COLLEGE PARK: Maryland head coach Cindy Timchal has always stood by her philosophy. Sooner or later, someone shoots the question at her every year, and every year she smiles and gives the same response. "Our goals have always been the same. We want to win the conference, win the regionals and get into the final four. Once we get into the final four, we have a chance to win the National Championship."
It is a philosphy which has permeated the Terrapin lacrosse program over the years. They're not just words strung together into a nice little package. They're the ultimate challenge for every player who chooses to play for Maryland. They're an over-simplified step-by-step instruction manual on how to get from point "A" (winning the conference title) to point "B" (winning the NCAA title). The Terrapins have learned how to travel that road to success.
Despite the loss of three-time All-American Sarah Forbes, Timchal has assembled a group of players that will rival any in the nation. The 1998 Terrapins combine youth, experience and power o a deadly combination. Add to that the sweet taste of success from last year's phenomenal season and Timchal's exceptional skill at refining technique, and youive got yourself the making of a champion, again.
Regardless of who steps out of the field to face the Terrapins this year, for Maryland the ultimate goal will be getting from point "A" to point "B" with as few side trips as possible. The compass is set in the direction of Baltimore, Md., the site of the 1998 finals, and the Terps are ready to roll. The Terrapins return 18 players from last year's NCAA Championship team.
The returning players found themselves last spring once again holding the National Championship Trophy high above their heads, celebrating at the center of Lehigh's Goodman Field.
Maryland has the distinct honor of holding the record for the most National Championships held by a Division I women's lacrosse team. The 1997 championship marked Maryland's fifth National Championship since the tournament began in 1982. It also marked Maryland's third consecutive National Championship since 1995. Last April, the Terps returned to College Park with yet another championship. This time, they were crowned the first-ever ACC women's lacrosse champions, defeating Virginia in Charlottesville.
Five seniors - Kathleen Lund, Noelle Mitchell, Cathy Nelson, Sascha Newmarch and Annamarie Piccioni return for their final year in a Maryland uniform, and will provide leadership for the Terrapins. With their game experience and playing ability, they will be of great value to the newcomers.
Joining the Terps this season are the faces who will be seen and heard from over the next four years and who will offer Maryland a very bright future. This yearis freshman class includes a list of All-America, all-state and all-county selections who will contribute greatly to Marylandis offensive gameplan. Tori Wellington and Quinn Carney are both candidates for starting roles on attack, while Allison Comito, Meghan McNamara and Tricia Ward will also compete for significant playing time. The freshmen talent doesnit stop on the attack, as they will also add great depth to the midfield and to the defense. Meg Carrington has shown her explosiveness on defense and will definitely be an impact player this season. She is not alone, however, as Tara Foran, a first-year transfer, has a fantastic check that will be advantageous for the Terrapin defense. The already potent midfield will get even stronger with the addition of freshmen Meredith Egan and Kristin Crawford. This year there is also a new addition between the pipes. Doungamon iFoni Muttamara will be looking to learn from current starting goalie, Alex Kahoe, and gain valuable experience for future years.
ATTACK - Maryland's attack is going to be one of the most prolific attacks in the nation. This yearis attack is loaded with experienced players. Senior Cathy Nelson, the teamis leading returning scorer, who scored 43 goals and 75 points a year ago, will lead the powerful Maryland attack. Joining Nelson on attack is sophomore Christie Jenkins, who enjoyed a fine freshman campaign, totaling 26 goals in her first year at Maryland. Noelle Mitchell will also play a large role on attack. With her great communication skills and ability to be heard, the Terps will look to Mitchell on the attack. The Terps will also have a tremendous amount of support from their strong sophomore class. Trisha Adams and Sarah Rosenwinkel will combine their talent to add even more depth at attack. Both of these players have a great deal of speed and game sense which will help the Terrapins with the transition to the newly implemented restraining line. Tracie Millon, Annamarie Piccioni and Katie Venanzi are again strong options that Timchal can turn to when the situation calls for it.
MIDFIELD - Maryland's midfield has a mix of both youth and experience. Sascha Newmarch, the leading candidate for National and ACC Player of the Year, returns to the starting position at center. Kristin Sommar, the only collegiate freshman to have been named to the U.S. National Team, will also be returning to the midfield. The combination of these two playersi talents will be a major contribution in the Terrapinsi transitional game. Sophomore Tonia Porrasi combination of speed and defensive skills will make her a great candidate to fulfill one of the empty midfield positions.
DEFENSE - Maryland graduated many of its players on defense. However, several players are being called upon to step up and fill the gaps. Headlining this yearis defense is senior Kathleen Lund. Redshirt freshman Kerri Mulligan and Courtney Martinez will play large roles in anchoring the Maryland defense. Both of these players sat out last year, but are ready to step up and lead this team in the defense of its fourth consecutive National Championship. They will be joined by fellow classmates Becky Shank and Danielle Markette. All of these players gained experience and knowledge last season.
GOALIE - Sophomore Alex Kahoe returns to the starting lineup for the second straight season. In her first year playing, Kahoe started every game and posted a save percentage of .640. Kahoe, last yearis ACC co-Rookie of the Year, also set a school record for saves in a single season with 233, breaking an 18-year-old record. Also returning from last yearis team is goalkeeper Emily Evans. Evans played in eight games and registered a save percentage of .833.