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Academy of Notre Dame’s Katie Onderdonk is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

The junior midfielder recently scored her 100th career goal for the Irish. A second team All-Main Line girls’ lacrosse selection last year, and an All-Inter-Ac performer this spring, she has been a solid all-around force for the Irish this season, scoring 53 goals during the regular season and winning 103 draw controls. A two-sport athlete for the Irish (soccer, lacrosse), the University of Massachusetts commit belongs to a variety of groups at Notre Dame, including Student Ambassadors, Environmental Club, Take a Break Club and the school newspaper.

Q: Tell us a little about your 100th career goal, how the play developed and what your first reaction was when you realized it was your 100th.


A: The goal was off of an 8-meter shot I got from dodging and being fouled. I had no idea it was my 100th. I turned around to hug the attack and get in our huddle, when I saw our three senior captains, Julia Dever, Maggie Sullivan and Mia Vitanzo, come running down the field smiling. I was so confused as I saw the rest of the team following. I asked, “Did we call time out?” The team then proceeded to shout that it was my 100th goal. It was really touching how much the girls hugged and cheered for me, and it was definitely great momentum for the team towards the end of a close game.


Q: What has been the biggest key to your productive scoring this spring?


A: My biggest key to scoring this season has definitely been confidence. Every time the ball is in my stick I try to have the mentality that it’s going to be an effective play. I also have to continuously remind myself that a bad play doesn’t mean a bad game and that “shooters shoot.”   


Q: What do you think are the biggest keys to winning a draw control?


A: Practice. I did a ton of reps in the off-season to work on self-drawing. The most important part of the draw is learning how to adjust. Every draw taker is different, so knowing different draw techniques definitely helped me this season. It’s important to be aggressive no matter where the ball goes on the whistle – just because it doesn’t go where I tried to place it doesn’t mean I can’t still get it. I also watch a lot of college games. Those players are always trying new things and I have benefited a lot from watching them and their creativity on the draw. 


Q: You mentioned that your favorite experience with the Academy of Notre Dame lacrosse team was beating Agnes Irwin in overtime last year. Can you share your memory of it with us?

A: It was the first day of Spring Break, and it was pouring rain. The entire team worked so hard the entire game with not a lot of subs, and it was such a fun way to start break. That game really bonded us as friends, not just teammates. I also remember our goalie Quinn Sullivan sprinting the whole length of the field in all her gear to join the dogpile.

Q: Tell us a little about your start in lacrosse. What originally attracted you to lacrosse?

A: I come from a huge lacrosse family. Two of my uncles, my aunt and my dad played in college. I have had a stick in my hands for as long as I can remember. I have the best memories of running around the backyard with my brothers playing lacrosse. I was so excited when I got my first real girls stick for my 6th birthday. I love the fast pace of the game, the creativity, and how it combines a bunch of different sports into one. 

Q: Have you always been a midfielder?

A: I have always played midfield and taken the draw. I think it is because I am too much of a control freak to not be on both sides of the field.

Q: Who have been your most important lacrosse mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: My dad has definitely been a big influence on me lacrosse-wise. He has been a huge part of shaping the player that I am. He is tough on me, but he always supports me. He has taught me the importance of taking risks and trying new things. My club lacrosse coach Lynn Bowers has also been a great mentor to me over the years. She has taught me the importance of energy on and off the field. Her positivity has given my team so much success, and she has taught me so much about the sport. My club teammates are all mentors to me. Every time we practice and play together, they inspire me to be the best that I can. They always remind me how much I love the sport because I always have so much fun playing with them. They have taught me about balance, and how to push through obstacles.

Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 19 for Academy of Notre Dame lacrosse – is there a reason you picked that number?

A: When I was in 5th grade the number started randomly popping up in my life, so I changed my number from 4 to 19. My dad was 9 in college and my brother was 10, and 9+10=19. I also later found out that my aunt wore No. 19. 

Q: What do you think you might want to major in at University of Massachusetts? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: I will be majoring in political science. I hope to become a lawyer and eventually get involved in politics.

Fun facts – Katie Onderdonk

Favorite book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Favorite author: Barack Obama. 

Favorite TV show: Criminal Minds.

Favorite movie: The Sound of Music.

Favorite athlete: Simone Biles and Saquon Barkley.

Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Baianá by Bakermat.

Favorite team: New York Giants.

Favorite place to visit: Boston.

Favorite pre-game meal: Chipotle.

Person I most admire, and why: “I admire my little brother Tommy so much. Even though he is younger than me, he is always there for me whenever. Whether I need advice, a laugh, or a feeder, Tommy is always willing to help me out. Although he can be a pain in the butt, I admire his ability to make everyone laugh, his kindness, and his compassion.” 

Family members: parents Chris and Colleen, brother Jack (rising freshman at the University of Notre Dame), brother Tommy (rising freshman at Malvern Prep).


(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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