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Towson senior Sami Chenoweth embracing role as one of nation’s top defenders

Towson University senior defender Sami Chenoweth, a Manchester Valley graduate, led the nation in caused turnovers as a junior.
Towson University senior defender Sami Chenoweth, a Manchester Valley graduate, led the nation in caused turnovers as a junior.(Courtesy/Towson Athletics/Kevin Tellekamp)

Sami Chenoweth has emerged as one of the nation’s top defenders in women’s lacrosse.

The former Manchester Valley High School standout and current Towson University senior defender, who led the nation in caused turnovers last season, was recently named to the 2020 Tewaaraton Award Watch List, which includes the top players across all three divisions of NCAA lacrosse and highlights the early contenders for the annual honor given to the top players in their sport.

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Chenoweth set a Colonial Athletic Conference and Towson single-season record with 64 caused turnovers in 2019 and landed on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List’s second wave as well.

She also received First Team Mid-Atlantic All-Region honors from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association.

“I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen and I obviously work hard to get to where I am,” Chenoweth said. “Seeing that as one of my accolades makes me work harder. I focus on what my role is and focus really hard on being a good one v. one defender.

“My goal is to stop this person and I’m usually put on a team’s top attacker. My job is to shut that person down and limit their assists or shots on goal.”

Chenoweth, a four-year starter on defense, said the Tigers own their roles on the field and not one player is responsible for doing everything at once.

“You have to hone in on your skills to be the best at your position,” she said.

Entering Towson following such a successful career at Man Valley was extremely helpful in easing Chenoweth’s transition to college lacrosse. Chenoweth finished her Mavericks career with 103 caused turnovers, 124 ground balls, and 125 draw controls, and helped lead the team to three straight state championships from 2014 to 2016.

She ranked third on the team as a freshman with 28 caused turnovers and second as a sophomore with 44, and earned Times first team all-county honors as a senior in 2016 — her third such honor in as many seasons.

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“It helped a lot because we were used to great success and had high expectations every year,” Chenoweth said. “Coach B [Shelly Brezicki] had high expectations for us and they were hard to reach, but we made it manageable. She told us if we really wanted it, we could get it and that’s what you’re going to get in college, hard coaches that want the best for you.

“They want that success for you because they want to share that success as well.”

Towson women's lacrosse senior Sami Chenoweth, a Manchester Valley graduate, waits observes the field. Chenoweth is on the 2020 Tewaraaton Award watch list.
Towson women's lacrosse senior Sami Chenoweth, a Manchester Valley graduate, waits observes the field. Chenoweth is on the 2020 Tewaraaton Award watch list.(Courtesy/Towson Athletics/Kevin Tellekamp)

Carroll County is well-represented on the Tigers’ 2020 roster and Chenoweth is joined by six other former county players in the gold and black — Rayna Deltuva (Man Valley), Sara Tyssowski (Westminster), Coeli Love (Winters Mill), Carly Merlo (Gerstell), Sarah Rhoads (Winters Mill), and Maddie Dickman (Century).

Deltuva graduated from Man Valley in 2017 and was also a part of the Mavericks’ state championship-winning trifecta.

“Playing with Rayna has been great,” Chenoweth said. “We get to see each other grow as players and teammates with that chemistry and build it up from high school. It’s been great, all the friendships I’ve made here. It’s definitely more of a sisterhood rather than just a team.”

Chenoweth leads the Tigers with seven caused turnovers through three games and Deltuva is second with six. Chenoweth has collected five ground balls and won two draw controls as well.

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The Tigers (0-3) host High Point on Saturday, Feb. 29 at noon, and for Chenoweth, every matchup is a “last” for her. She is pursuing a biology degree and has her sights set on becoming a physician’s assistant as well.

“I have a lot of faith in our team right now,” Chenoweth said. “Our streak doesn’t show right now, but I have a lot of high hopes because we have the potential to be so good. I’m looking forward to how well we grow as a team in working on the little things every day to increase our intensity in practice.”

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