Feb. 10, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland women's lacrosse program boasts 11 national championships, 22 national players of the year, and more than 150 IWLCA All-Americans. Keeping in mind the legacy that precedes them, the goal remains the same for the Terps in 2012 - play with pride every day.
It's been a seemingly lengthy eight month layoff since the Terps last took the field, falling short of their second consecutive national championship by one goal in 2011. That wait finally comes to an end when Maryland continues its tradition of excellence at its home opener against William & Mary Sunday.
Sixth-year head coach Cathy Reese anticipates a season that is thrilling at every turn.
"This will be an exciting season for us," Reese said. "Every year is different. We lost some very talented players but everyone has stepped up and is ready for the challenge of starting our journey this 2012 season."
The Terps put together another fantastic campaign in 2011, finishing with a 21-2 record, their third consecutive ACC title and a three-straight trip to the final four. Maryland is a staggering 64-4 the past three seasons.
But Reese and the Terps aren't looking back. Instead, the squad is shifting its focus to the task at hand.
"We want to get better every day we play. That's a goal that's never really changed for us," Reese said. "We want to play to compete every minute, in every opportunity we have. Whether it's a practice or a game, we want to put our best foot forward every time."
The Terps boast a nation-best four Inside Lacrosse Preseason First Team All-Americans, including Karri Ellen Johnson, Katie Schwarzmann, Iliana Sanza and Brittany Dipper. The schedule includes home romps with Virginia, Syracuse, Boston College and Georgetown. The squad will undoubtedly be road tested with challenging contests at Duke, Penn, and North Carolina.
Below is a breakdown of the Terps roster by position in 2012:
The Terps are ecstatic to have a healthy Karri Ellen Johnson back in the lineup in 2012. The senior captain and two-time IWLCA First Team All-American missed 12 games last season due to injury. She is poised to resume her vital role in Maryland's offense.
"She has such a presence on the field whether it's taking the draw and dominating the center of the field or being on offense," Reese said. "She is such a threat and someone who other teams really need to pay attention to. She's a fun player to watch play."
Fans will want to keep tabs on Johnson as she looks to continue her climb in the Maryland record books. The Annapolis, Md., native is currently fourth in career goals (182).
Maryland will also rely on returning starters Kristy Black and Alex Aust. Black will serve as a captain in 2012 after scoring 31 goals as a junior. Aust tallied 42 points as a sophomore in her first year as a starter.
"The neat thing about Kristy and Alex is they will be filing in a different role for us on offense," Reese said. "We are expecting a lot from them as far as stepping up and leading our attack. I think we'll see them more involved offensively."
Senior Bria Phillips will also bring a veteran presence to the attack.
"Bria is a hard-working, smart player who will add depth to our offense," Reese said.
Katie Schwarzmann, the 2011 IWLCA National Midfielder of the Year and Tewaaraton finalist, returns to lead the Terps through the middle. Widely known as the fastest player in the nation, Schwarzmann led Maryland in goals last season with 65. The junior captain is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball.
"Katie gets it done all over the field, both ends of the field and in transition," Reese said. "She's a solid defender and she's a threat whenever we get the ball in her hands on offense."
Beth Glaros finished her freshman season with a bang in 2011, scoring a game-high four goals in the national title match against Northwestern. She played in all 23 games for the Terps, tallying 22 goals.
"Last year's season was one where she continued to build confidence," Reese said. "She's been picking up where she left off last season. We look forward to her leading the way with Katie in the midfield."
In addition, watch for freshmen Kelly McPartland (member of the U.S. U-19 team that won gold in the FIL World Cup last summer), Mattie Meredith, Taylor Salandra and Erin Collins to aid in the midfield as they transition to the college game.
The defense will have three new starters in 2012 after the departure of Katie Gallagher, Brittany Poist and Sara Cooper. Iliana Sanza, a second team all-region pick as a sophomore, is the lone returning starter for Maryland. While the unit will be young, don't expect it to be any less disciplined.
Sanza will lead the back line as a junior and, along with four-year starter goalie Brittany Dipper, will do the majority of the organizing.
"Iliana has definitely stepped up this season," Reese said. "She learned a lot from last year. That's pushed her forward this year by working hard in the offseason and leading by example. She's been our organizer defensively."
Juniors Melissa Diepold, Kristen McAfee, Sam Barber and Camilla Hayes are ready to step into bigger roles this season and will help mentor sophomore Annie Farrell and a strong core of freshman defenders including Shanna Brady, Megan Douty, and Nicole Aust.
Dipper, the 2011 IWLCA National Goalie of the Year, is back for her final season in College Park. She has been tabbed to three straight ACC championship all-tournament teams while leading Maryland to conference titles in each season since her arrival.
"We will look for Dipper to lead us both on and off the field this season as a captain," Reese said. "Her poise in goal will be critical to our success defensively."