They say patience is a virtue, but that platitude is especially true for lacrosse goaltenders. The ability to wait until the last possible second, to not flinch even in the rush of the moment, is a goalie's best attribute.
St. Stephen's/St. Agnes senior Kathryn Tylander has that quality, honed from 11 years of piano lessons, trying to learn classical music better suited for harpsichords than baby grands. She learned to endure while striking flint to steel to light a fire on a Girl Scouts camping trip, and while trying to master the fisherman's knot to earn her knot-tying badge.
"I think one of my characteristics that helps me be a good goalie is patience and consistency," said Tylander, who made 152 saves last season. "Even if today I was a little slow to the weak-hand side, I know that tomorrow I'll be a little faster. It takes patience to get to that, and to know that it will eventually come."
Said Coach Kathy Jenkins: "I think she is very disciplined, she focuses well and she is very bright. Goalies don't get a lot of action, it's almost a boring job, but then all of a sudden the ball comes down there, and you have to react and always be focused."
In this, her final season for the Saints, Tylander's patience has paid off. A three-year starter at the Alexandria school, Tylander was one of 24 players selected to the U.S. Lacrosse under-19 team during the offseason. Next fall, she will play for Harvard.
"It's almost surreal being a senior," said Tylander, who spent a week in Florida training with the national team in February. "It's nice knowing that everything is set, and one of the few things I have to concentrate on is this team."
Tylander recently shifted her focus to underprivileged preschool children while working on her Gold Award project for the Girl Scouts. After volunteering in the network preschools in Alexandria, Tylander discovered their students did not have access to books like the children in her mother's kindergarten class at George Mason Elementary. So she created an easy-to-use, take-home library for each of the five network preschools in Alexandria, placing 30 to 40 books in each school.
"I did something that I knew other people were going to appreciate," said Tylander, one of three Senior Girl Scouts that sits on a nation Gold Award Panel. "I knew that it was something that I did myself. I called all the people, and I got donations for books, and it's almost empowering to see that I can make a difference."
Tylander will certainly be a game-changer for the Saints as they look to add a 16th Independent School League title to the record books.
"I hope we don't just win, but dominate on the field," said Tylander, who was also the goaltender for the field hockey team, and center in basketball. "I wasn't sure coming in, but now I'm really excited, I think we are going to do well."