Smyrna’s Porter has grown to love being a goalie

Smyrna goalie Katie Porter saves a Dover shot on goal. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Katie Porter admits it.

Running wasn’t one of her favorite things.

So, in seventh grade, when her field hockey coach asked for volunteers to play goalie, Porter saw her chance.

Her hand went up — and it was the only one.

But, six years later, Porter doesn’t regret volunteering to have hard, rubber projectiles fired at her.

The recent Smyrna High grad even took on goal-tending duties for the Eagles’ girls’ lacrosse team, as well.

Porter will be in goal for the Blue squad tonight in the annual Blue-White Girls’ Lacrosse All-Star Game, which starts at 7 p.m. at Dover.

The boys’ Blue-White all-star contest will also be played tonight, beginning at 7:15 p.m. on Dover’s other turf field.

Porter says she’s grown to love playing goalie. She plans to keep playing both field hockey and lacrosse at Wesley College, where she’s headed in the fall.

“I really fell in love with it,” Porter said about playing goalie. “I don’t know, it kind of was for me.

“I know, it sounds crazy. But it’s just the feeling you get when you stop a ball. It’s just adrenaline.”

A first-team all-Henlopen Conference choice in field hockey as a senior, Porter earned second-team honors in lacrosse.

Smyrna coach Amy Musto, who was also was a goalie in both sports, says Porter has the guts to play the position but also the sense of humor.

“She has a good work ethic,” said Musto, who will be one of the Blue team coaches in the all-star game. “Her team believes in her.
“In the beginning she was taking it all in. After her sophomore year, she was ready to lead.”

Officially, Porter made 705 varsity saves between the two sports. Of course, that doesn’t count the countless shots she’s faced in practices and scrimmages, etc.

Porter said facing hard shots — especially in lacrosse — is just “mind over matter.”

The extra padding in field hockey helps, but it can also be time-consuming to get on. Porter had to work at getting her time down to two minutes for suiting up.

Despite the common goal of the position in both sports, they really take very different skills.

Field hockey goalies make most saves with their feet while lacrosse goalies are more likely to snare the ball out of the air.

“Making the transition between the two is challenging because of the steps that you have to take,” said Musto, who played both sports at West Chester. “One is hand-eye (coordination) and one is more positional with your feet.”

Of course, the one big similarity in playing goalie in both sports is the bruises you accumulate in the course of a season.

“You never get used to it,” said Porter. “Getting hit in my arms … I’m still not used to it. It hurts a lot.”

More than anything, though, Porter said playing goalie gave her an identity and a sense of purpose in high school. She started for three seasons in lacrosse and two in field hockey.

“I can’t imagine my life without it,” she said. “I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through high school without it.

“I owe it all to my teammates. They became like sisters to me. And my coaches, they weren’t even like coaches. They were like family. They were like moms helping me to get better. I owe it to them for getting me where I am now.”

Porter will be joined in today’s all-star game by three other Smyrna players: Defenders Raina Semenick and Halie Moyer along with midfielder Julie Snow.

Porter knows that being a two-sport goalie in college will be even more of a challenge. But she’s excited about the opportunity.

“At first I was kind of nervous,” said Porter. “College is new and I feel like the pressure will be more intense. But I know that if other people can do it, I can do it.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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