Kate Weeks grabbed her stick, plugged in her headphones, and made her way to her backyard. She stared down her bounce-back net, and began to do what she does best: shoot.
Weeks ripped one after another, working on technique, accuracy, and velocity. Soon, one hour became two, and two turned into three. After five hours, she had to stop—not due to boredom, but because she was devoured by darkness.
It was just another day.
She followed this routine until the start of her collegiate career. Haley Sanborn, her head coach at the Hun School, compared Weeks to a sponge. She would absorb every skill or technique that was sent her way.
“She’s a dream to coach,” Sanborn said. “You’d give her the skills, and she’d go out and practice them, and she’d pick them up like it was nothing.”
And no one was telling her to do so. She was simply driven by a pure love—one that was innate.
“I always think that you’re born into being a defensive player or an offensive player,” Weeks said.
It’s pretty clear that Boston College’s current leading scorer received the offensive genes. To this point, Weeks has recorded 24 goals on the season, ranking her fourth in the ACC in goals scored per game (3.43 per game).
And it can all be traced back to the number that she bears on her chest. Weeks has worn the No. 24 her entire life. While some select a number for continuity, aesthetics, or luck, the Princeton, N.J. native’s choice was inspired by “one of the best athletes we’ll ever see”: Kobe Bryant.
Like the five-time NBA champion, Weeks is a finisher. In one sense of the word, she caps off most of the Eagles’ scoring plays. As far as head coach Acacia Walker is concerned, that in itself is valuable.
“Oh, it’s huge,” Walker said. “I mean every single position is unique, and it’s all part of the puzzle, but Kate’s position is a tough one—she’s gotta put the finishing touches on the play.”
In another sense, she comes through when it matters most. When the clock starts to wind down, Weeks remains poised, an attribute that she simply credits to game experience. Instead of floundering under pressure, she reacts as she normally would—just like she did for years in her backyard.
“Even when we’re tied and have five seconds left, and you have to score, my heart rate is still the same,” Weeks said.
She’s not lying. On Saturday, BC entered halftime trailing Harvard, 6-3. For a large portion of the second half, the two sides traded scoring plays. With less than four minutes remaining, Dempsey Arsenault and Kaileen Hart tallied goals to bring BC within one.
Then, it was Weeks’ time to shine—27 seconds prior to the final whistle, she whipped a shot past Crimson goaltender Meredith Brown to force overtime. Hart would go on to cap off the comeback with a sudden-death goal.
coring and skill-work aside, Weeks places a large emphasis on mental toughness. Once again, she turns to her role model.
“Mentally, [Bryant] is the athlete that you want to be,” Weeks said.
The Black Mamba is renowned for silencing critics and overachieving throughout his 20-year career. He did so from the minute he was drafted out of high school to his final season. Toward the end of his playing days, an aging Bryant suffered multiple achilles injuries. Many doubted that he would ever be able to score like his old self. In his send-off game, he proved everyone wrong one last time, scoring 60 points and willing his Los Angeles Lakers to a come-from-behind victory.
According to Weeks’ father, Jim, she has done an impeccable job of molding her mentality to that of Bryant.
“She knows what she wants to achieve in life, and she works hard to get it,” Jim said.
Often, that involves a great deal of preparation. Before every game, Weeks leaves the locker room and finds a quiet, secluded place to sit. She then visualizes herself shooting certain shots that she might find herself taking in the coming hours.
This practice is especially effective for a player like Weeks—someone who is constantly fighting through crowds of defenders that flood the middle of the field just to get a look on the goal.
She rarely has time to think about how she will position herself for the ideal shot. Not to mention the practice alleviates some of the pressure that comes with serving as BC’s primary source of production. In Weeks’ mind, she has to be on every game.
''Even when we're tied and have five seconds left, and you have to score, my heart rate is still the same.'' Kate Weeks
But when it comes to pressure, Weeks has a basic philosophy: either you can handle it or you can’t. Essentially, it’s survival of the fittest. It’s safe to say that she has not only dealt with expectations, but has also exceeded them. Walker attributes this to her fierce intensity and mentality.
Except that ferocity isn’t natural. In fact, off the field, Weeks considers herself to be gentle and forgiving. But when she suits up for competition, everything changes. With a flick of a switch, she’s a completely different person.
“Off the field, Kate is generally happy-go-lucky, smiling, fun—that type of person,” Jim said. “And when she gets onto the lacrosse field, it’s all business.”
Weeks affirms that while some see her play as mean or dirty, her aggressiveness is merely excited by her will to win.
“She’d play through a brick wall if it meant that her team would get a goal,” Sanborn said.
For Weeks, it’s not about adding to her statline, earning weekly awards, or even breaking program records. On Feb. 8, Weeks notched a school-best eight goals versus then-No. 15 Massachusetts, en route to an 18-10 upset victory. Following the game, friends and family congratulated her on her achievement—one of which she was unaware.
“People were texting me after, and I just thought they meant ‘good game,’” Weeks said. “I didn’t really know what they were saying.”
As soon as Weeks found the back of the net for the eighth time, her focus shifted to closing out a UMass group that is one-year removed from a run to the Elite Eight. She didn’t know, nor did she care, that she had broken a BC record. At that moment, all she wanted was to help her team win.
es, Weeks is a scorer. But she really identifies as a team player.
“Even though she’s a shooter, and her job is to score, she’s not consumed with that,” Jim said. “The overriding objective is she wants to win. She doesn’t care if she scores or not.”
Back in high school, her team didn’t have the depth of a college team, let alone one in the ACC. Naturally, there were holes to fill across the field, and Weeks was quick to volunteer to patch them. If Sanborn needed Weeks on defense, she’d play defense. And if Sanborn needed Weeks to slide back to midfield, she’d do that too.
Weeks believes that the team’s success is dependant on the performance of the unit as a whole. Without the aid of her teammates, Weeks cannot excel on the attack. At the same time, if she fails to create scoring plays, her supporting cast will have a much harder time doing their own jobs. Each player relies on the other for their own personal achievements.
So when it comes to Weeks’ goal scoring, she only credits her fellow Eagles.
“There’s not a second that goes by that I don’t think that my teammates are the reason why I have success,” Weeks said.
Her teammates have to thank her as well. Because Weeks draws so many defenders in the middle of the field, other attackers are left in open space on the perimeter. As a result, her teammates have capitalized. One in particular, sophomore Sam Apuzzo, has scored 20 goals this year, 14 of which have been recorded in the past four games.
Effectively, Weeks’ play has heavily contributed to the production of a multi-faceted Eagles attack—one that is ranked 27th in the nation.
BC has won five of its first seven games, but Weeks isn’t satisfied. Both of the games that the Eagles have dropped have come in conference play—an area of concern as of late. Last year, Walker’s crew had a 2-5 record in the ACC, the country’s toughest conference for women’s lacrosse.
The poor regular-season play seeded BC to play a Final Four-bound Syracuse team in the first round of the ACC Tournament. After 60 minutes, the Eagles’ chances at a conference championship were gone, and hopes for an NCAA Tournament appearance all but vanished.
This time around, Weeks is looking to rewrite the script. And there is more than enough time. In the coming months, BC will play North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke, among other ACC foes. Just two years ago, Weeks was part of an Eagles team that traveled to Chapel Hill and edged UNC in overtime. She still reminisces on that victory today. Time will tell if she can recreate a similar memory this season.
In May, Weeks’ tenure as a BC athlete will come to an end. She won’t be defined by the number of goals she scores. Instead, she will be remembered for her integrity, work ethic, and giving nature.
Weeks sees scoring as a microcosm of the entire unit’s work. From her perspective, she is just doing her job, the same way the rest of her teammates are.
Sanborn believes that Weeks’ genuine concern for others and passion for the game of lacrosse sets her up perfectly for a future coaching job.
As always, Weeks will have to decide if it’s a shot worth taking.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor
Photos by Julia Hopkins and Lucas Xuan / Heights Editor and Staff