Sarah Bloise, Fresno State lacrosse leading scorer, can’t help but wonder “what if?”
What if, in her freshman year at Davis High School, she had not taken her basketball teammate’s advice to try out for the lacrosse team?
“I think about that all the time,” the junior attacker said of possibly never trying out. “But I also think it was a perfect time for me to enter the sport because I wasn’t too old and I wasn’t too young. I was at that prime time where I could develop my skills and come in with that basketball background.”
Bloise calls herself a “late bloomer,” but adds that her peak is now. She is an offensive force, leading the team in both goals (39) and assists (20).
Late bloomer or not, Bloise has fallen in love with lacrosse. Her seven years playing the sport have led to an unusual obsession.
“I never like to let my stick out of my hands,” Bloise said as she scooped a ball in and out of her stick. “It is my life. Especially during this season time. It’s school, lacrosse, eat, sleep and that’s pretty much it.”
But there’s more to Bloise’s life than being a student-athlete – kind of. In her free time, she enjoys dedicating some time to her “first love” – basketball.
Her life lacks the cross-overs and layups that were so common in high school, where she lettered in the sport two years. But when she can, she’ll make time for pickup games with friends.
“Sometimes, me and my friends, we’ll go shoot at the hoops at [Palazzo], so that’s always a nice little break,” Bloise said.
During her “breaks,” which are very limited, you can find Bloise in her room listening to music. Good luck maneuvering around her room, though, as the lights will be off. She said she really just likes to use that time to focus and think about her day.
As for her playlists, those vary depending on the day and her mood.
“When I’m relaxing, I listen to some calm music like The Lumineers. But pre-game, getting ready to battle, definitely rap music,” Bloise said.
The Migos are her rap artists of choice when listening to hip-hop, and she said the rest of the team has found hip-hop to be a great genre to “pump them up” before a game.
The team is currently 9-7, coming off three straight losses, but Bloise said the Bulldogs’ low points throughout the season have helped them build a stronger bond.
“[UC Berkeley], who we recently just beat, that was a tough game. Those are times when it really tests your mental strength, and you need to really lean on your teammates to feed off of that,” she said.
Fresno State was down three goals going into halftime against the Golden Bears. A 10 goal rally in the second half, two of them from Bloise, resulted in a 14-13 Fresno State victory.
Moments like those have helped build chemistry that Bloise hopes will help the team’s efforts to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship.
If you ask head coach Jessica Giglio, having a player like Bloise certainly bolsters Fresno State’s chances.
“We need leaders on attack, and having one of your more consistent attackers, getting a chance to step up and be a leader is something that every coach wants,” Giglio said.
Giglio said Bloise leads the team by example, not so much vocally.
So what if Bloise had never tried out? Would she have ever picked up lacrosse? Where would Fresno State lacrosse be?
No one knows. But all involved are grateful she gave the sport a try.