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April 6, 2015

“It was very competitive, growing up in a house with three brothers. I felt like I had to hold my own. I was always really aggressive, trying to compete with them, but it was a lot of fun.”

It is a daunting-enough task to be the youngest sister of three brothers, but Virginia senior attacker Casey Bocklet isn’t just anyone baby sister. All three of her older brothers, Mike (nine years her senior), Matt (seven years) and Chris (three years) are on the roster for Major League Lacrosse’s Denver Outlaws.

Since 2003, there has been at least one member of the Bocklet family playing collegiate lacrosse. Mike, who in addition to playing lacrosse is also currently the head coach at NCAA Division III Purchase College, played four years at Fairfield. Matt, who currently coaches a club and a high school team, played in 2005 and 2006 at Fairfield before transferring to John Hopkins for his final two seasons. Chris was an honorable mention All-American at Virginia, playing for the Cavaliers from 2009-12. With Casey poised to graduate in May, it would seem to be the end of the Bocklet lacrosse dynasty, but its not.

“I have a ton of little cousins who play,” Bocklet said. “One of my cousins, Hanna Bocklet, is a freshman at Denver. Another cousin, Graham Bocklet, is in his first-year and playing at Vermont. It has been fun to be able to support them since they have been supporting me all these years.”

Lacrosse wasn’t originally in the cards for the Bocklet kids.

“We had a pitcher’s mound in our back yard because my brothers were playing baseball and my dad was the coach of the team,” Bocklet recalled. “Before practice, all of the kids would come over and play baseball. My oldest brother switched to lacrosse and then Matt and Chris followed. Seeing what they were doing, I thought it would be fun to have a sport that we could all play together and have catches in the back yard.”

After all four of the children took up lacrosse, including an eight-your-old Casey, the pitchers mound in the South Salem, N.Y. yard was replaced by lacrosse nets.

“We would even spray paint the yard and make lines,” Casey recalled. “We would play three-by and little lacrosse games all the time back there.

“I do remember one time when I was in the fifth grade, Matt hopped into the cage and I was shooting on him and I almost hit him. That’s when he was like `okay, that’s enough.’ But we were always competing and always having fun.” Backyard lacrosse set the foundation for four stellar individual careers. Three of the siblings own NCAA Championship rings. Matt helped guide the 2007 Blue Jays to a national championship. Chris was a member of Virginia’s 2010 championship squad. Casey won what she hopes was her first national championship in 2012 with Northwestern.

“That was the longest game of my life,” Bocklet said, recalling the title game against Syracuse. “I was playing on the field, but then our stall team went in with probably two minutes left, so I went off to the sideline. I can remember jumping up and down. It was amazing and a great feeling to see all of our hard work pay off.”

Bocklet transferred to Virginia right after winning that championship, and in her three season as a Cavalier has scored over 100 goals and earned All-America honors in 2013. After helping Virginia advance to the NCAA National Semifinals last year, she looks forward to taking the next step this May.

“Every year since I have been here, we have gotten closer and closer,” Bocklet said. “I think it only shows how we are improving. Having that experience of making it to a Final Four under our belts can only help us this year on a late-season run.”

Though much of her life has been tied to lacrosse, Bocklet did study abroad in Valencia, Spain, during the summer before her junior year, far away from any sticks, balls or fields.

“It was a great experience and I learned a lot, especially since Spanish isn’t my best subject,” Bocklet said. “I would go to class six hours and then I would come home and have dinner with the host family I was staying with, so I really got to experience what their daily life was like. I felt so fortunate to be able to go to Europe and experience different cultures. It was a great time and I learned a lot.”

Though she wasn’t playing lacrosse while abroad, she still kept up with her fitness training.

“We joined a gym that was right next to the school, where I did my first Zumba class, which was really funny because the instructor was speaking Spanish and I could not understand anything she was saying, so I was just trying to do my best.”

The five weeks in Spain may be the only lacrosse-free time in Bocklet’s recent past or near future.

“After graduation, I am going to stay in the lacrosse world,” Bocklet said. “My family owns and runs lacrosse camps. My brother and I will travel and run day camps in Florida, Colorado, Texas and Montauck, N.Y. for boys and girls aged 5-17. I do the girls and he does the boys. We also have a sleep away camp that we run in the Adirondacks and in Aspen for fifth through eighth graders. Sleep-away camp is not just lacrosse. It’s a normal camp where lacrosse is the main feature but there are other activities like swimming and boating. It is about the whole experience, being able to put the sticks down and have fun at the same time.”

After a camp-filled summer, Bocklet would like to work with club lacrosse as a director or a similar position.

“Lacrosse has given my family so many good opportunities,” Bocklet said.

It is that family that tops the list of people she would like to thank.

“First, I want to thank my parents for always being there for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your love and support. I also have to thank my big brothers Mike, Matt and Chris, for being my motivation and number-one fans. I could not have asked for better role models. I want to thank the coaches for taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, I am forever grateful. I also want to thank [athletic trainer] Blair [Moore] for putting up with me everyday, I know it wasn’t easy. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates for being my family-away-from-home and making this experience worthwhile. I will always remember the countless memories and good times – I love you guys. And shout out to Lucy (my niece) for being so darn cute.”

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