UMBC women’s lacrosse senior attacker Lily Kennedy recently spoke with PressBox about the influence her grandfather had on her, playing on the same team as her sister at Marriotts Ridge High School and more. The Marriottsville, Md., native posted 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 2019 and 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) during the shortened 2020 season. Kennedy was part of the Marriotts Ridge team that won the MPSSAA Class 3A/2A state title in 2014.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Lily Kennedy: My mom’s side of the family always played lacrosse. My grandfather on that side played lacrosse at Johns Hopkins, and so he coached my mom, [Beth], and my mom coached me. So it was just a family thing. I also have three siblings, [Gracie, Mak and Topher], and all three play lacrosse as well. So it’s just kind of a lacrosse family.
PB: How did growing up in a lacrosse family influence your growth as a lacrosse player?
LK: It was very convenient because every single day I had my three siblings and both my parents. We’re a family of six, so we would play 3v3 in our backyard on our lacrosse goal. My siblings always pushed me to be better at lacrosse, and having my mom as my coach was even better because we had all the cones and the balls at our house to work on stick work and play wall ball and all that stuff.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
LK: I would say my grandfather, [Ed Skoglin], the one who played at Johns Hopkins. He loved lacrosse. He’s the one that made me love the sport. He’s the one who got our family started. Seeing his love for it made me love it even more.
PB: What are some of your favorite memories at Marriotts Ridge?
LK: We won states my freshman year of high school, which was phenomenal, but to be honest with you, my favorite season in high school was when I was a senior and my younger sister, [Gracie], was a freshman and we got to play together. It was so exciting because we’ve always been kind of far apart, three years apart. So playing with her, it was like we had a special sister connection on the field and that made my senior year really, really special before I headed off to UMBC.
PB: Is there anything that stands out from the year you played with your sister?
LK: There’s a highlight clip of it. We were in some playoff game, and we were playing Manchester Valley. My sister assisted me, and I remember just going absolutely crazy and hugging her because I just felt we had this sister-sister connection. It was in a playoff game, so it was such a key goal. I always replay it in my head because the game was taped. We would rewatch it on film.
PB: Why did you choose to come to UMBC?
LK: I’ve always grown up in Maryland, so when I was getting recruited by colleges, I knew I wanted to stay close to my family because I’ve always been a homebody. One of the biggest factors when choosing a school was the coaching staff. I wanted to be realistic. I asked myself where I would get playing time [and] what schools had my major. I’m currently going to occupational therapy school next year, and UMBC has prepared me for that. I just feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to come here and be coached by amazing humans. I’ve also gotten an amazing education along with that.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at UMBC?
LK: There are a million. I love our everyday routine of being with each other and going to our weight room and lifting [and] then going to practice and bonding with the girls. But game-wise, a few years ago we traveled to Vermont because we play them in our conference. We had a kickass game, we crushed, won that game and got to celebrate by going out to dinner, going to Ben & Jerry’s. That was just such a fond memory that I have, spending time traveling with my team. Vermont is a beautiful state. That was 2019.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about UMBC and Catonsville?
LK: I love being so close to the city, although COVID has completely changed this. I have not been there in a year at this point. It’s so beautiful. You can go to a yoga class and then go to Pure Raw Juice and just spend a day down there, go shopping. That’s what I love. But also the Catonsville community and area, everyone’s so kind around here. You love your neighbors. It’s just a great community to live in.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
LK: My best friend on the team is Julia Hatmaker. We didn’t know each other. She actually went to high school in Maryland as well, but we never knew each other until college. Then we got to college and she was like my twin flame. We live together in the same house, so we wake up every morning at 5 a.m. The other one’s up. We have our coffee together. We’re like the same person, and she just understands me and gets me in every way. If I’m down on the field, she picks me up and vice versa.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your career at UMBC?
LK: When I was a freshman, there was a senior and her name’s Taylor Oliver. I was so nervous as a freshman coming into a Division I lacrosse team. She would just give me so much confidence. She would pick me up. She was such a phenomenal player herself that I looked up to her a lot.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
LK: If I could give any advice to younger players right now, I would tell them to just enjoy the moment where you are. I remember in my lacrosse journey I didn’t really appreciate every phase. My days of playing Cobra Lacrosse, I love them looking back at it. The time goes by so, so, so fast. I’m about to end my senior season and I wish I just would have been in the moment more and enjoyed each and every phase of being a lacrosse player because I blinked and now it’s almost over.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
LK: I am going to occupational therapy school at Towson. I just got in, so I just made that decision and confirmed. I start this summer in their doctorate program, so my hope is to just complete that program in three years. I’m going to become an occupational therapist and start healing some people. I wouldn’t mind also coaching lacrosse. I love working with other human beings and connecting, and I do currently coach a few club teams. I’m hoping just to stick with that as well.
PB: You’re a fourth-year senior. Was it a difficult decision to not take the extra year of eligibility and stay at UMBC for the 2022 season as well?
LK: Oh, 100 percent. It was always in the back of my head [that] if I didn’t get into occupational therapy school, I would utilize the fifth year here at UMBC and play another year for my team and my coaches because I love them to death. But once I figured out that I got into OT school, there would’ve been no other courses for me to take next year as a fifth-year. That was a huge factor in it all. But I’m so incredibly grateful for the past four years that I’ve had to play lacrosse.
PB: What did you do last spring as far as lacrosse after the season was canceled?
LK: I went home and lived with my family and just tried to maintain my fitness with at-home workouts. It was hard. It was a struggle not having lacrosse as an outlet and not being with my team, but I worked on my own. I worked with my sister. It all worked out.
Photo Credit: Jack Miller