Montalbano’s 33 goals and 15 assists rank fourth on the team as the seventh-seeded Tigers prepare to host Wagner in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
She led the Tigers in scoring with 36 goals and 23 assists two years ago, but with the emergence of juniors Natalie Sulmonte and Carly Tellekamp and senior Emily Gillingham, Montalbano was fourth in scoring last season, too.
That’s fine with Towson coach Sonia LaMonica.
“Kaitlyn’s a great team player,” LaMonica said. “She’s dependable with her ball-handling skills, so she’s always been strong in transition and that’s such an unstattable value — those players that get the ball safely down the field for you. So she’s continued to play a big role in that forum. As we’ve built around more and more talent, that’s part of why our offense has grown stronger. We’ve got so many threats and Kaitlyn is just an outstanding piece of that.”
The Tigers average 13.58 goals per game and seven players have at least 21 points. Montalbano, Sulmonte, Tellekamp and Gillingham have each scored more than 100 goals in their careers.
Montalbano, a three-time All-Colonial Athletic Association pick, has been a workhorse in the midfield her entire career and she’s started all 76 games since she arrived as a freshman. She will break the team record with Friday’s start against Wagner.
Maryland connections abound among NCAA tournament coaches
Maryland’s quarter of the bracket doesn’t just include most of the teams hailing from the state, but six of the seven coaches have a direct connection to the state.
Maryland’s Cathy Reese and Johns Hopkins’ Janine Tucker played high school and college lacrosse in Maryland. Reese played at Mount Hebron and Maryland while Tucker played at Loch Raven and Loyola Maryland.
Aside from coaching at Navy, Cindy Timchal, a Pennsylvania native, coached Maryland to eight national championships. Loyola coach Jen Adams, from Australia, played for Timchal and coached with Reese at Maryland before taking the Loyola job.
Denver coach Liza Kelly played at Garrison Forest and High Point coach Lyndsey Boswell played at Southern in Anne Arundel County.
Eight other tournament teams have coaches who played high school and/or college lacrosse in Maryland: LaMonica (Maryland), North Carolina’s Jenny Levy (Roland Park), Boston College’s Acacia Walker-Weinstein (Annapolis High, Maryland), Penn State’s Missy Doherty (St. Mary’s High, Maryland), James Madison’s Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe (Loch Raven), Jacksonville’s Mindy McCord (Westminster), Northwestern’s Kelly Amonte Hiller (Maryland) and Georgetown’s Ricky Fried (UMBC).
We’ve met before
Although Fairfield coach Laura Field, whose team is also in Maryland’s quarter of the bracket, does not have a direct connection to the state or school, the Connecticut native was the goalie on the Princeton teams that faced the Terps during Adams’ era.
Adams said they know each other from the recruiting circuit, but they have never met as coaches.
In 2000, the year before Adams won the first Tewaaraton Award, the two faced off in the NCAA championship. Adams got the better of Field in that meeting, ringing up a tournament-record 10 points, including five goals, to overcome a 4-3 halftime deficit for a 16-8 Terps victory.
Since 1991, only five Division I programs have won NCAA women’s lacrosse championships — Maryland (12), Northwestern (seven), Princeton (three), Virginia (three) and North Carolina (two). … Stony Brook has three 100-point scorers — Kylie Ohlmiller (145), Courtney Murphy (118) and Taryn Ohlmiller (106) — while Navy has two, Kelly Larkin (103) and Jenna Collins (100). … Maryland’s Megan Whittle has 288 career goals and needs just one to move into second place all time in Division I. … Jacksonville leads Division I in scoring offense, averaging 18.47 goals per game. … Stony Brook has the stingiest defense, allowing 6.95 goals per game.