Our Lady of Good Counsel midfielder/defender Halle Graham is a four-year starter and played a key role in the Falcons' WCAC 2015 lacrosse championship. Graham received first-team honors by the league in 2015 and 2016. She played in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Under Armour All-America Underclass Game. Graham also runs indoor track and plays field hockey. She has committed to the University of Virginia for lacrosse.
What did you do to prepare for the upcoming season? Did you play club ball and/or work on any specific areas of your game?
Halle Graham: This winter season, my team and I really focused on our agility work and speed. We had winter workouts almost every day and a trainer come in, because we really wanted to up that part of our game. It's been great to see the progress everyone has made this offseason for the betterment of the team. Personally, I made sure I worked on my attack skills, knowing that I would be part of the offense more than I have been in the past. Working on that part of my game has allowed me to better understand what I need to do on defense and vice versa.
How was the experience of playing in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament?
HG: It's been an honor playing in the Under Armour Underclassmen Tournament for the last three years. The Under Armour Tournament is like no other tournament I've played in. There is a huge amount of energy and excitement that surrounds you. You're playing with and against some of the best lacrosse talent in the country, so there is this anticipation for the games and the competition. And it's really fun to see friends there that you haven't seen in a while. Last year, my D.C. team made it to the championships and played a local rival, Baltimore. I knew a couple of the girls on that team, so that was awesome. It's serious playing but also really fun in the downtime to just watch high-level lacrosse.
As a midfielder, what are the biggest challenges of being a two-way player?
HG: I think the biggest challenge is growing my game on both ends of the field. For the last three years, I have been mostly playing defense for Good Counsel. On my club team, Capitol Blue, I play midfield. Keeping an attacking mentality of taking the ball to cage was something I worked on this offseason, and Coach [Michael] Haight has really been encouraging and helpful in that regard. It can be easy to fall into a routine of only working on just shooting or just defense, but as a midfielder, there needs to be a balance of both. Playing that defensive role, however, has given me a great perspective as to what works on the attacking end.
Have you or the other seniors talked to some of the younger players about the importance of winning a WCAC title in your final year?
HG: We have. The WCAC title is a big deal for us, especially because we do not participate in the Maryland State Championships, and that game is the official end of our season. We have stressed that getting to the championship is earned, not given. The WCAC is a competitive league, and our team knows that we have to work hard every drill of every practice to achieve our goals and bring the trophy home. We have a lot of top-tier teams to play this season. We cannot get too far ahead of ourselves. We must play our hardest in each moment.
What attracted you to Virginia for college?
HG: UVA is really everything I was looking for in a school. It is a very strong academic school; one of their top undergraduate programs is political science, which I hope to declare as my major. The campus is beautiful, and the school itself is relatively close to home, so my parents can see my games. Their lacrosse program has competed well in the NCAA Tournament, and I wanted to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team atmosphere made me feel right at home.