Katie Moran is a senior English major and a midfielder for the UCSB women’s lacrosse club, and she has been a force for the Gauchos in her three years on the squad, as well as a captain the last two. When she was a freshman, she was named the team rookie of the year, as a sophomore she made first team all league, and as a junior, she was first team All-American.

“All those were kind of added bonuses,” Moran said. “All year, I played with my head down and was kind of surprised by the awards.”

This year, Moran was named the WDIA preseason player of the year, and she is well aware of the significance of that award.

“[The honor] was completely unexpected,” Moran said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in the league because we have the most competitive league in the WDIA.”

Moran began playing lacrosse as a freshman at St. Ignatius High School in San Rafael. Though she loves her sport, it was because of basketball that she began playing lacrosse.

“I picked it up freshman year of high school,” Moran said. “I had an unsuccessful basketball season, so I went home and told my mom, ‘tomorrow I’m going to try lacrosse.'”

Though Moran is a great offensive player, she began her career on defense. In fact, she only switched to offense last year at the urging of head coach Paul Ramsey. Though she is a great offensive player, she says that the transition from offense to defense was tough.

“[The transition] was absolutely frightening,” Moran said. “I’m still terrified of missing on the goal. It was something I needed to do, but like I said, I still get butterflies.”

For Moran, lacrosse is much more than a sport. It has helped her manage her life off the field and has provided her with opportunities that she would not have otherwise had.

“Lacrosse allowed me to travel as far as Adelaide, Australia,” Moran said. “I’ve made connections with girls who visited from Japan. It’s made me a better student and problem solver. I can’t imagine what my college experience would have been like without playing lacrosse, being challenged physically and mentally, and making lifelong friends.”

When she graduates at the end of the year, Moran has plans to immediately put her major in English to use. According to Moran, she is going to do Teach for America in the bay area for the next two years. Right now, however, her thoughts are entirely focused on preparing for the season, for which she is very excited. She, however, used slightly different words to describe her excitement.

“I’m fucking stoked,” Moran said.