November 20, 2013

Lindsey Munday - All-World Player, Coach and Mentor

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Lochary Archive

Lindsey Munday may not say much about herself, but her colleagues and teammates aren't shy about her leadership both on the field with Team USA and off as USC head coach.
© Stan Liu

Gallery: Munday Through the Years | Gallery: Photo Shoot For December Cover | Person of Year Press Release

As a writer, I missed Lindsey Munday's NCAA playing career entirely. I was a copy editor on the sports desk of The Baltimore Sun in spring 2006, Munday's final season on the field for Northwestern.

I can remember working on a story about the 2006 NCAA Division I women's semifinals, though, and marveling that the Wildcats had not been a one-hit wonder after their stunning 2005 championship run. I also was struck by the fact that the final four were Northwestern, Duke, Dartmouth and Notre Dame. None of them were (at the time) traditional lacrosse powerhouses, and all four were from states outside lacrosse's traditional Mid-Atlantic milieu. It was one of the things that made me think an all-lacrosse beat would be an interesting one.

Northwestern won it again. (Munday had one goal in the 2006 championship game, scoring on Dartmouth goalie Devon Wills, who is now her U.S. teammate and an assistant at USC.)

I've been here for a lot of her career as a coach and as a World Cup player, though. By the 2007 season, I was working for Lacrosse Magazine and my first championship weekend was Munday's first as a coach, serving as an assistant for her alma mater when they made it three in a row.

We were both rookies in FIL Women's World Cup play in 2009 in Prague, where Munday won her first gold medal.

In 2010, I helped to break the story that the University of Southern California was adding women's lacrosse as a Division I sport. Shortly thereafter, I interviewed a USC official who said they were looking for a coach who "is not the biggest or most established name, but someone who's about what USC's about. We want somebody who wants to start a program and is willing to go through the growing pains, with the understanding that they're going to get a lot of support."

The Trojans hired Munday in January 2011, and the team made its debut last spring. Munday followed that up with her second World Cup gold medal last summer in Oshawa. Then I got to write her Person of the Year story this fall, so the cycle is complete.

When you're writing a profile, even if it's someone you've covered for years, you generally spend a lot of time talking to your subject. That doesn't always work, though. If the person is shy or quiet or a tough nut to crack for some reason, you have to rely on their nearest and dearest to flesh out the story of who this person is.

That's kind of what happened with me and Munday. She's not shy -- she's very friendly and always willing to talk -- but she's so modest and self-effacing it's tough to get her to brag on herself and her impressive accomplishments.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of people in the world who are willing to say nice, insightful things about our Person of the Year. Here are a few of them.

Ricky Fried, Team USA

"I can't say enough about Lindsey to be honest with you. Lacrosse wise, she does a lot of the smaller, nuanced things that go unnoticed by the casual observer. She has a great eye for the game. She's one of those players who makes those around her better. She gets them involved, she understands their strengths and weaknesses and puts them in situations to be successful. She's the epitome of a coach on the field. And as a coach I really appreciate her, but in addition to that she's always working on her game as well. Working on new things with her stick. She has a feeder-first mentality but she finds value in going to goal and making the D react.

"What you look for in any captain is the ability to put team ahead of own needs. Somebody who can play and lead at one time which sounds really simple in theory but in practice is very difficult. They are people who like to play and don't worry about anything else. For us, we're looking for someone who can give us the pulse of the team and give us some feedback on what they need physically, mentally. She has a way about her of getting everybody to do what we're thinking, which I think is a gift. A very relaxed, unassuming approach. She's not an in your face emotional type."

Devon Wills, Team USA and USC

"I remember faceguarding her in college. On the field, she's one of the smartest people. She's just such an exceptional coach.

I think she has a really great way of just simplifying the game. Kind of breaking down not only the Xs and Os, but on shooting form and how you're holding your stick and where it is in your hand, where the ball is sitting how your hips are rotating. In terms of Xs and OS, it's a lot of stuff that makes a lot of sense when she says it. Holding space, when to cut through, how to find and isolate 2v1. She has a great mind for breaking that down attacking and defensive side.

We always shoot together and one of the hardest, most frustrating things with her is we're constantly trying to outsmart the other one. So now we're outsmarting ourselves. Tha'ts frustrating, but her stick skills are incredible and she had a great hold on the ball. She doesn't cradle a lot, as a goalie you're taught to watch the cradle and when it breaks, the shot's coming. Lindsey's cradle doesn't break.

She loves shoes. She has a lot of shoes. Loves shoes. And she always has a perfect manicure for every game."

Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern

"Lindsey came to Northwestern as one of the most highly motivated young lacrosse players I've ever coached, and that same hard work and passion has led to the success she's having now across the board with USC and the US National Team. She has all the qualities you look for in a leader and that aspect of playing and coaching comes naturally to her. I consider Lindsey a great friend and someone that I can bounce ideas off of, knowing that she possesses such a unique perspective and feel for the game and for coaching." 


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