Around Howard County on Wednesday, high school senior athletes in a variety of sports made their college plans official by signing National Letters of Intent as part of the NCAA’s early signing period that runs between Nov. 12-19.
That means for those like Long Reach’s Lillie Miller, the college courtship is officially over.
Miller inked her name on Wednesday morning, accepting an academic/athletic college tuition package to play women’s lacrosse at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Fla. beginning next fall.
According to a list that ran in the Baltimore Sun, 16 other Howard County girls lacrosse players are also signing NLIs. They are Mt. Hebron’s Cammy Case (Queens, NC), Meaghan Doherty (Maryland), Jennifer Giles (Maryland), Chachi Kelehan (George Mason) and Ally Unkenholz (Pfeiffer); Marriotts Ridge’s Maddie Courtney (Wagner), Emma Stukenberg (Monmouth), Casey Summerson (Florida Southern) and Katie Wardle (Queens NC), and Glenelg’s Hannah Doughty (Lindenwood), Rachel Johnson (Liberty), Sarah Kapinos (Florida Tech), Grace Perry (High Point), Kayla Renehan (UMBC), Sami Smit (Campbell) and Megan Taylor (Maryland). Also on the list are Howard's Kelsey Savje (Wagner) and Catherins Sims (UMBC).
While Mt. Hebron, Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg seem to crank out Division I lacrosse players, it’s a different story at Long Reach where Miller is just one of a scant handful of Division I lacrosse players in Lightning history.
Jacksonville started eyeing Miller not long after she started playing club lacrosse with M&D.
“They’ve been watching me play since I was in sixth grade. That blew my mind how dedicated there were,” said Miller, who is on the M&D 2015 Black team coached by Amanda Brady.
Dolphin coaches Mindy and Paul McCord saw Miller play in tournaments from Maryland to Florida, but they didn’t contact her until she was a sophomore.
She made a verbal commitment her junior year and sealed the deal this week.
“When I visited, I clicked with the coaches right away. They are husband and wife. They are from Baltimore originally so I felt a real connection with them. And the way they described their program I felt that I would fit in,” Miller said.
Jacksonville plays an up-tempo style.
“They are all about offense and getting the ball down the field and scoring early,” Miller said.
The Dolphins have led the nation in scoring average the past four years and perhaps not coincidentally have won four consecutive conference titles spanning the National Lacrosse Conference and the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Miller should fit right win with the high scoring team. Last spring, she set a Long Reach season record with 54 goals.
“Lillie has had a huge impact on our program,” said Long Reach coach Colleen Delaney. “She’s a leader, a great player and a great student. She’s everything you would want.”
Long Reach principal David Burton also praised Miller.
“I want to speak on behalf of the entire Long Reach family. We are very proud of Lillie and her accomplishments. We are going to miss her and wish her well at Jacksonville.”