Towson women’s lacrosse senior defender Sami Chenoweth recently spoke with PressBox about the teammate she looked up to in high school and college, her favorite spot to hang out in Towson and more. Chenoweth, a native of Manchester, Md., set a single-season CAA record for caused turnovers (64) in 2019. Her 3.76 caused turnovers per game led the nation.
PressBox: How did you become interested in playing lacrosse?
Sami Chenoweth: It was around the time when I met my best friend. She was already playing it. So I decided, ‘You know what, why don’t I give this a shot? It’ll be something fun to do.’ I think I was like around 5 or 6 when I started. Her name is Kiely Bunce. She plays at Stevenson.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Towson?
SC: One, it was definitely the distance because it’s only 45 minutes away from my house and it was also a great Division I program. One of the girls I went to high school with actually came here, so she kind of got me interested in it. It was just a great program. [Towson head coach Sonia Lamonica] really convinced me that this is a great program and I would do a lot for it, so I just decided to make the commitment and I was like, “OK, this is the place for me.” And then it’s only gone up from there.
PB: Who was the teammate that played with you in high school and college?
SC: Colby Unkle. She was a senior when I was a freshman both in high school and in college.
PB: Was she someone you looked up to in high school and in college?
SC: In high school, since I was a freshman on varsity, obviously I was really nervous. Just looking at her and watching her play, I was like, “Wow, this girl is amazing.” I didn’t even think anything about Towson until I saw her Instagram posts and I was like, “Wow, she’s doing really well here.”
PB: What are some of your favorite memories at Towson so far?
SC: There’s a couple. One of my favorite memories is actually beating Florida my sophomore year. It was just such an underdog moment and nobody thought we could do it. Just coming in and doing that was amazing. I guess it’s not really a memory – I guess it’s just building up the friendships. Not only did I get to play with Colby, who was four years older than me, but I also get to play with one of my other really close friends, Rayna Deltuva. She also went to the same high school as me. [That] we’ve been able to see each other grow as players and as people has been, I’m going to say, one of the greatest memories I’ve had.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about Towson, both the town and the university?
SC: I love that the university and town are within walking distance. I haven’t been able to really have my car here or have a parking pass, so just everything being able to be within walking distance has been honestly so easy for me.
PB: Do you have a favorite restaurant or spot around town?
SC: I would have to say that the Greene Turtle is a really good place to kind of kick back and if you want to go up and get something quick to eat. It’s where we spend a lot of hangout time.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship on and off the field?
SC: Rayna’s one of my closest friends, but also one of my other closest friends is Shelby Stack. She’s one of my roommates. I think those two people, I’m able to really push myself with them because I never know what I’m expecting. They’re both midfielders, so they both push me when I’m on defense to play my best because they both play so differently so you have to adjust to either of them. Rayna’s more of a cutter; Shelby’s more of a dodger. Them pushing me is making me a better defender. And even on defense, we all have that chemistry on defense. Sometimes we don’t even have to talk to each other because we know exactly where each other is going to be.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
SC: Definitely it was a lot of my coaches. I’ve always had tough coaches growing up with very high expectations, so I think that really influenced my game, like wanting to work better and wanting to do the extra stuff. In high school, it was Shelly Brezicki. She’s a great coach at Manchester Valley. She always had high expectations that were very hard to reach, but you were definitely capable of doing it if you worked hard. The other one was Erin Millon. She was my club coach. She … sends me texts every now and then saying, “OK, good luck today,” [or], “Oh, congratulations on this.” I just think that their influences and their expectations and them believing in me has helped me so much to grow as a player.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
SC: I don’t want to jinx it, but I really do want to keep continuing my game. I really do want to play in the WPLL, so hopefully I get drafted there. I’m a biology major now, so I’m hoping to use that to pursue a [physician’s assistant] career. My mom, [Shannon], was a biology major. She also went to Towson, so I guess it’s come full circle.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
SC: I would say always keep pushing yourself — even the little things count — and to always have confidence in yourself, never hesitate on what you’re thinking. Just go ahead and do it.
Photo Credit: Kevin Tellekamp