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As an athlete myself, I understand that, sometimes, there are players who essentially risk it all for the game and the position. During practice, we are often reminded about the importance of acknowledging that, in lacrosse, our goalies risk their entire bodies to defend the goal. They may throw themselves on the ground, they may get on their knees, or risk some essential part. Kimaari Mondy is a Junior at Townview Magnet Center who has been playing for Bridge Lacrosse for six years now. From watching her play, I can one-hundred percent agree that she is one of the most hard-working athletes on the field. During games, you can see the drive she has in her eyes, and how important defending the cage is to her.
Mondy has not only played goalie but has also played on the field. Her first year with Bridge she was an attacker who moved the ball well but after that season their team no longer had a goalie so she decided to step up and try the position out. We can all agree that it went very well for her; a destiny meant to be. VYPE-U got to speak with Kimaari about her career with Bridge and the transition from attack to goalie.
When asked, "How has playing for Bridge Lacrosse impacted your life?" Mondy said, "I can say that playing lacrosse has helped me with stepping outside of my comfort zone. Most of the day I'm kind of to myself and quiet, but once I hit the field with my team, I feel like I can be whoever. There's no judgment with Bridge; anybody who comes is truly welcomed with open arms." I find this extremely true, because whenever there's a new player, whether they come at the beginning or middle of the season, we make sure we introduce ourselves and take the time to work on the basics so they can get a grasp of those skills. Kimaari herself was very welcoming when I first joined the team, and now I'd like to say we're good friends; she's one of the funniest people I know. For Mondy, Bridge is like a second family to her. She appreciates the dedication Bridge has for things other than lacrosse. For example, they provide SAT/ACT prep books and prep classes, internships, travel opportunities, and Coach David is essentially a college advisor.
Bridge Lacrosse | Kimaari Mondy 2022 - Spring 2020 Highlights - Uncommitted
I asked Kimaari a bit more about her reasons for success, and the way she worked towards this level of play. Mondy said, "I'm sure many people have said this before, but I truly think it takes grit and a certain level of self-trust that is needed in order to be successful. And to be frank, I don't think I did a specific thing for me to build up these skills, I just let time do its thing. I'm a true believer in change over time so I think through time and experience I was able to pick up these skills." I definitely think this is a very unique way to approach success because we always hear from others that it takes "very hard work" or "working every hour of the day" but Mondy simply believes in being a very patient athlete.
As a follow-up question, I asked Kimaari about the coaches that have changed her athletic career, and she gives credit to "the great Coach David" for her success. Mondy learned from Coach David that being a good lacrosse player isn't always about your skill level, but rather your mental abilities, building relationships, leadership, and what you can do off the field rather than on it. Although Mondy has incredible strengths such as her courage, nobody is perfect. Being able to understand your weaknesses is an important asset to being an athlete, and Mondy knows that she still has some work to do with her confidence. Which is one-hundred percent okay, because life is a work in progress.
As far as her career after high school, Kimaari is still deciding if she'd be best off playing lacrosse in college or not, but regardless of what that decision comes down to she knows she wants to simply be the best version of herself; enjoy life and accomplish her goals.
"If I make the decision to play, I simply want to break records and be a major inspiration to others. If I don't continue my lacrosse career, I want to be successful in college so that I'm able to pursue my dream career." -Kimaari Mondy
KATY - Towards the end of her speech with her team huddled around her, Sydney Gotcher leaned further into the circle with some final words.
"This is our year, we're going back-to-back baby."
Fulshear players cheered and screamed for joy at the those words, with even a little jumping around, before putting their hands in the air and breaking the final huddle of the night. The Chargers were celebrating a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) victory over Dripping Springs on Tuesday inside Katy ISD's Merrell Center, which had just catapulted them to the Class 5A State Championship match to face defending champ Lucas Lovejoy.
"It's awesome, it's something we talked about all year," Fulshear coach Sydney Gotcher said. "I think at the end of the year last year people were saying Lovejoy and Fulshear. We talked a lot about getting back but when it comes down to it nitty gritty and practice everyday and weight room on Saturday mornings, I'm really proud of how the kids have persevered."
THE CHARGERS WIL PLAY FOR THE 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!!! @FULSHEARVB defeats @DSTigerVBall 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) and will face Lucas Lovejoy for the title on Saturday at Noon | #txhsvb #UILState @lcisdathletics @FulshearABC @ellieechterr @AvaUnderwood16 @SportsDayHS @UIL_AD pic.twitter.com/GlCWVi72w6— vypehouston (@vypehouston) December 9, 2020
Fulshear will face Lovejoy at Noon at Saturday inside the Curtis Cullwell Center in Garland for the Class 5A State Championship.
Fulshear on Saturday will try and become just the third program since 2000 to repeat in back-to-back years but do it in different classifications. The last team to do it was Decatur in 2014 and ironically prior to that was their opponent Lovejoy, which did it in 2013 moving from Class 3A to 4A.
Lovejoy is a brand in the volleyball - much like North Shore in football - and they have won a lot. In fact, Lovejoy enters Saturday seeking back-to-back titles for its program and the eighth overall but Fulshear is ready to claim its second-straight crown.
"It's crazy, I feel like I've been watching them every year at the state tournament that I've been coaching," Gotcher said. "They are just the ultimate volleyball team when you think of 5A volleyball. So, just the fact that we are facing [Lovejoy] is awesome but I think we can do it.
"I think the athletes we have on this team are going to be really hard to beat."
VYPE Postgame: @FULSHEARVB head coach Sydney Gotcher talks with VYPE after the win as @Fulshear_HS is heading to the Class 5A State Title Match! #txhsvb @FulshearABC @lcisdathletics @fulshear_fball @ellieechterr @AvaUnderwood16 @AlexisDacosta9 @UIL_AD pic.twitter.com/WowyDIvQUS— vypehouston (@vypehouston) December 9, 2020
The list of those is a long one.
A roster filled with the likes of LSU-signee Ellie Echter, Baylor-commit Alexis Dacosta, Texas A&M-commit Ava Underwood and a rising star in junior Brielle Warren, who is quickly making a name for herself and had the final serve to help send Fulshear to the title match.
"This is something that was a goal for us from the very beginning," Warren said. "So it was an expectation and something that drove us every single day and now that it is here we know that we have to keep pushing, keep working and stay disciplined so we can take that win home."
Warren is a part of a stellar junior class that includes the likes of Underwood, Dacosta, Skylar Voskhul and Greta Freeney, which has helped this senior class of seven have a chance at one more ring.
"These girls make it easy to work hard for them every single day," Warren said. "They're great people, they work hard, they set expectations and we push each other everyday. These seniors are amazing girls and so all of us on the team wanted to do it for them and we would do it over and over again."
Now three sets, that's all that stands between Fulshear and another state championship.
"We're ready," Gotcher said.
VYPE Postgame: Caught up with junior Brielle Warren after the win | @FULSHEARVB @FulshearABC @Fulshear_HS @lcisdathletics @ellieechterr @AvaUnderwood16 @GHVCA pic.twitter.com/RUogMPYi4W— vypehouston (@vypehouston) December 9, 2020