Stevenson women’s lacrosse junior midfielder Kaitlyn Kozlowski recently spoke with PressBox about her time at Mercy High School, the player who helped her grow on and off the field at Stevenson and more. The White Marsh, Md., native posted 22 points (15 goals, 7 assists) in 2019, then scored five goals during the shortened 2020 season.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Kaitlyn Kozlowski: I actually had only played soccer up until about fifth or sixth grade, and then my mom’s boss, both of his sons played in college. And he was like, “You should sign her up. It’s just something new.” I had always tried other sports, but lacrosse had never been one of them. So that’s how I sort of got into it. I’m actually from the area. I grew up in Perry Hall. I started with a Perry Hall rec program, and it actually worked out that that’s how my mom met my stepdad, so it worked out for everybody because it’s something that I evolved into and became my main sport over time. Now here I am in college, and I’m still at it.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
KK: I would say my mom has always been my biggest supporter. She’s always supported that I’ve done, and even though she had never played lacrosse herself she was so eager to learn the game with me and help me in whatever way that [she could]. And as I grew up, actually my high school coach, Brian Casserly, he’s become a second dad to me. He’s helped me through the entire process. He coached my sister in her rec league when she was younger and her club team, so I’ve known him most of my life. He’s been someone I can go to with not only my lacrosse problems — he watched me grow through high school and now at the college level — but he’s something I can go to with anything. I think that’s really important for people to have — on-the-field but also off-the-field relationships.
PB: What memories do you have from your time at Mercy?
KK: We played in the [IAAM B Conference] championship all four years I was there. Our first two years, we went to the finals and we lost and we ended up winning my junior and senior year. I think those are some of the best times with my class specifically. We did so much for the school [regarding] the athletic abilities inside of our grade. The relationships that I made in winning it with the girls that I had lost it with the previous years [were] something that was so important to me. Those are some of the best memories of my life — not even the championships themselves but the bus rides and everything in between. My senior year, we played on an actual grass field for the first time our first game, [but we initially] didn’t have the turf done, so we were in the gym for all of preseason. So it’s just the times and the struggles and all the fun stuff we went through together that makes it so much more worth it.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Stevenson?
KK: Stevenson sort of checked all the boxes for me. I’m in the marketing field, specifically the digital side. They have digital marketing program, which checked the boxes for me. I’m about 50 minutes from home, [and] it was important to me and all of my family to be able to come to my games and not have to drive hours to come see me play. I’m far enough [away] but I’m also close enough that it just fit for me. When I came here, what they were offering me with not only lacrosse but school, it was somewhere where I felt that I was going to be a great fit and that I would be able to bring my abilities and help this team while also growing as an individual.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Stevenson?
KK: I would say the times in the locker room. And for spring break, we went to Florida my freshman year. That was really fun, being on the plane and trying to get the entire team — obviously, we had a plan, but getting 30 girls onto a plane and to Florida is something that’s not always the easiest. … I think that I’ve had a great time forming the journey that makes it so much greater when we get to the point that we’ve been working toward — winning games and things like that.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about Stevenson and Owings Mills?
KK: I love the area. I never wanted to go to a school that was in sort of the middle of nowhere. I’m close enough to everything that I can get out and do things that are greater than lacrosse. Lacrosse and school aren’t my only things. I have a job. I also have time to hang out with all of my friends because we’re all so close together. Even though we’re not in a secluded area and there’s a ton of things to do, we can go to dinner if we want — with COVID, safely. It’s just fun to be able to get out and do different things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do if I was in an area if it was just the college campus.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
KK: I would have to say that it’s Shannon Snyder. She’s a senior. She’s actually one of my roommates. Shannon and I really didn’t know each other my freshman year. I was very in my own bubble and not very social my freshman year, but she’s someone who has helped me to grow on the field but also as an individual and as a leader. I want to be the teammate that she is to everyone else, and it’s really helped me to develop my game and also my skills off the field.
PB: Who is a player you looked up to early in your career at Stevenson?
KK: I play midfield, so Carly Bowes. She was someone who had taught me everything I needed to know coming in. I was thrown onto the field freshman year and had to pick everything up. She was someone who saw my struggles off of the field and helped me with those things but also pushed me on the field and helped with my confidence. I still talk to her to this day. We always visit each other, things like that, because her work ethic and the way that she leads is something I’ve always looked up to, and I was extremely lucky to have someone like that two years ahead of me.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
KK: I would say to enjoy the ride. It’s something I’ve experienced over the last two years that there’s nothing that you can take for granted. I think that’s the biggest thing that a lot of us have learned — that everything can be taken away in an instant. It’s the little moments that you might think are not as important, but they are actually the things that you’re going to remember the most over even some of the big wins. It’s going to be the times you had the most fun and you had the best experience with other people that you’re going to remember, so take the little things over the big things. Sometimes they can be your lifelong memories.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
KK: I guess I would like to work in a sports industry within marketing, but as long as I’m happy and I’m healthy and after lacrosse my body’s still lets me walk around and do things that I want to do, I’ll be happy. I just want to live my life to the fullest, wherever that path takes me along the way.
PB: What did you do last spring as far as lacrosse after the season was canceled?
KK: My sister played lacrosse with me in high school, but I actually forced her to get back into it in our backyard. She plays volleyball now. So we were out there. I worked out. Close to home, we were doing a lot of YouTube workouts, but I also have started teaching my little neighbors behind me — two boys, they are 10 and 6 now, I think. So it was just some fun trying to get them to catch and throw. We got them actually a lacrosse set, a little mini-set for Christmas, so that was something that kept me on my toes. It was different because I could work out and then I could look forward to teaching them after, so it was still fun to get lacrosse done and get what I needed to get done but then have something fun that was still within my field after it.
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/Stevenson Athletics