Playing in the same Maryland attack with a couple of Tewaaraton Award finalists, Brooke Griffin can sometimes get a little lost in the shuffle when it comes to the spotlight.
That’s OK with her. She takes advantage of it.
If opponents expend too much effort trying to stop senior Tewaaraton finalists Katie Schwarzmann and Alex Aust, Griffin will make them pay the way she did with four goals in Sunday’s 11-3 win over Stony Brook in the NCAA tournament second round.
“Stony Brook was playing a backer zone defense, so we had to move the ball quickly and find the openings and I was there a couple times,” Griffin said of her two goals on assists from Aust. “Everyone on our offense is a threat not just Katie and Alex. We have so much confidence in everyone to go to goal and score.”
The redshirt sophomore also led No. 1 Maryland (19-0) in scoring with three goals and two assists in the regular-season 15-6 win over No. 10 Duke, the Terps’ NCAA quarterfinal opponent Sunday at noon in College Park.
For Griffin, a South River graduate and The Baltimore Sun’s 2010 Female Athlete of the Year, blending into the Terps formidible attack was been a seemless effort after redshirting her freshman year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
An All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, she has 43 goals and 20 assists this season after contributing 40 goals and 13 assists a year ago as a midfielder.
“Brooke has really grown a lot this year in a lot of different ways,” Terps coach Cathy Reese said. “She’s been playing next to Alex and with Alex drawing a lot of attention and face guards that’s really opend up up opportunities for Brooke to step up. She’s developed into a feeding role this year and she’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen.”
In the Stony Brook game, Griffin scored a highlight-reel goal to open the second half, whipping a loose ball into an upper corner with her back to the net.
“We looked at each other,” Reese said of the Terps coaches, “and we were like, ‘Whoa.’ Brooke is creative and she’s not afraid to take chances and risks, so you see plays like that come out where she creates something from what seemed to us like a turnover.”
Griffin was known as a creative player even in high school, where she was The Sun’s All-Metro Player of the Year her senior year, so she’s right at home with the Terps' attacking style.
“The free style that Cathy plays gives us confidence and lets us play,” Griffin said. “Playing with Katie, Alex and Taylor (Cummings), the best people in the ACC, makes it easy for me to come in and play my role. I like the style a lot. When you play like that, you realize what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are and you play to that.”