette stadium as the so-called underdog Boston school against some really incredible teams.
What factors did you most heavily consider when choosing between college lacrosse programs?
I think a lot of things came into play when I was deciding but I definitely wanted to be at a place where, if you took lacrosse out of the equation, I would really be happy. BC was that place for me. I was also so inspired by my head coach Acacia's enthusiasm and vision for BC lacrosse. She is a passionate, supportive, and fearless leader, and I was excited to be a part of her program.
How do you calm nerves before a game?
I always liked to feel relaxed and in a good mood before a game, that's when I thought I played my best. To calm any nerves, I would usually dance/sing with my teammates in the locker room to some of our favorite songs. It was so fun and always loosened me up before playing.