UMBC women’s lacrosse junior defender Jessica Loveless recently talked to PressBox about playing lacrosse for her mother and with her sister growing up, who she looked up to early in her career with the Retrievers and more. Loveless, a native of Ijamsville, Md., started all 18 games for UMBC in 2019.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Jessica Loveless: My mom, [Jennifer], played lacrosse in high school, so she decided to put me and my sister, [Jackie], in it. I was in fourth grade and she was in first grade. She was our coach.
PB: What kind of memories do you have playing for your mom and with your sister?
JL: It’s actually a funny story because my sister is 17 and I’m 20, so there was an age difference and I played down to her level because it was my first year of lacrosse ever. I kind of just dominated the field because I was older than everyone.
PB: What are some of your favorite memories at UMBC so far?
JL: Last year we had I believe it was an overtime win against American. Our coach, Amy, she kind of drew up this random play where everyone pretty much got out of the way and we threw it to one of our best attackers, Lauren McDonald, and she scored — kind of like a Hail Mary, and we ended up beating American by one.
PB: What are some of your long-term goals for after lacrosse?
JL: I’m majoring in business technology administration, and I’d really like to get into IT sales. My dad, [John], does IT sales. He’s the regional sales leader at Avaya Government Solutions.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship on and off the field?
JL: Cassie Evans, she’s my best friend on the team currently. We play defense together. Cassie and I were both in the same class, so as freshmen I ended up playing and Cassie didn’t ever step on the field freshman year. So then sophomore year we were really dedicated. She was helping me throughout my game when I was playing [as a freshman], so the next year I helped her develop to become one of the starters. We just clicked after that. On the field, we work really well together now.
PB: Who were some of the lacrosse players you looked up to early in your career at UMBC?
JL: Carolyn Jamison. She was a midfielder. She was supposed to go to Maryland, I believe. She was an absolute beast. Her energy on the field and her confidence, she was one of our best 1v1 drivers. Playing defense coming in as a freshman, it was terrifying to see her coming at me 1v1, but it made me better as a player.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
JL: Probably Beth Nave, she was my high school coach. Coming into high school lacrosse, I had only played one year of club lacrosse. I hadn’t really played at a high level yet. Oakdale [High School] was a perennial power, so going in there I wasn’t really expecting to be on varsity, but I guess she saw potential in me and she put me on varsity. I originally was an attacker, and she’s the one who decided that I’d be a defender and now I play defense in college. So she kind of just made that switch for me and put me in a better position to be recruited.
PB: What advice would you give to young players?
JL: Take your time with recruiting. I feel like recruiting is a really fast pace now, so make sure you go to a place that you know that you’ll fit in and feel confident playing lacrosse there.
Photo Credit: Jack Miller