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Senior goalkeeper Krissy Kowalski at a game against Northwestern on April 3, 2022. Credit: Samantha Turner

This week’s DP Sports Player of the Week goes to someone we in the DP Sports section know quite well: women’s lacrosse senior goalkeeper Krissy Kowalski.

While competing for the Penn women’s lacrosse team, Kowalski has served as a writer and as an associate for DP Sports, penning over 60 articles during her time with the newspaper. This past week, Kowalski was named honorable mention All-Ivy for her standout season in goal, and we found it only fitting to give her this award.

We asked Kowalski 15 questions about her Penn career, her DP career, and her future plans. Here’s what the senior had to say.

1. Hi Krissy, could you briefly introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Krissy Kowalski. I am a senior goalie on the women's lacrosse team, and I'm also a DP sports associate.

2. How did you start playing lacrosse?

Growing up in Manhasset, [N.Y.], it's very common for everyone to play lacrosse at least once. As a little kid, the youth programs were really good. So I started playing lacrosse probably when I was in kindergarten as a 5-year-old. I played in the police activity league and fell in love with it. I actually wasn't a goalie until I was like 10. I originally started out as a defender, but I always wanted to be a goalie, so eventually I switched over, and I fell in love even more.

3. What are your favorite memories both as a high school lacrosse player and as a Penn lacrosse player?

For a Penn memory, my favorite one would be [during] my sophomore year, we beat Georgetown in our season opener. We were coming off of my freshman year where we lost to them in double-overtime. I was actually in the net, and I was very upset after we lost my freshman year at [the] NCAA [Championship] to them. So getting revenge on them my sophomore year in the season opener, in Washington D.C., was really nice. And then for non-Penn lacrosse memory, my senior year of high school, I won a state championship, and my team went 20-1. So we only lost one game that season. It was our season opener, and we won 20 straight games.

4. What was it like being a freshman and joining a powerhouse team that made the NCAA Championship?

My freshman year team, everyone was really good. We had set defenders that came in like Katy Junior, Lauren O'Mara, people like that, who were amazing. And I had Mikaila Cheeseman in front of me, and it was amazing for me to look up to her and see what she has done. It helped prepare me for moving into that next role after she graduated my sophomore year. Obviously, it sucks we didn't make the tournament and everything, but getting to experience that at least once was amazing. I hope down the line that everyone else who's left on our team gets to experience it at least once and hopefully a couple more times.

5. You were recently awarded honorable mention All-Ivy for this season. What was it like receiving that news for the first time in your career?

Yeah, actually, it was really funny. I was sitting on my couch with some of my teammates, and I got the news. We all opened up our phones and saw it, and we were like, "Oh, my God, we made it!" One of my teammates, Ellen O'Callaghan, lives with me also. So the two of us were super excited because we like to joke that we're the OG D-squad because we're both seniors. So it was nice to see both of us get recognition, and even everyone else who got recognition like Anna Brandt, Maria Themelis, Keeley Block, [and] Sophie Davis. It was amazing to see that our hard work, while the season didn't go the way we planned it to go, we still were able to get some recognition, which was nice.

6. How did you decide to join DPOSTM (DP's Only Section That Matters)?

My freshman year, [women's lacrosse defender] Teia Ross was on the DP, and she asked if anyone wanted to join. I didn't know if I was going to be good at it, and I was like, I'll just try it, see what happens. After I wrote my first [story], I think it was a recap of men's soccer, and they lost in double-overtime, which sucked, but it was really cool just to get to experience that, to write it, talk to the athletes, and give them quotes and everything. I fell in love with it. Honestly, it helped me decide down the line what I wanted to major in come sophomore year, and even what I want to do into a career path, getting into sports.

7. What are your goals after graduation?

After graduation, I'm going to go to grad school. But I think eventually down the line, I want to get a job in sports media somewhere. [My] dream job would be doing social media for a sports team, maybe an NHL team because I'm a really big hockey fan.

8. What's your favorite story you've written here?

I wrote an article about Jelani Williams, about how he came back from multiple ACL tears, and it was just really cool talking to him and seeing everything he's been through adversity-wise, especially with women's lacrosse, a lot of players do get ACL tears and come back. It was interesting to see his perspective, even from the basketball standpoint. My second-favorite was probably an article on field hockey about their international players. It was really cool talking to the international players and seeing how they got recruited and how they ended up at Penn because their experiences are a little bit different than the traditional, "Okay, I played sports in America. I go to college in America."

9. How do you want to be remembered within DPOSTM?

Someone who does their work, does it on time, produces really good work, but can have fun. Honestly, some of my best friends now I've met through DPOSTM and I love them, and I'll literally stay in touch with them for the rest of my life.

10. How do you want to be remembered in women’s lacrosse?

Hard worker, somebody who was especially grateful for everything that I got to have here at Penn. Losing two seasons here at Penn sucked, but it definitely made me even more grateful coming around for my senior season because you never know, and anything can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. And it made me so grateful for every day that we did have here at Penn at practice or in the weight room or anything like that. 

11. What is the most exciting thing about playing lacrosse, particularly as a goalie?

Playing goalie definitely can be a very hard mental position. But it's really nice that I have four defenders and then three midfielders in front of me, who helped me, and they support me and they're my teammates, and I support them, too. It's definitely a really cool feeling when you get that big stop on defense, you come up with a really big save, and the attack goes down there and scores a goal, and you can just feel the whole momentum of the game shift in your favor.

12. What was your biggest positive takeaway from the pandemic?

We didn't get to play lacrosse, but I got to know my teammates on a much more personal level than even, "Oh, we're in season, we're playing together." We did a lot on Zoom getting to know everyone and things like that. Our team does lunch buddies where you get paired up with somebody every week, and you get to talk to them, get to know them. We would do that all the time over the pandemic, COVID-safe and everything. But I think it helps really foster those relationships so that when we did get back on the field, we worked very cohesively together, and I'd say that's definitely one positive that came out of a lot of negative.

13. You played your last game on May 1 against Columbia. What were your emotions like throughout that whole experience?

It was definitely bittersweet. It was definitely very sad, last game in a Penn uniform, but it was nice to see that a lot of the seniors were contributing in very important ways. Katie Bellucci got her first career goal, Robin Panzarella scored her first of the season. Madison Jiranek scored. [O'Callaghan] had some huge caused turnovers on defense, and I think the seniors were able to make an impact all throughout the field. It was nice to see that, wow, it's our last game, [but] we still were able to all go out on a high note.

14. What is at the top of your bucket list?

I want to go to South America in our summer for their winter and snowboard the Andes Mountains in Chile.

15. What has been your favorite class at Penn?

I took "Sports Business Management," and I absolutely loved it. It's with Professor Rob Digisi, and he's such a great teacher. He makes every class so interesting. After taking the class, I can't look at sports the same way. I can't look at sports and the business of sports the same way. It completely changed my whole perspective on things like free agency and salary caps and things like that.