Take Me Back: 13-Year-Old Iris LaMoreaux Interviews Dempsey Arsenault

“Take Me Back” connects today’s lacrosse stars with the next generation of players from their hometowns.

Iris LaMoreaux, 13, of Plymouth Youth Lacrosse in New Hampshire, interviews Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse pro and U.S. team member Dempsey Arsenault, whose own PYL experience allowed her to fall in love with a sport that carried her to New Hampton School, Boston College, an STX endorsement and now the Women’s World Championship.

Dempsey: Iris, I want to hear more about you. You’re in seventh grade, right? How long have you been playing lacrosse?

Iris: I started when I was pretty young, like 5 or 6. It was more for fun. When did you start?

Dempsey: I started when I was in sixth grade for Plymouth. Have you ever been to New Hampton School or heard of it?

Iris: My hope is to go there, actually.

Dempsey: Oh my gosh, yes. You would love it! My parents both work there and they still live on campus. A bunch of other faculty members’ kids that also lived on campus started playing. They would go to Plymouth, and I felt left out. What hockey team do you play for?

Iris: I play for the Wildcats. We’re based out of Hooksett.

Dempsey: I played hockey too. I was on the Monarchs for boys at Tri-Town and then went to Ice Den with the Avalanche.

Iris: Did you like the Monarchs?

Dempsey: I did, but honestly, I didn’t love playing with the boys. They’re a little gross. So I was very happy to be with the girls after that.

Iris: This is my first year on a girls’ team. In my first year of lacrosse, it was coed and I wore my hockey pads for our gear. Do you remember anything from your first season of lacrosse?

Dempsey: My dad was here looking at pictures a while ago. When I started, we played in mesh football jerseys. They have to be different now, right?

Iris: We had those our first couple years but then when we split up into girls and boys, then they gave us real jerseys. Do you think playing other sports helped you in lacrosse?

Dempsey: Oh my gosh, yes. One-thousand percent. A physical thing that it helped was my hand-eye coordination. In lacrosse, ground balls were one of my specialties and something I really focused on because it was similar to stick work in hockey and field hockey. And playing different sports, I learned so many different coaching styles.

Iris: Is there anything you learned from coaches that stood out or specific coaches that helped you?

Dempsey: Really good transition! The people that were the most impactful in my journey were my three coaches at BC — Acacia (Walker-Weinstein), Kayla (Treanor) and Jen (Kent). They taught me so much about the game. Going from high school to college, it’s so different. You go from being the top dog to you know nothing. You’re getting thrown into practices, film and homework. It’s a big blow. But they believed in me. They’re the ones that pushed me to be my best outside of my comfort zone.

Iris: Have you kept in touch with coaches or teammates?

Dempsey: I live with Sam Apuzzo, who is now the assistant coach at BC. That’s a constant connection. Kayla, I’m now actually her teammate, because she also made the World Cup. Now she’s at Syracuse. I’m helping at Harvard. Sam and I are going to play each other [April 12], BC-Harvard. How are things going to go on game week? We’re probably not going to talk to each other. It’s just a funny dynamic.

Iris: How have you overcome challenges in your career?

Dempsey: Going into my senior year in high school, I tore my ACL. Then in the pro league, I got sick. I got mono. I had to take five weeks off with no activity. I’m a go-go-go person. That was extremely hard. And then when I got the green light, I went from 0 to 100 and ended up breaking my foot. I have another appreciation to work out and play again.

Iris: How do you prepare for games mentally?

Dempsey: In college, I was a big visualizer. Because I’m a middie, I would visualize myself dodging girls or scoring. If I had a matchup, I would watch film and picture myself going against them and stopping their moves. We had so many plays at BC. Before a game, I would draw an 8-meter and go through where my spot in the play was. I would draw every single play because I never wanted to mess up the play or forget it.

Iris: What advice you would give developing athletes?

Dempsey: This is a great closing question. Look at you! I’m proud of you. It sounds cliché, but hard work really does pay off. If you put the time and effort in, you’re going to see the results. Even when you don’t want to do it, force yourself out there and put in the work. People will push you, but it has to come from within.

This article appeared in the April edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine.

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