As a defender, Jacksonville junior Rachel Hannon doesn’t contribute the big scoring numbers that make headlines, but she draws the spotlight in another way.
Hannon set a NCAA record this spring for draw controls in a season. She won 131 to break the record of 126 set by Maryland’s Dana Dobbie in 2008. She also broke the record for draw controls per game, averaging 6.89 to best the 6.29 of Towson’s Hillary Fratzke in 2006.
In addition, Hannon set a Dolphins record for most draw controls in a game with 13, just two off the all-time mark of 15 set by Virginia Tech’s Allie Emala (Bryn Mawr) in 2009.
Hannon said her coach told her she was getting close to the mark when she was ninth on the all-time single-season list.
“When I was continually getting as many as I was getting, I thought this was something could do,” Hannon said of the record. “Later, when we had five games left and I was like 45 away, I thought I can definitely do this. Going into the tournament I had to get 23 and I thought I could do that.”
In the National Lacrosse Conference tournament, she won 27 draws in three games, including 12 in the opening-round 23-5 win over Presbyterian. In the title game, a 19-6 win over High Point, she eclipsed Dobbie’s mark in the first half and finished with eight.
Hannon said the trick to winning the draw is having a quick wrist.
“With the new draw change this year, how the ball has to be in the top of the pocket and not in the middle, it is about snapping your wrists,” Hannon said. “It’s about getting the faster snap compared to the more powerful one, because of the fact that it’s placed where you have no pocket.”
She said two other things also come into play – her teammates on the circle who often box out for her when the ball is on the ground and her desire to win the ball.
With Hannon winning 40 percent of the Dolphins’ 327 draw controls this season, the team finished No. 1 in Division in draw controls per game, 17.21. That number wasn’t far off an NCAA record either. UMBC’s 17.67 average has held up since 1987.
While Hannon enjoys the rare moment in the spotlight for a defender, she’s most thrilled that her team also set an NCAA record – for most goals per game with 18.16 to best Syracuse’s 18.01 in 2008.
“I think it’s exciting,” Hannon said. “I think it’s great that our entire team was able to get recognition. It’s cool to say I broke the record but it’s even better to be able to say that the team helped me break the record and we’re No. 1 (in goals per game) too. It’s exciting to know that there are other ways besides scoring goals to help your team.”
With the season record on her resume, Hannon will take aim next season at the career record, but she will have to better her single-season mark to get there. With 199 draw controls, Hannon needs 155 to break the record of 353 set by Vermont's Kristin Millar in 2009.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun