Maryland women’s lacrosse graduate midfielder Grace Griffin recently talked with PressBox about her memories from the Terps’ national championship in 2019, her best friend on the team and more. The 5-foot-8 Griffin earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2021 by posting 29 goals, 19 assists, 19 caused turnovers and 30 ground balls for a Terps team that went 10-7 overall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

PressBox: Your mother, Kelly, played field hockey at Towson University. How did she shape you as an athlete and competitor?
Grace Griffin: I think just growing up I saw my mom work so hard in everything that she did. I’m one of five, so we had a crazy household and she was always working throughout it and I give her major props for that. Whether it be sports, work, just taking care of the household, she always worked so hard and complained very little. It’s definitely something you can apply to life and sports.

PB: What memories do you have from playing lacrosse at Liberty High School?
GG: I had a lot of fun at Liberty. I loved growing up in Eldersburg, where Liberty is. I loved playing basketball there. I have such a great group of girls that would play basketball together during the winter. March 1 would roll around, we’d lose whatever the last basketball game was and the next day we were out on the lacrosse field playing. I think that kind of was my favorite time of year, transitioning from one sport to the other and the excitement in it. So definitely I think that was a lot of fun.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Maryland?
GG: The culture and the coaches and the people. I think it’s as simple as that. Everyone wants you to be the best person you can be and they’ll support you no matter what. It’s bigger than lacrosse. And you get to win a lot, which is always an added bonus.

PB: What is your favorite memory so far at Maryland?
GG: You can’t not say winning the national championship my sophomore year [against Boston College at Johns Hopkins]. The entire weekend of our Final Four, just such amazing energy seeing how many Terps fans there were when we were rolling up to the stadium. … That’s something I’ll never forget.

PB: Was there another moment from the championship that really stands out to you?
GG: I think I remember that moment, for sure — rolling up to the field, going to the locker room and seeing my family, everyone’s family out on the street with so many Maryland flags, all our alums there, that was amazing. Then I also remember sitting in the locker room, [head coach Cathy Reese] is giving her pregame speech and we watched a little bit of a video. I remember looking around. You just had the energy in the room that every single one of us knew that we were going to go out and win the national championship, and that was a really special moment.

PB: Why did you choose to come back to Maryland for a fifth year?
GG: Because why wouldn’t you want to play alongside your best friends and the sport that you love for one more year?

PB: How did you become a do-it-all player who contributes so much on offense and defense?
GG: Honestly, I attribute a lot of it to basketball because I was playing both sides of the court, and I think defensively that helped me a lot. I was a point guard in basketball, so that kind of led to the assists, driving type thing. And then being able to be on defense, I think it transitioned well into playing midfield in lacrosse. … Every little girl I coach [with the Hero’s Lacrosse program], I always tell them to play basketball. I think it’s what helped me the most.

PB: What is your favorite thing about the University of Maryland and College Park?
GG: I think the location, that we’re outside of D.C. We can go to Annapolis if we want. We can go to Baltimore if we want. I love staying in College Park, but it is fun that we are so connected to everywhere else within Maryland.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
GG: Definitely Torie Barretta. She’s been my roommate for the past five years now. I think just because we’ve lived together for so long, we can look at each other and know when we’re doing OK and when we’re not. We just look at each other and we ask, “What do you need?” From there, we can say whatever we need and we’ve got each other’s back.

PB: Who was a player you looked up when you got to Maryland?
GG: When I first got to Maryland, I think definitely Jen Giles. Playing midfield alongside of her my freshman year, I looked up to her. She was a do-it-all player. She was an amazing captain, so definitely very, very humbled to follow in her footsteps and be able to play with her.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
GG: I think just put your head down and work hard. Don’t have too many high expectations. I think go with the flow, work hard, set goals, but don’t get too far outside yourself and too hard on yourself. Just play, have fun and everything else will fall into place.

PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
GG: As of right now, I would love to continue coaching. I’ve coached every single summer during my off time, so I love giving back to the game, but I’m also interested in getting into medical device sales.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland 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