DURHAM, N.C. – With teams from all over the world en route to Guildford, England for the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Rathbones Women’s World Cup, former Duke All-American Kerrin Maurer is set to represent Italy at the 10-day championship.
GoDuke.com recently caught up with the 2015 Duke graduate to learn more about her coaching career and preparation for the World Cup, which begins July 12 at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, Surrey. Maurer and the Italian national team will compete in Pool B along with Haudenosaunee, South Korea, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
GoDuke.com: How did you first get connected with the Italian National Team and what has your experience been like with the program?
Kerrin Maurer: I first heard about the opportunity to try out for the Italian National Team back in 2014 from a high school teammate. They held a tryout for American citizens that fit the criteria to be on the team (having dual citizenship, a grandparent or parent born in Italy, or being married to an Italian citizen). I went into the tryout not knowing what would come of it, but was very excited for the opportunity to continue to compete. After the tryout I was invited on a training trip during the winter of 2014 in Rome. During this training trip I was able to meet the Italian players and help to teach them the game. Since then, I have competed with the team in the summer of 2015 at the European Championships held in the Czech Republic, and a tournament in Budapest in 2016.
GoDuke.com: How has it been to continue your playing career at the international level, while balancing the commitment with your coaching career at Mount St. Mary’s?
KM: I am grateful that I have been afforded the opportunity to continue to compete while in the midst of my coaching career. My position at Mount St. Mary’s has been a great experience that has helped me to learn and grow as a person and player, as well as a coach. The support that I have received at Mount St. Mary’s in my road to the World Cup has been amazing. I have been surrounded by constant encouragement throughout my training as well as had access to many resources to prepare me.
GoDuke.com: Has entering the coaching ranks altered your perspective at all as a player?
KM: One of the things I love most about being a coach is being able to see the game through a different lens. With that I have been able to take this acquired knowledge and apply it to my game as a player. When I am on the field I try to combine my playing mentality along with my coaching mentality, which has helped to elevate my game.
GoDuke.com: What was the tryout process like for the World Cup, and what has your training schedule been like since then?
KM: The tryout process has been a compilation of events over the past three years in which I competed with the team. I have been fortunate enough to have been presented the opportunity to be a part of the program from the beginning and compete with the team at all levels. My training schedule to prepare for the World Cup has been difficult to balance with a crazy summer coaching schedule. Whether I am working camp or out recruiting I try to make sure to get a workout in and keep a stick in my hand. I have been fortunate to have strength and conditioning coaches help me plan out my workout schedule while I am on the road and prepare me for the physical trials of the World Cup.
GoDuke.com: What are you most looking forward to about this experience?
KM: The opportunity to compete on the largest stage for women’s lacrosse is what I am looking forward to the most. Being able to compete against so many different elite players from all over the world is an experience that I will forever be grateful for. The game of lacrosse has provided me with so many opportunities to learn and grow as an athlete and a person. Growing up as a kid I only dreamed of being able to play in the World Cup. Having this dream come true is something that is very surreal.
GoDuke.com: What aspects of your collegiate career at Duke prepared you to play at this level?
KM: One of the most important aspects of my collegiate career at Duke that has prepared me to play at this level is the coaching I received throughout my years. Every person that I have had the opportunity to learn from, and be coached by while at Duke, has taught me something that has helped me prepare for this opportunity. Kerstin [Kimel] has taught me so much about the game and how to be a continuous student of the game. Coach [Jeff] Howser has taught me how to train at an elite level and have it translate onto the field. I am forever grateful for my experience at Duke and have full faith that it has prepared me for this opportunity.
GoDuke.com: What does it mean to you to represent Italy in the World Cup, and to have two other Duke alumnae also participating for other teams?
KM: The opportunity to represent Italy in the World Cup is something that is very special to me for many reasons. First and foremost, I was provided this opportunity due to the fact that grandfather was born in Cassino, Italy and immigrated to the US as a teenager. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by my Italian relatives where I began to fall in love with the culture. I learned the relentless attitudes that are bred throughout the culture as well as the tremendous love of family. Without my grandfather, this opportunity would not exist for me, and it is not solely because he was born there. He had a passion for sports which has directly carried over into my life. He taught me how to carry myself in victory and defeat as well as how to continue to fight through any adversity. I know that I would not be the athlete I am today if I did not have him as an example in my life for what it means to work hard and fight through adversity. This opportunity to represent his native country, Italy in the World Cup is something I know he would be very proud of.
Being able to potentially compete against two other Duke alumnae on this stage is something that is also very special. Each of us have been presented the opportunity to compete at the highest level and represent Duke Lacrosse while doing so. I am looking forward to sharing this experience with both of them!