Dempsey Arsenault Still Getting Used to the Spotlight


WPLL championship MVP Dempsey Arsenault reunites with her Brave midfield mates Marie McCool and Amanda Johansen with the U.S. national team this weekend at the Fall Classic.

Dempsey Arsenault took the controls of the single-engine Cessna plane while on a flight with her grandfather two weeks ago.

It was the first time that the Boston College graduate piloted a plane.

“It was so cool,” Arsenault said. “It was in New Hampshire, so the foliage was so pretty. I got to fly over my hometown and everything.”

Arsenault’s post-collegiate career has taken flight as well, although she’s admittedly closer to still fueling that plane than flying it.

“I’ve been doing a lot of lacrosse clinics and traveling,” Arsenault said. “I’ve been taking this time to pursue lacrosse and because the summer was so busy, I’m taking a break and then hopefully finding a job in the future, but I’m not in any rush.”

Arsenault’s travels will bring her to Sparks, Md., this weekend as one of 27 players selected by head coach Jenny Levy to the United States women’s national team training roster that will play in the Fall Classic at US Lacrosse headquarters.

“Dempsey is quiet and humble, so we did not know how she would do initially, but knew she had the talent to make an impact,” Levy said. “Her first training weekend, she came in and blended immediately with our more veteran players. Her hard working and unselfish play helped her make big plays all over the field which gave her confidence to take more risks. Although young, Dempsey was electric. Her play was an example of all the things we value on the field: skill, creativity, game IQ, athleticism, execution and unselfish play.”

Arsenault’s profile has grown since helping Boston College reach a third straight NCAA championship game. She stood out during the U.S. team training camp in June, then garnered further attention as the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League championship game MVP. Arsenault, Marie McCool and Amanda Johansen comprised the WPLL’s most feared midfield unit and led the Brave to their first league title.

“Starting with her tremendous senior year, Dempsey’s confidence has continued to grow,” said Levy, whose North Carolina team lost to Boston College in the NCAA semifinals. “The opportunity to play for Team USA and the WPLL, I believe, has helped Dempsey realize that she has the technical, tactical and physical skills to dominate and change the temperature of a game.”

Brave head coach Sonia LaMonica didn’t hold back after the championship win, calling Arsenault the “best player in the world,” a statement that Arsenault hasn’t quite embraced.

“I definitely feel like nothing’s really changed,” Arsenault said. “With the pro league, and social media and everything, I’m getting pushed outside my comfort zone a little to try to be more outgoing in the media. It’s a little hard to adjust to. It’s exciting but I’m still trying to stay grounded.”

Only a couple of months ago, Arsenault was just one-third of Boston College’s Big Three, often overshadowed by 2018 Tewaaraton Award winner Sam Apuzzo and dual-sport star Kenzie Kent. While Apuzzo and Kent put up eye-popping numbers as seniors, combining for 251 points, Arsenault’s motor often proved to be the difference. She led the Eagles with 44 ground balls, ranked second with 100 draw controls and third with 23 caused turnovers. Her offensive contributions, 65 goals and 27 assists, were nothing to sneeze at, either.

Arsenault isn’t quite breaking away from that shadow — she and Apuzzo did clinics together in New Jersey and California the last two weekends — but she has seen her star rise in the lacrosse world.

“My whole junior and senior year at BC kind of prepared me for that. Being named the Big Three with Kenzie and Sam got me a little bit used to it,” Arsenault said. “Now with the pro league, it’s me being a little more independent, and it’s been exciting, but it hasn’t really changed how I think. I’m still trying to work hard and go out there and play my best every time that I can. Also with the traveling and taking this time off to just do clinics, I’m able work out hard. That’s also been exciting and I’m looking forward to the Fall Classic to show it.”

Video of Arsenault flying the plane appeared on the WPLL’s Instagram feed as part of its #LiveLikeAPro campaign. Arsenault, Alice Mercer and Kylie Ohlmiller focus on travel and events in their posts.

“My grandparents, I think they’re just bored and want to follow me,” Arsenault said. “They’re always coming up with new ideas, and my grandpa was like, ‘You should go flying.’ I got to fly it. It was so cool.”

Arsenault signed with STX in August, went to a photo shoot in Austin, Texas (featured in another #LiveLikeAPro post), and has been fielding interest from some other companies to promote their products.

“A few people have reached out, but I haven’t really done anything except STX,” Arsenault said. “They’re my priority right now. I think I need to grow my following a little bit to get more. It’s OK. It’s growing.”

Arsenault hadn’t considered parlaying her lacrosse status into anything more than coaching at clinics.

“I wasn’t really, but now with this whole ‘Live Like a Pro,’ it’s come to my attention a little bit more,” Arsenault said. “My personality isn’t super like that. This whole ‘Live Like a Pro’ thing has been very cool, and we’ll see where it takes me. It’s not my focus.”

As intense and noticeable as Arsenault is on the field, she’s just as reserved off the field until you get to know her.

“I feel like that’s how I’ve grown up — just try to stay humble and work hard,” Arsenault said. “So I don’t want to think too far in the future.”

Arsenault grew up the child of two faculty members at the New Hampton School, a boarding school in New Hampshire, where she says there were plenty of Division I athletes from sports other lacrosse. She didn’t feel as though she garnered any more attention than many other New Hampton schoolmates.

“I’ve grown a lot from being at BC,” Arsenault said. “I feel like in high school, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was just going to play lacrosse in college, which a lot of other athletes were doing.”

As Boston College climbed the college ranks, Arsenault, Apuzzo and Kent became better known. They were the face of the Eagles’ ascent.

“It was something that grew after our first time at the national championship,” Arsenault said. “We realized that we were going to start getting a lot more attention.”

Arsenault has been impressive with a new set of teammates at the pro and international levels. She’s one of the draws for young players and fans.

“Dempsey fits in great with our other middies,” Levy said. “She is physically and mentally reliable, with a workman attitude. There isn’t much she can’t do on the field. She impacts the game all over the field, but always within a team concept. Our environment is competitive. The talent is off the charts. But the question is, do you make the team better or are you just out there doing your thing? Dempsey is an unselfish and hard-working player with amazing talent. Who doesn’t want to play with that type of teammate?”

At the Fall Classic, Arsenault will reunite with Johansen and McCool. The trio can rehash their same strengths at the international level that led to the WPLL title.

“It’s such an exciting opportunity and any time you can wear the red, white and blue. It’s a huge honor to play with the best of the best,” Arsenault said. “All these girls I’m playing with are just so talented, and they’re people I look up to. I’m trying to work my hardest to put the best product on the field so our team is satisfied and we get what we ultimately want, which is to win. I’m so excited for this opportunity to keep playing.”

Beyond the Fall Classic, Arsenault will continue to train, travel and fly high in her next endeavor.

“I think after the Fall Classic is when I’ll start to really focus on getting a job,” Arsenault said. “I haven’t put too much time into it honestly. I’ve been busy traveling and having fun. After the Fall Classic, I think I’ll try to maybe settle down in Boston.”

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