When the 'Quiet Captain' Talks, the Cougars Listen

By Stephen A. Norris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oakton Coach Lizzie McManus never questioned midfielder Ashley Kimener's leadership on the field, but McManus hoped the mild-mannered senior would become more assertive off of it.

"She was a quiet captain last year," McManus said. "She allowed the other two captains to take control. She isn't the type who wants to be in the spotlight."

Kimener, who scored six goals and had eight assists as a junior and earned honorable mention All-Met, had taken a fearless approach on the field since she was a freshman.

This year, McManus has seen a different Kimener off the field. She has seen one who comes early to practice to start warmups, who speaks up when the team needs a voice and who has been a mentor to younger players.

Part of the reason Kimener said she was not as assertive off the field last season was because older players would disregard her opinion.

"If you have captains, you should listen to them, and players shouldn't go against [the captains] and do something else," said Kimener, known as Kimmie to teammates. "I feel more respected this year because people are listening to me, and I feel like they are getting something from it."

Kimener has been looked up to on the field for her athletic ability. She is the youngest of six brothers and sisters who all played lacrosse for Oakton. All but two play, or played, in college. Kimener, an All-Met lacrosse player who has led the Cougars to consecutive state titles, plans to follow in their footsteps and play lacrosse at James Madison.

"She is just really creative out there and does things I don't even teach," McManus said. "She knows how to beat a goalkeeper. She can dribble through defenders with her stick work and not just her speed. We just are in awe of her."

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