After a junior year that left a bad taste in her mouth, Molly Cobb's final campaign at Notre Dame Prep started early — and successfully — with a key victory in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Underclass Lacrosse Tournament last July.
That's when her Baltimore girls team beat a heavily favored squad from Long Island to join the Baltimore boys in an unprecedented sweep of the tournament championships.
"I didn't play that much," Cobb said. "But I was on the field in the last seconds when we scored. We were double-teaming a girl and we forced a turnover that led to the winning goal. Nobody thought we would be able to beat them."
Even though that started her year senior year heading in the right direction, there was more work to do this spring for the 2014 Towson Times girls lacrosse Player of the Year and her teammates.
For one thing, the Blazers were coming off a dismal 5-10 season and one their worst showings ever in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
In addition, there was some uncertainty in the NDP coaching staff, considering longtime coaches Mary Bartel and Lisa Costello announced their impending retirements and Katie Leland was brought on board as an assistant.
Even so, the Blazers were determined to turn around their fortunes while working in concert with their coaches.
"We were honored to be on the last team they coached," said Cobb, who will play for the South All-Stars in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic on July 12 at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium. "They challenged us to get more people involved, and wanted us to become more of a team."
Apparently, the coaches tabbed the right player to help the Blazers grow together while posting a 10-5 mark this spring.
Bartel said that Cobb's statistics — 23 goals, 15 assists, 40 draw controls and 23 ground balls — were not overwhelming, but her intangibles were off the charts.
On and off the field, the University of Notre Dame recruit was the backbone of her team and a clearcut leader.
"Molly's abilities are endless," Bartel said. "She did it all when we needed it done. "Molly came up with the crucial ground ball, the double team, the check, the assist and yes, the goal. She did the dirty work that is not reflected in the box score, and she scored as well. Molly just keeps getting better and better and she continues to work hard and leads by example. Her talent and her attitude set her apart in every aspect of the game."
Cobb said that the conference season opener against Severn gave her an idea that 2014 would be different for the Blazers, who scored early and often in an 18-13 triumph over the Baltimore Sun's second-ranked squad in the metropolitan area.
"We had an awesome time as a team," the Towson resident said. "We were supporting each other and the coaches were just like 'wow.'"
They would continue the trend by going 7-2 against conference foes before pulling off what might be the most impressive victory of the year by a local team when they knocked off Long Island power Manhasset, 6-5, in New York.
The newly crowned New York Class B champion Indians, who finished the season 19-1 while averaging 15 goals per game, were completely befuddled by the Blazers, who won in dramatic fashion on senior attacker Georgia Tunney's goal in the final seconds.
"Our zone really put it to them," said Cobb, an outstanding defender usually deployed at the top of the 12-meter fan to pressure opponents. "And our goalie, Lucy Darlington, was on fire that day."
Despite her goal down the stretch to help pull NDP back into contention, Roland Park Country School ended NDP's season, with a 12-10 triumph in a conference semifinal.
Blazer coaches, though, were able to go out with their heads held high because, in part, because of Cobb's efforts.
"When push comes to shove you want the ball in her stick because she understands the game and makes good decisions," Costello said. "While other players are decidedly more attack or defense minded, she really was a true midfielder for us."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun