SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2012
Small in size, big in heart
Shrimp. Pip squeak. Half pint. Nugget. Short stuff. Munchkin.
As the two smallest athletes in the entire JU program, lacrosse players Asia Moore and Tori Seitz have heard just about all the names that come with their size. They’re over it and now, it’s more motivating than anything.
Moore is listed at 5 feet on the team roster; she says she is closer to 4-11. Her shortness isn’t unusual in her family as her mom, Angie, is 4-11; grandmother, Bobbie 5-1 and aunt, Tabitha, at a relatively tall 5-2, all are in her range.
And, as a goal keeper in a relatively big cage, things can get hectic.
“I’m short playing in a 6-foot cage and seem to do a nice job of it,’’ she said. The freshman has saved four of eight shots she has faced in 30 minutes of play as she learns under junior Karli Tobin.
Moore, majoring in exercise science, has been involved in sports most her life and played both forward in soccer and point guard in basketball. Growing up in Spartanburg, S.C., not exactly known as the hotbed of lacrosse, she didn’t find her current game until a move to Apex High School in North Carolina. She’s been in goal ever since.
“People have looked at me and questioned whether I am serious,’’ she said. “It doesn’t matter (her 4-11), it’s what you bring to the table,’’ she said.
The lack of height, she believes, makes her mentally tougher than many other goalies.
“Oh, yes, you have to have a lot of mental toughness,’’ Moore said. “Mine came in high school game after game letting balls fly by and shaking it off.’’ In other words, in her craft a short memory is useful. “Asia has learned by her size that she’s got to be good at high saves and she dominates in our practices because no one can shoot on her high,’’ coach Mindy McCord said.
Seitz, also a freshman, hails from a lacrosse hotbed, the Towson, Md., area and her JU coaches don’t even bother with her real name any more.
“They just call me Smalls,’’ said Seitz who thinks she has heard Munchkin and Shrimp more than any other name as the years have rolled by.
“I’m short and there’s nothing I can do about it,’’ she said. “I’m 5-feet, 5-1 on a good day or when I have shoes on and I’ve always been the smallest on every team I have ever been on. I’m used to it.’’
Those teams, like Moore, would include soccer and basketball and, like Moore, she was a forward on the pitch and a point guard on the floor.
Seitz says this season is the most she has struggled with her height and finds herself having to prove herself all too often from her attack position.
“They talk about all these defenders who are 5-10 and huge and everyone thinks because I’m small I’m not strong enough to go against them,’’ she says a bit disdainfully. “But if you ask any really tall defender they’ll say they don’t want to guard a small person because it’s difficult for them to get that low on your hips. It’s actually an advantage against a large defender but everyone thinks you’re not strong enough or good enough to compete.’’
She uses the size issue as motivation.
“It’s definitely aggravating (to repeatedly have to prove herself) and it’s a huge challenge to prove people wrong.’’
Her challenges began during the recruiting process out of Dulaney High School.
“A lot of college coaches during recruiting who wouldn’t look twice at me because I was small,’’ she said. “ Mindy looked at my skill and not my size.’’
“I think some coaches have pet peeves on certain size and physical characteristics,’’ McCord said. “At the end of the day it’s all about your ability. Both of these players are relentless, passionate and they play big. We don’t look at weaknesses, we look at strengths and we don’t see size as a weakness, we see your heart.’’
- Jim Nasella