Former rivals, fast friends Lizzie Colson and Hannah Warther excited to be teammates

At rival Carroll County high schools, Lizzie Colson and Hannah Warther combined for 686 career points.

When Lizzie Colson and Hannah Warther got to know each other on a lacrosse recruiting trip to Maryland last fall, they instantly switched from archrivals to fast friends.

At that point, they had played against each other for three years — Colson for Manchester Valley and Warther for Century, constant rivals for the Carroll County championship. They also played against each other in soccer.

Only once had they played lacrosse together — in the Under Armour Underclass tournament last June — before they decided to carpool to their October official visit in College Park. Both had already committed to be Terps and they discovered they had a lot more in common.

"We're like the same person," Warther said of their personalities on and off the field..

"We're both talkative, so we don't stop talking really," Colson said with a laugh.

Now that they're close friends, they can't wait to play together at Maryland and in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Game on Saturday at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Manchester Valley coach Shelly Brezicki, who coached them in the Under Armour tournament last summer, isn't surprised they hit it off so quickly.

"Both Lizzie and Hannah's personalities are that they're true competitors on the field, but off the field, they're very laid-back people, so I knew if given the opportunity, they would become friends instantly," Brezicki said. "It was neat to see them in the Under Armour game last year kind of feed off of each other and take the opportunity to get to know each other not only as teammates, but also as friends."

Their easy-going cameraderie off the field masks a couple of fierce competitors, even though they've never been the epitome of archrivals.

"It wasn't awkward to be friends at all," Warther said.

"Through the years, I always knew who Hannah Warther was and she was so good that pushed you and motivated you to try to play better," said Colson.

"The same with Lizzie," Warther said. "You always knew it was going to be a battle."

When preparing to play Manchester Valley, Century coach Becky Groves said she always talked about countering Colson.

"And Hannah's like, 'I love Lizzie," and I was like, 'Well, could we not love Lizze for about 60 minutes? She's an opponent,' said Groves with a laugh. "It's easy to like Lizzie and I think it's easy to like Hannah. They're both competitors, but they don't have an arrogance about them. They go out and they do their job and it's a game to them. They're just going out there to play."

For three years, they've ranked among the Baltimore area's top girls lacrosse players. Colson, who led the No. 2 Mavericks to their third straight Class 2A-1A state championship, was this spring's All-Metro Player of the Year and USA Today's national Player of the Year. Warther was a first-team All-Metro selection and a second-team USA Today All-American..

Both are midfielders, although Colson was confined to attack this season while recovering from a foot injury. They combined for 686 career points including 553 goals.

Colson, who had 300 career goals and 396 points, finished this season with a Carroll County record 108 goals ase well as 39 assists including a state 2A-1A record 12 points in the state final. Warther led the No. 15 Knights with 71 goals and 11 assists and she had 253 career goals and 290 points.

Although similar in their quickness and knack for making big plays, their styles differ in that Colson is better known for her speed and agility and Warther for her strength and power.

Maryland coach Cathy Reese pegged them as potential Terps the first time she saw each of them play early in their high school careers.

"Lizzie is such a hard worker all over the field. She's a great shooter, but she's got really great speed and works hard all over the place and she looked like someone initially that could fit right into our style, what we're looking for — that speed, the hustle, the heart, passion, the energy," Reese said.

"And Hannah was so dominant on the field. She just had such a presence out there. She's just so strong and powerful throughout the midfield that I just felt again she fit our style as well. Being this was the year where we were losing a Taylor Cummings, a Bryn Boucher, we felt that Lizzie and Hannah could contribute for us pretty quickly in the midfield."

Both players say they just hope to contend for playing time next season for the Terps, who have won two national championships in the past six years and haven't missed the final four since 2008. Although as Under Armour All-Americans, they rank among the top 44 players in the country, they're looking forward to being Terps. Still, they admit thinking about that first fall practice is a bit intimidating.

"It's kind of a lot of pressure on us but a good kind of pressure," Colson said. "We're going into such a good program and you want that pressure. You don't want to go into a program where people expect to lose. It pushes you to do the workouts and to get better."

Having also played in the Carroll County senior all-star game, they will continue to tune up their teammate connection in Saturday's Under Armour game, an opportunity they both see as a tremendous honor and a chance to get a taste of what college lacrosse will be like.

"We already have a bond off the field and we've only been together a few times," Warther said. "I think that definitely will translate on the field when we play in the Under Armour game and at Maryland once we get there. We like the same style of play. We both like fast breaks. We played together in last year's Under Armour game, so we've already seen how well we click."

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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