SEABROOK – Kasey Stevens etched her place in Prince George’s County lacrosse history last spring. The midfielder piled up 100 goals, including seven in the championship game, to lead Bowie High School to the inaugural county title. In one dominant effort after another, Stevens showed fledgling local squads the possibilities for what their future might […]
SEABROOK – Kasey Stevens etched her place in Prince George’s County lacrosse history last spring.
The midfielder piled up 100 goals, including seven in the championship game, to lead Bowie High School to the inaugural county title.
In one dominant effort after another, Stevens showed fledgling local squads the possibilities for what their future might look like with proper time to grow. Those highlights offered few guarantees as she began her next chapter, though.
Stevens knew it would be up to her to show how those defense-gashing skills could translate to the college game at Jacksonville University.
“I just had the mindset that I had to work harder than anyone else on the field,” Stevens said.
She has made great strides to earn a spot on Jacksonville’s second midfield line in her freshman season. Stevens played in all 16 games so far, registering 12 goals and two assists with 20 draw controls.
Coach Mindy McCord began the fall thinking Stevens might be able to get on the field early in a defensive role. She’s been pleasantly surprised by the youngster’s progression into a well-rounded reserve.
“She’s probably one of my favorite players to coach,” McCord said. “Just because of that competitive spirit she has.”
Stevens’ unique path to a Division I roster is a testament to that. At 7-years-old, she was playing soccer through the Bowie Boys and Girls Club when a parent approached her mother about trying lacrosse.
Stevens fell hard for the new sport and dove in headlong. She made the transition to the Anne Arundel County-based club Maryland United in fifth grade. That opportunity ultimately offered the exposure needed to emerge as a college prospect, even without playing at one of the region’s many private high school powers.
Instead, Stevens opted to stick at Bowie, where she helped the program transition from a club to a varsity sport. Her high-scoring career with the Bulldogs finished with her hoisting the county championship trophy.
Of course, the sport has plenty of room to grow in the county, but that long-awaited scene offered more proof of its continued development.
“Now, it’s about keeping the tradition going,” Stevens said. “I hope there are more people that come out as I did and go play where they want to play (in college.)”
Stevens picked Jacksonville over Michigan and Old Dominion to continue her career. McCord put on the hard sell – eventually.
The first few times McCord saw Stevens at recruiting events, she came away unimpressed. It took some persistence from a Maryland United club coach to get McCord interested. He convinced her that Stevens had the physical tools and high-energy style to be a good fit in Jacksonville’s up-tempo system.
These days, McCord is more grateful than ever for that tip. Stevens has made a difference with her athleticism at the draw circle and speed in transition.
It’s been a good match. The coach is quick to point out when Stevens could be working harder. And the midfielder is always eager to please.
“Coach McCord challenged me from the first practice,” Stevens said. “She knew that I could take whatever she threw at me.”
Stevens responded well enough to get on the field for early-season nonconference matchups with NCAA regulars Massachusetts and Florida. In Atlantic Sun play, she has garnered more minutes and gotten more involved in the offense. The highlight was her first career hat trick in a win at Howard University on April 2 in front of a slew of friends and family.
The Dolphins have compiled an 11-5 record heading into this week’s Atlantic Sun Tournament. They are in good position to challenge for a title, which would come with the program’s fourth NCAA berth in five years.
For Stevens, the postseason means more adjustments to another new stage. As usual, she’s ready to attack the challenge with hard work.
“I know that I have to keep the pace pushed and go for everything on defense,” Stevens said. “Every ground ball. Every check. Every pass. I’ve got to have it.”