UMBC women’s lacrosse junior attacker Claire Bockstie recently chatted with PressBox about her breakout year in 2021, the advice she would give to younger players and more. The 5-foot-7 Bockstie earned first-team All-America East honors in 2021 by posting 42 goals and 8 assists.

PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Claire Bockstie: Growing up, basically I just played as many sports as I could. It was a really tough decision because soccer and lacrosse were both my main sports until eighth grade. I figured out that I loved lacrosse a lot more. All my siblings have played lacrosse. [Two] of my sisters also play [or played] in college. It just really clicked for me. I just love the sport a lot more than any other sport.

PB: How did growing up in a lacrosse family drive you competitively?
CB: My one sister, [Bryn], is a goalie and my other sister, [Ellie], is an attacker. We would always go in our backyard. We’d play mini-games, basically any way we could help each other get better. My cousins were also very athletic, so whenever we had huge family gatherings we would literally spend hours playing any sport we could outside together, basically doing anything we could to get a stick in our hand and play together.

PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
CB: I would say Kayla Treanor was a huge influence. I just loved watching her, her creativity, the way she can handle the ball under pressure. Even currently I would say [Boston College star and reigning Tewaaraton Award winner] Charlotte North. Just the way she plays so confidently has really inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

PB: Why did you choose to come to UMBC?
CB: I always knew I wanted to go to school close to home. I’m a big family person. I love being able to go home whenever I can, see my friends whenever I can. Also, when I first all the coaches — [head coach Amy Slade and assistant coaches Alex Benedict and Morgan Stephens] — they instantly made me feel at home. … Also, UMBC is just a great academic school and it has given me so many opportunities. I’m getting a great education.

PB: What is your favorite memory so far at UMBC?
CB: I just love welcoming in the new grades every year. We had one night [when we all went] over to one of the senior’s houses and we had a campfire and we roasted marshmallows and basically really got to know each other on a deeper level. That was definitely one of my favorite memories.

PB: You had a breakout year in 2021. Do you think that would have happened in 2020 had the season not been cut short?
CB: I really hope that would’ve happened. Obviously COVID set us back, but that really made me so determined and motivated to get back on the field as much as I could, work as hard as I could to get better every day. But I definitely think that could’ve been an opportunity for me.

PB: What was the key for you in having that breakout year?
CB: I really had to prove something. A lot of players in the lower Division I levels really go unnoticed. I really wanted to step up and show people that we can compete at this level. I can also compete against girls [like Stony Brook’s Ally Kennedy, last year’s No. 6 goal-scorer in Division I women’s lacrosse with 73]. Basically, I was just so determined to make a name for myself and show others my hard work over the years.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about UMBC and Baltimore?
CB: Definitely being close to home. I’m only like an hour away from home. Being able to go see my family all the time — any time I want. I just love being around the city. It’s so fun. We always go out to dinner at very fun local places. Basically just being close to home with family and friends.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
CB: I would definitely say Jenna McDermott. She’s No. 24. She’s also my roommate. Freshman year, I just noticed we were the same person on and off the field. … I just instantly felt like I could trust her with anything and tell her anything. She’s very similar to me. We clicked right off the bat.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to when you got to UMBC?
CB: I would say Zoë Pekins. She was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen in my life. … She really was a great leader for us and really helped us feel comfortable around the team. She just showed us, “Never give up, always keep working hard, get better every day.”

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
CB: I’d say to go outside your comfort zone. Work hard every day. Do anything you can, just get a stick in your hand. Definitely once you go outside your comfort zone, you’ll get more creative and more confident in your game. Also, don’t stress about the little things. Don’t try to get in your head about anything. It’s just lacrosse. You’re here to have fun and play. That’s what we’re all here to do.

PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
CB: I definitely want to leave a legacy at UMBC, not only bettering myself but showing that I also helped my teammates get better every day. I have dreams of also playing professional lacrosse. That’s something I really want to do and hope to experience.

Photo Credit: Ian Feldmann/UMBC Athletics

Issue 273: February/March 2022

Originally published Feb. 16, 2022

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10