May 24, 2001
by Alan Brody
If Jen Adams tells you she knows what it must feel like to be a Georgetown player after Sunday's heartstopping 14-13 double overtime NCAA championship game, tell her she's lying.
"A lot of us have forgotten to lose and it's a great feeling," said Adams. "If we play the 60 minutes as hard as we can, even if we do lose, we can't walk off the field with our heads down."
Although the Hoyas made the game a thriller, it was not quite enough to end the Terrapins 43-game winning streak or their now seven consecutive national championships.
But Adams' road to the top started 5,000 miles away in her native Australia.
Her older sister, Trish, had come to Maryland to play lacrosse for Coach Cindy Timchal and she encouraged her younger sibling to do the same.
But when it came time to leave for the United States, Jen found out she would be the only Adams on the flight, as her sister opted to stay home. However, she encouraged Jen to come to Maryland and find out what it was like and make her own decision.
Needless to say, that decision wasn't too difficult.
"She was so persistent on me coming over," said the younger Adams. "I think it's helped me grow as a person. It just wasn't for her."
Adams was surprised at how big the lacrosse fan base was in America, especially at Maryland.
"It's been getting better every year and it's good for the future of women's lacrosse," said Adams.
The transition to America was made easier during Adams' first year by Australian teammate Sascha Newmarch, who was a two-time First Team All-American and led the Terps with 42 assists and was second in goals with 48.
"When I first came over, she [Newmarch] helped me," said Adams. "By the same token, I hope that I've been able to do that for Courtney [Hobbs] and Sonia [Judd]. You feel like you have a piece of home with you."
Despite all the individual accolades Adams has garnered during her career, she insists that her performance is a reflection of her coaches and teammates.
"Coach Timchal is an amazing coach and a great mentor," said Adams. "She and her staff are the hallmark of what Maryland is all about. It starts with great coaching and filters through to the players. They care about us, on and off the field."
Adams set the record for most career points in NCAA lacrosse history with her second point in the NCAA tournament first round game against Monmouth. Despite all the media attention in regards to the record setter, Adams said she didn't know it at the time that she had broken the record, previously held by Karen Emas (University of Delaware, 1981-84).
"I play a team game," said Adams. "For someone to get caught up in individual things, it slows down the way you play. It's not something that I plan to look back on as my greatest achievement. When people see my name on an award or trophy, I hope they can look next to it and see Maryland because the honors are a real reflection of our team, as a whole." This year's tournament was not easy for Maryland. Two of the four games were decided by one goal and sixteenth-seeded Monmouth played even with the Terps for one half.
"It's great that we had teams that challenged us," said Adams. "It helped us grow as a team and made us confident that when things get tough we can topple it. Close games are more of a reflection of great team and great character, rather than individual performances."
Although Adams' career as a player at Maryland has ended, she has expressed interest in coaching, including next year as a volunteer at Maryland while she fulfills her academic requirements. She hopes that her experience as a player can help as a coach and wants to give back to the game that has given her so much as a player. Adams will also compete in this summer's Women's Lacrosse World Cup in England for her native Australia.
In Sunday's national championship game, Adams had - by her standards -- a relatively quiet day (one goal, four assists) as the Georgetown defense did a good job marking her. However, they forgot about senior attacker Allison Comito, who scored the winning goal with eight seconds remaining in the sudden death, second overtime period.
"I can definitely say that I'm completely satisfied with my college career," said Adams, after the title game. "I really can't ask for anything more. This is the pinnacle of everything this year and the three years that have gone by."
"I guess it is like (you say), a fairy tale. All good fairy tales have happy endings, so I was just playing that out. I feel like a five-year-old kid now, I can't stop smiling and I don't know what to do. It is the greatest feeling when you have a team that is so strong and are such great friends and they all put it out on the field for each other. We are national champions and we did it together. It is such a great feeling and I am proud to be a part of it."
In four years, Adams scored 445 points (267 goals, 178 assists), was a two-time ACC player of the year recipient, a two-time national player of the year honoree and was the 2000 GTE Academic All-American of the Year (she is a nominee for the award in 2001). She was part of a team that has lost once in 73 games and finished her Terrapin career part of a senior class that went 83-4 in four years. Adams has set countless other school and national records that would take a while to list, but she will go down in collegiate lacrosse history as one of the, if not the greatest players of all time.
"I would love to be able to play here forever, but that's not possible," said Adams. "I am just proud of all that we have accomplished. In my four years here, I have learned so much and it has all made me a better person."
The communications and individual studies (sports marketing and management) major says that having a healthy balance between knowing when to study and when to play has helped her succeed on and off the field.
"I always put 100 percent into whatever I do," said Adams.
Even if Adams only put 50 percent into what she does on the field, her coaches and teammates were more than happy to see Adams on their side, rather than with the opponent.
Jen Adams' name will be synonymous with Maryland lacrosse for years to come. Her individual and team accolades are beyond what was ever expected, but if it were up to her, she would throw away all the individual honors just to be called national champions.
Fortunately for the Maryland women's lacrosse program, Adams got the best of both worlds.