2019 Maryland Women’s Lacrosse
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS #
Maryland Women’s Lacrosse is one of the strongest programs in the history of college sports. The Terps 12-10 victory over Boston College in front of 9,433 fans for the 2019 Division I Championship secured Maryland’s 14th NCAA title and added another chapter to the program’s legacy of excellence
Over the last decade, women’s lacrosse has grown to over 100 Division I teams – the level of play, caliber of athletes, coaching staffs and competitive conferences – have pushed the sport to new heights with powerhouse teams such as JMU, Boston College, UNC, Northwestern, Stony Brook and many others making a run for the national title. But Maryland continues to break barriers and set a new standard of excellence in college sports with 14 National Championships.
The key to Maryland’s success is a combination of great athletes, outstanding coaching, a history of winning, confidence in each other and support by the University of Maryland, alumnae and fans to create a powerhouse program.
Under Head Coach, Cathy Reese, Maryland has won 5 National Championships and 20 Conference titles. Add Reese’s career as a former Maryland student-athlete with her years as an Assistant Coach, and Cathy Nelson Reese has helped the Terps win 12 NCAA titles – an unprecedented benchmark of excellence.
Reese’s record of success is premised on key principles which led Maryland to the 2019 National Championship.
Next Play Mentality
Defense Wins Championships
“Don’t Let the Moment Be Bigger Than You”
Senior Leadership & Fun
Support by University of Maryland, Alumnae & Fans
Coach Reese grounds her players with confidence – confidence in themselves and confidence in each other. The Terps’ confidence is not an arrogant confidence, but rather a selfless confidence where the coaches and players have confidence in the player next to them. This confidence is rooted in excellence – Maryland has recruited the top players for decades – outstanding, disciplined athletes who are team players at every position on the field.
With confidence in each other, the Terps execute under pressure and take risks at key moments in a game. Maryland does not rely on a superstar mentality – with the strongest roster in women’s lacrosse – any player can step up to make a big play. The Terps run one of the most balanced attacks in the game – every midfielder and attacker is a threat to goal.
Depth is key to Maryland’s success – the entire starting lineup deserves All-American honors. Maryland dominated 2019 Big Ten awards: Jen Giles (Midfielder of the Year), Megan Taylor (Goalie of the Year), Lizzie Colson (Defense), Erica Evans (Midfield), Kali Hartshorn (Attack), Shelby Mercer (Defense) and Caroline Steele (Attack).
There are no chinks in Maryland’s armor – Fear the Turtle – opponents can’t penetrate the hard-core shell. With no weaknesses in Maryland’s lineup, outstanding preparation and execution – opposing teams are under tremendous pressure to take advantage of any opportunity, because there will be few.
Next Play Mentality #
Maryland enters every season with the goal to compete for a National Championship. With 11 consecutive Final Four appearances, the Terps have an outstanding post-season record. A critical component of Maryland’s success is the team’s ability to reset and approach each game with a “next play mentality” – to focus on what’s ahead rather than what’s behind, to execute the Maryland game plan and when adversity strikes – to keep moving forward.
Stony Brook #
In the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, Maryland met Stony Brook – a tough opponent who threatened Maryland in the 2017 NCAA Quarterfinals. Heading into the game, the Seawolves were injured and knew Maryland was the stronger team but came out firing. Stony Brook scored four goals in a torrential downpour during the first five minutes of the game – Maryland called a timeout.
With over 50 minutes still to play in the game, Coach Reese reassured her team that they could win – to take a deep breath, reset and focus on the next play. Maryland’s top defender, Julia Braig, and midfielder, Kali Hartshorn, received yellow cards early in the game, but continued to play tough – focused on the disciplined fundamentals that Maryland instills in its players.
The Terps stopped Stony Brook’s run and chipped away at the lead. Midway through the first half, Maryland tied the game at 6-6 and never looked back. Stony Brook only scored two goals after the tied game, and the Terps went on to score eleven goals to win the game 17-8 and advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
In the rare instance when Maryland loses – the team knows how to reset, focus and comeback stronger. Maryland was undefeated in the 2019 season until they met Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game. Northwestern dominated the draw controls and out-shot Maryland in the rain to upset the Terps 16-11.
Maryland struggled offensively with shot selection and Northwestern’s attack – led by Selena Lasota and Izzy Scane – penetrated Maryland’s defense to score on Megan Taylor. But Maryland rebounded from the loss, and Coach Reese used the disappointment as an opportunity to re-evaluate and learn from the game.
The loss fueled Maryland’s fire and the Terps set the record straight when they met Northwestern in the Final Four. A delayed, late night start in front of 8,500 cheering fans – both teams battled up and down the field in a high-powered, physical game. Northwestern held on until midway through the second half when Maryland blew the game wide open scoring nine goals to win the game 25-13.
Maryland’s win over Northwestern in the Final Four marked one of the strongest performances in the history of women’s lacrosse with 25 goals against a top ranked team. Maryland put the foot on the accelerator and never let up until the last whistle. The victory marked Cathy Reese’s 300th career win as Head Coach, and Maryland advanced to the Championship Game against Boston College.
Defense Wins Championships #
If offense wins games – defense wins championships. Maryland’s goalie, Megan Taylor, was named the 2019 National Championship Player of the Game and is the first goalie ever in the history of men or women’s lacrosse to receive the Tewaaraton Award. But as Megan fully acknowledges – the Terps All-American defense makes her look good in goal.
Megan Taylor – Goalie #
Assistant Coach, Lauri Kenis, is the mastermind behind Maryland’s defense. The Terps play a disciplined, tough defense focused on body position. Stats against top teams show this disciplined defense with opponents sometimes doubling or tripling the number of fouls in a game. The Terps use body positioning to force an attack to their weak side, shut down key passing lanes – leaving an opponent with the weakest shot possible and the lowest angle for Megan Taylor to make a save in goal.
Cathy Reese describes the Maryland defense as, “embodying the best in women’s lacrosse” – use your body not your stick to stop an opponent. Even when the top attacker in the county, Kenzie Kent, rolls the crease with a lefty, ice hockey maneuver – the Terps hold their ground, take the charge and Megan Taylor steps up to shut down the shot on goal.
The Maryland defense doesn’t just stop an opponent’s attack – they are the catalyst for the Terps’ attack. One turnover or save can shift the entire momentum of a game and set the attack in motion. With pressure all over the field, every Terp plays defense starting with the attack, Caroline Steele and Brindi Griffin – riding an opponent’s defense.
Maryland’s top defender, Julia Braig, exemplified the Maryland defense igniting the attack when she scored her first career goal off an interception against Northwestern in the 2019 Final Four. Northwestern’s Head Coach, Kelly Amonte (Maryland 1996), acknowledged that Braig’s goal was an excellent example of “how every player on Maryland can step to make a big play at any time.”
Julia Braig – Defense #
“Don’t Let the Moment Be Bigger Than You” #
If you are #1 Maryland with 13 NCAA titles, it’s possible to put the last five minutes of a National Championship into perspective against a powerhouse Boston College coming at you with everything they have to win their first NCAA title. Maryland defeated Boston College in 2017 for the National Championship, but in 2018 the Eagles came back and upset Maryland at the Final Four.
Maryland analyzed the 2018 Final Four loss to break down the Boston College attack and prepare for the 2019 Championship Game. With the top three players in the country graduating from Boston College – everything was on the line for the Eagles – Kenzie Kent redshirted her senior year to join Sam Apuzzo and Dempsey Arsenault for one last shot to win the National title in 2019.
Maryland’s scouting report helped the Terps hold Boston College to four goals in the first half. But midway through the second half, Boston College went on a run – led by Kenzie Kent with five goals in the game. Coach Reese called a time out.
During the timeout, Coach Reese told her team – “Don’t let the moment be bigger than you are – let’s finish this.” Utilizing the next play mentality – Maryland executed one play at a time, stayed in the moment, and didn’t get caught up with the National Championship at the finish line.
For Boston College, however, the moment was bigger. Under Head Coach, Acacia Walker (Maryland 2005), this year was BC’s third consecutive Championship Game appearance – a new record in women’s lacrosse. BC was “laser focused” on winning a national title the entire season. The smaller, Catholic school never won an NCAA title in any sport – women’s lacrosse was playing for the entire College. The Eagles played their hearts out – leaving everything on the field – but came up short against Maryland.
Senior Leadership & Fun #
Senior leadership played a key role in Maryland’s success – 2019 stood out from previous years – the team had fun. Led by an outstanding senior class: Julia Braig, Jen Giles, Shelby Mercer, Meghan Siverson, Caroline Steele and Megan Taylor – they loved playing together and had started since their Freshman year. Erica Evans, an All-American transfer, joined the seniors breaking into the starting lineup and adding a new dimension to the Terps’ midfield/attack.
Players enjoyed practices, preparing for big games and spending time with their teammates on and off the field. Through the ups and downs, the Terps had fun and didn’t want it to end. When other teams felt pressure, Maryland had fun – they believed in each other and played relaxed, knowing that they had each other’s back.
Playing sports at the highest level on a team that is fun is a unique experience and key to Maryland’s success. But beyond the National Championships, the most rewarding aspect of coaching for Reese is hearing Caroline Steele describe her career at Maryland as, “the best four years of her life.”
The Best Four Years of my Life #
In addition to having top athletes and coaches, Maryland has the full support of the University, alumnae and fans. With almost 10,000 fans attending the Championship Game – women’s lacrosse is reaching new heights and gaining national recognition with ESPN coverage. Every seat was filled for Championship weekend, standing room only – fans jockeyed for a front row view of the game and security grew concerned that the fences might not contain the crowd.
In an era when women’s sports are still competing with men’s programs for support – the University of Maryland is committed to Women’s Lacrosse. The University provides the best coaches, facilities and training staff to help Cathy Reese and her team win National Championships.
This level of support is key to Maryland’s success. With only one day to recover from a physical game against Northwestern that ended after midnight – Maryland’s trainers worked hard to prepare the players for the Championship Game in 100 degree heat.
Maryland fans fuel the team’s fire. “It’s a great day to be a Terp” – Cathy Reese is a proud Maryland graduate. Thousands of alumnae and fans share Reese’s pride to cheer on the most successful program in women’s lacrosse.
“It’s a great day to be a Terp.”Cathy Reese
Maryland fans, alumnae and girls come in thousands to support the team. They wave Maryland flags, paint their face red and yellow, wear Maryland jerseys and prominently display hand-made signs. The stands are full of the next generation with girls from club teams and local communities supporting their favorite players and dreaming of one day being a Maryland Terrapin.
The Terps captured their 14th NCAA National Championship and continue to break barriers for women’s sports – a model of excellence for girls aspiring to play college sports. While Maryland graduated an outstanding class, the #1 recruiting class is already on the field in College Park practicing with an experienced team and coaching staff to go after another National Championship in 2020.