Joe Pollard leads a Crusaders attack that is one of the most powerful in the nation. St. Paul's advanced to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals last season, and this year, Pollard and his teammates are determined to bring a title back to the school. Pollard, a stellar student, has committed to play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins.
As a senior captain and three-year varsity letterman, what goals did you set for yourself this season?
Joe Pollard: Every year, the goal at St. Paul's is to win the MIAA championship. We've been close the last couple of years, and hopefully this is our year. Additionally, as a guy that's been around for a while, I would like to mentor and pass on to some of the younger guys what I learned from older guys like Mikey Wynne and Henry Riehl.
St. Paul's played the nation's No. 1 team, Haverford, tough before losing, 12-8. What lessons did you take from that game?
JP: On the positive side, we learned we are talented enough to play with the best in the country. But talent alone won't get it done. We've got to play harder and tougher. For example, they beat us pretty good on ground balls.
How close-knit is this year's St. Paul's team? How could that chemistry help win a title in the MIAA A Conference?
JP: I think we have good chemistry. Some of us have played together since before SP. Mitch Gordon and I have played on the same attack since we were 8 years old. It's going to take good chemistry and staying healthy to win the MIAA, because every team has so much talent.
What went into your decision to commit to Johns Hopkins?
JP: Academically, Johns Hopkins is one of top 10 schools in the country. I think sometimes people in Baltimore don't truly appreciate that. From a lacrosse standpoint, it is the most historic program in the world. I wanted to play at a school where lacrosse is important, and nowhere is it more important than Hopkins. Having played at the most historic high school program, I enjoy the pressure and challenges that come with that history.
How did St. Paul's prepare you for the rigors of academics and athletics at a Johns Hopkins?
JP: St. Paul's has a very rigorous academic program with excellent teachers. My brother and former teammates all tell me SP really prepared them, so I'm confident I will be ready. I've been lucky enough to have played on some very good football teams with great coaches at SP. In lacrosse, practicing with great players every day makes you better, smarter and accountable. With our schedule, I usually go up against a DI defenseman and goalie every game, and that will hopefully prepare me for next year. Finally, I've been lucky to have been coached for four years by Coach [Rick] Brocato and [Mitch] Whiteley. They have been around forever and coached hundreds of college players, including some of the all-time greats. I'm sure I will struggle at times in the classroom and on the field, but I can't imagine any place that would have better prepared me for Johns Hopkins than St. Paul's.