COLLEGE PARK – Maryland women’s lacrosse team has proven itself to be elite, and in its own right, a dynasty. Winning the national championship in 2015 for a second consecutive year, the Lady Terps are looking to add more hardware to their trophy case at the end of the 2016 season. Head Coach Cathy Reese […]
COLLEGE PARK – Maryland women’s lacrosse team has proven itself to be elite, and in its own right, a dynasty.
Winning the national championship in 2015 for a second consecutive year, the Lady Terps are looking to add more hardware to their trophy case at the end of the 2016 season.
Head Coach Cathy Reese has captured three National Championships in her ten years at the helm. From 1995-2001, Cindy Timchal won seven straight titles with the Terps, winning eight total. Reese seems to be en route to a similar territory if her girls keep up their intensity on the field.
Five All-American starters return to the roster this season, and Reese says youth will not hold this squad back from a winning formula.
“We are going to be young, there are a lot of new faces into our group,” Reese said to the Big Ten Network before the start of the season. “I think this group is ready. They have a lot of good energy. This group is fun and we’re just looking to pull all the pieces of this puzzle together.”
Off to a tremendous start, the Terps remain undefeated at 12-0 and have all 17 votes at the No. 1 team in the country. Led by senior Taylor Cummings (midfielder), sophomore Megan Whittle (attacker) and senior Alice Mercer (defender), so far 2016 is a continuation of their winning tradition.
“The goal is the same every year,” Cummings said. “You want to win a championship. It’s just how we get there is a little different each year.”
As a junior, Cummings became the youngest two-time recipient of the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player, winning the honor in both 2014 and 2015.Also in 2015, Cummings was nominated for the Best Female College Athlete ESPY Award and is a 2015-2016 U.S. National Team member. Amongst the players to watch for the award in 2016, as well as the Big Ten player to watch, Cummings’ work ethic has been apparent. This season, Cummings became the first player to win Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week in the same week.
Cummings’ skill on the field is a testament to the work she puts in during the off-season. However, having assistance from Whittle does not hurt matters either.
“Having won a championship the year before, there’s always a lot of pressure, but we returned a really good group of girls and we had a really good freshman class, especially with (Whittle) coming in,” Cummings said.
Last season, Whittle had a standout freshman season with the Terps. She led the team with 67 goals and won Big Ten Player of The Week honors six times. The Glenwood native’s play on the field gives Maryland optimism down the road.
“Coming in as a freshman, it was really exciting to be a part of such an awesome group,” Whittle said.
Scoring three of the nine goals in the team’s 2015 National Championship win against North Carolina, Whittle’s willingness to succeed will be a huge factor as the season winds down.
Mercer is another dynamic player on the Terps’ roster. She is also on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Trophy this year.
Mercer and her squad are aware of the victorious feats they have earned thus far, but as a co-captain of the team, the past is not in her current mindset.
“Obviously we’ve had a couple of great years and two national championships. It’s easy sometimes to lose focus and think about the past,” Mercer said. “Just keeping the positivity and the energy and the focus on the present, and not the past or what’s coming up in the future.”
So far this season, the Terps have found little to no trouble in defeating their opponents. Their closest margin of victory was an 8-7 win over North Carolina, a team that they met in the championship game last season. Winning 9-8 last year, the matchup between the two schools is always a thrill to watch. During their February matchup this season, Cummings and Whittle combined for six of the eight goals.
Coming down to the wire last season, Inside Lacrosse listed Mercer, Cummings and Whittle as players to watch as the Player of The Year. Battling through their second year in the Big Ten conference, a three-peat is not farfetched. Reese and Assistant Coach Lauri Kenis have been working together since the 2006-2007 season and have a decade of chemistry going between them.
“In the way that we approach things, this is a new year,” Reese said. “We’re looking to build up and try to work our way up to be the best team that we can.”