Mount St. Mary’s women’s lacrosse graduate midfielder Zoe Hurlburt recently chatted with PressBox about winning the NEC in 2021, coming back for a fifth year at the Mount and more. The 5-foot-4 Hurlburt posted 14 goals, 6 assists and 45 ground balls for a Mountaineers team that went 14-3 overall in 2021.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Zoe Hurlburt: I started playing lacrosse when I was probably 6 years old. My dad was the one who introduced it to me because he and also my mom played, so those two kind of introduced it to my sister, my brother and me. All three of us play, kind of like a family sport for us.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
ZH: Probably my father, [Matt]. We butt heads in a good way where we’re both very competitive. He is the one who pushes me the hardest to be the best that I can. He would help me train to be the best player that I can be. He would know what potential I would have growing up, and he would try to take that into consideration when helping me grow as a player and just become the best player that I can.
PB: What memories do you have from playing at Fallston?
ZH: My memories are scoring the first goal in the state championship as a freshman. I thought that was really awesome. It was a great experience for me, being a young player playing with some of the best girls that I had played with growing up. That was definitely one of them. And going to the state championship three out of the four years that I was at Fallston, that really is the big memory of mine.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Mount St. Mary’s?
ZH: I looked at a bunch of different schools during my recruiting process. What I would usually look for in a school is something smaller and close to home. When I visited the Mount, it was perfect. The distance was close enough but far enough away from home, and the size was perfect. Obviously the Mount is very small, and when I got onto campus I was introduced to my coach, Lauren Schwarzmann [now Lauren Skellchock], and I instantly fell in love with her. She was so welcoming and had such a great vibe that made me want to go to the Mount. She made me feel like I was at home and relieved all the stress and anxiety that I had going to school, which really helped me make my decision to go to the Mount.
PB: What was it like winning the NEC last year, particularly given how challenging the season was because of COVID?
ZH: It really felt like everything … we did was all for a reason. We had to quarantine so many times. I felt like the whole season was just a quarantine. We weren’t allowed to see anyone, really, because if we did we would jeopardize our chance of going to the NEC [tournament]. All of us knew how good our team was, so we wanted to take advantage of what we had. That meant not seeing anyone and having to sacrifice our social life. In the end [we did] what we all wanted to do, which was win the NEC. We all worked really hard. Everyone was sort of on the same mindset of what we wanted to do and then we all won, so it was great.
PB: Why did you choose to return for a fifth year?
ZH: I was very set in not coming back for a fifth year. Right when I graduated, I wanted to start my life [after] lacrosse and really just try to see what life was outside of it, I guess. I really was set on not coming back for a while, but my two roommates now — Beanie Colson and Alayna Pagnotta — they were really harping on me and saying, “We should maybe go back. We should do it. What do you think?” At first I was like, “No, I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think my body could go through that again.” And then when I started thinking about it more, my parents started talking to me about it and even [Skellchock] started talking to me about it, everyone kind of was like, “Hey, it could be a good idea. You could take your master’s and you would be able to play another year of lacrosse. I don’t know what could be better.” So after a long, long time thinking and talking to my parents about it, I decided that the best would be to return and come back to the Mount.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about the Mount and Emmitsburg?
ZH: My favorite thing about the Mount is definitely the people. Everyone here is so welcoming and you get to know everyone since it’s such a small community. You know everyone when you’re on campus. You can say hey to people. Being an athlete, it’s nice knowing people that aren’t athletes and making those relationships with them. And also, our seminarians on our team, it’s so nice to see them on campus as well. I love the community that the Mount and Emmitsburg bring because the [school] is perfect for me. It’s nice and calm. It just feels like home.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
ZH: Everyone is so close to me. I would have to say Beanie Colson right now is my best friend on the team. We play midfield together so we have this connection between the two of us. We’re very different but similar players at the same time, so on the field we can read each other well and we understand what we’re going to do. Being roommates, it’s nice to hang out with her as well outside of lacrosse, but on the field, we really have a great connection and can play off of one of another, so I would say that our midfield connection is great.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to when you first got to the Mount?
ZH: Emily Dees. When I was a freshman, she was a senior. She was intense. She was tough. She knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to win. I just thought that was great for our team. … Everyone really kind of looked up to her because you didn’t want to mess with Dees because you knew how tough and how sophisticated [she was]. We all knew that she meant business.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
ZH: Go into school and lacrosse with a positive mindset. It can be very stressful … but at the same time, it’s best four years or five years of your life and you’re not going to want to get out of it. Even if you don’t want to go to practice or you don’t want to run your run test, it all goes down to the games and spending time with your players and making those connections. I’m going to have my best friends for the rest of my life that I met at the Mount on my team.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
ZH: My goals outside of lacrosse are definitely to try to work out because lacrosse definitely gives my exercise of the day. So definitely try to keep up with working out, whatever that may entail. But also staying in touch with my fellow teammates because we go through so much together on an everyday basis that I would love to stay in touch with them and have a relationship with them outside of lacrosse. But also finding a job and settling down, I would like to find a job that I really love and enjoy doing.
Photo Credit: David Sinclair