Spotlight on Sarah Mollison - Star of Aussie Women's Lacrosse
Sarah Mollison playing for the University of Maryland
Sarah Mollison playing in the 2013 World Cup
Sarah, a midfielder and already a veteran of 19 years in the sport, never really had a choice on what sport to participate in while growing up, she was born into the Mollison dynasty. Lucky for her she had the skill, tenacity and determination to make her a top ranked international player, and dare say one of the most accomplished lacrosse players of the Mollison clan.
Her family played a huge role, with parents, uncles, cousins and aunties all playing the game; Sarah was their number one supporter each week.
Sarah had numerous influences growing up. Besides her family, Sarah looked up to the senior players at Footscray, who encouraged, mentored and guided her through the junior years, not to mention the countless Victorian State Team and Australian Coaches. Whilst hard to pinpoint individuals Sarah highlights:
- Meredith Carre (2003 U/19 Australian Team - Head Coach)
- Max Madonia (2005 Senior Australian Team - Head Coach
- Cathy Reese (2008-2011 University of Maryland - Head Coach)
It wasn’t long before Sarah’s capability was known outside of Australians shores. Sarah’s hard work paid off, and she became a NCAA Division I College Lacrosse player for University of Maryland. These four years consisted of intense lacrosse, six days a week and nine months of the year in which Sarah mainly played straight attack.
Sarah has been a member of many successful teams, some of her memorable moments include:
- 2005 Australian Women's Lacrosse Team - Gold Medal
And at the University of Maryland:
- 2010 NCAA Division I National Champions
- 2009-2011 ACC Champions
- 2011 ACC Player of the Year
- 2011 Tewaaraton Finalist
Sarah was extremely excited to play nationals again this year, a fantastic lead in and preparation for the July 2013 FIL World Cup in Oshawa, Canada. Her excitement is growing, with the Aussie team training extremely hard and eager to secure Gold, like they did 2005, and turnaround the one goal loss against the US in 2009.
She has not played nationals since 2008, due to her US experience and was eager to wear the big V uniform again.
For those junior players, encouraged by Sarah’s achievements, she offers the following advice:
“In college you are a "student athlete". It is important junior players in Australia understand they need to apply themselves to studying just as much as lacrosse or that dream will not be possible.
I would also suggest working extremely hard in the gym getting stronger, fitter and faster. Working on individual skills related to their position is also extremely important. All of this goes without saying but you must believe and be confident in your own ability. Have a never say die attitude!”
And on playing for her country:
“Playing for Australia is an honour. I am so proud to be an Aussie and it is exciting anytime I get to wear green and gold. At this level the skill and speed of the game makes it so fun to play. Everyone has the same intensity and has the same goal they are working towards.”
Sarah describes lacrosse as a very dynamic sport, with speed, skill and the opportunity to bond individuals into a focussed team. Her pre game preparation consists of stretching and stick checking, but more importantly a few dance moves.
Footscray is benefiting immensely with Sarah’s return. There is a real sense of opportunity around the club with Sarah's US experience bringing innovative ideas on execution of the game and disciplines to get the best out of the team and the individual. The junior players are particularly profiting from Sarah’s leadership and passion for the game.
Sarah, although you are one of the younger players in the team you are already very experienced. How did the time you played for the University of Maryland in the USA influence your Lacrosse career?
For the 2013 Australian Team, I don’t consider myself one of the younger players. In 2005 I had just turned 18 for my first World Cup and in 2009 I was 22 playing in my second World Cup. I’m now 26 for my third World Cup and with several young players in this year’s team, it is important to me to support and guide them; as in 2005 and 2009, I was very fortunate to have several experienced World Cup veteran players and coaches guide me.
Going to Canada this July, I consider myself now one of the more experienced players at this level. I am very fortunate to be playing alongside some of the best lacrosse players in the world as well as our young up and coming players who are representing Australia for the first time.
During my four years at the University of Maryland, as an NCAA Division I Student Athlete, the lacrosse program included a 6 day week training and playing regime for nine months of the year. This opportunity allowed me to take my game to the next level. Being a student athlete at this level allowed me to get fitter, faster, stronger and become more skilful. This intense competition of practice and games every day improved my decision making and game sense. Playing at such a high intensity day after day is one of the reasons I am the player I am today.
You have recently been the Assistant Coach at the College of William and Mary in the USA. How does it feel to coach at that high level? What did you learn in this system that would help improve Australian lacrosse and bring it to the next level?
In 2012 I was given the opportunity to be the Assistant Coach at the College of William and Mary. Coaching at a competitive Division I program was an exciting and challenging experience on and off the field. I was lucky enough to work under Brooke Ireland who I admire and gained so much experience from especially the administrative duties and recruiting for the NCAA system.
The on field coaching is what I enjoyed the most. The opportunity to coach hard working student athletes was a blessing. Having just graduated from the University of Maryland the year before I was keen to pass on my knowledge to the players and team about how the college game can be played and the different styles played by opposing teams.
Most of my lacrosse coaching at William & Mary was based on what I have learned playing for Australia and during my four years at the University of Maryland.
Your signature attacking move is very hard to stop. How did you get good in shooting on the crease, behind the goal line extended? How have you perfected this move?
I like to consider myself a dynamic lacrosse player who is a threat from all areas. I love the area behind the goal and to come around the crease either dodging and/or feeding.
When I am working on attacking skills I am focused on giving myself time and space to dodge, being fast and agile as well as protecting my stick. I always fake the goalie before I shoot so I can stick my shot. Repetition and watching video are two ways to perfect attacking skills.