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Gerstell grad Jillian Wilson making strides with Loyola women’s lacrosse

Gerstell Academy graduate Jillian Wilson, a sophomore at Loyola Maryland, is the Patriot League Midfielder of the Week for the second week in a row.
Gerstell Academy graduate Jillian Wilson, a sophomore at Loyola Maryland, is the Patriot League Midfielder of the Week for the second week in a row.(Courtesy Photo/Larry French/Loyola Athletic Communications)

Loyola University Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team is in the midst of its best start to a season since 2011, and sophomore midfielder Jillian Wilson is right in the center.

Wilson, a former standout at Gerstell Academy, repeated as the Patriot League’s Midfielder of the Week after she scored four goals and collected a game-high 10 draw controls in the Greyhounds’ 19-15 victory over No. 9 Penn last Saturday.

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Her 10 draws were a new season-best for the No. 3 Greyhounds, and four above Wilson’s previous career high. She scored three of her four goals in the second half as unbeaten Loyola outscored Penn 12-8 after the teams were tied 7-all at the half.

This is Wilson’s second straight Midfielder of the Week honor and she has 17 goals, two assists, and seven ground balls, and leads the team with 30 draws through five games.

“We hit the ground running in preseason,” Wilson said. “Our coaches are amazing with everything they do to make us better every single day. So much credit goes to them. I think we are playing the games and not thinking so much about when we are at our best. It’s a really good thing how we are able to take one game at a time.”

Last season, all three SC grapplers fell short in their championship bouts at Show Place Arena. Cavs coach Matt Thomas said that wasn’t going to happen again.

Before traveling to Penn, Wilson said the contest would give the Greyhounds another opportunity to do what they love and play together. It was their fourth game against a ranked opponent in five games and the Greyhounds handed the Quakers their first loss of the season to remain undefeated at 5-0.

The Greyhounds host Lehigh at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday, March in the Patriot League opener for both teams.

Loyola Maryland sophomore midfielder Jillian Wilson, a Gerstell grad, has 17 goals and two assists.
Loyola Maryland sophomore midfielder Jillian Wilson, a Gerstell grad, has 17 goals and two assists.(Courtesy Photo/Larry French/Loyola Athletic Communications)

The Greyhounds defeated then-No. 19 Penn State 22-12 on Saturday, Feb. 29, and Wilson totaled three goals, one assist, five draw controls and a team-high three caused turnovers. She earned her first Midfielder of the Week honor as a result.

Wilson was a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse at Gerstell and finished her lacrosse career with 273 goals and 118 assists, good for 391 total points. She played with a talented group of seniors in her freshman season and said doing so helped her drastically improve her game and adjust to the speed of collegiate lacrosse.

“It was a great experience to be able to play under those seniors [last year] and honestly, the whole entire team taught me so much,” Wilson said. “They helped me work through some things mentally to play the way I knew I could play and bring the best out of myself. My teammates are awesome and learning from those girls last year only made us stronger for this year.”

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Wilson was one of just two freshmen to play in all 21 games for the Greyhounds last spring and finished her freshman campaign with 29 goals, eight assists, and 37 points.

Loyola went 16-5 in 2019 and captured its fourth Patriot League title since joining the conference in 2012 and first since 2016. They lost to Princeton in the second round of the NCAA tournament and Wilson notched three goals and an assist in the loss.

Jillian Wilson scored 273 goals at Gerstell Academy and earned two Times first-team all-county honors during high school.
Jillian Wilson scored 273 goals at Gerstell Academy and earned two Times first-team all-county honors during high school.(Courtesy Photo/Larry French/Loyola Atheltics)

“There were adjustments I had to make when learning to play with a new team,” Wilson said. “Playing against other collegiate lacrosse players that are a few years older than me, it’s all about experience. Coming in as a freshman, you don’t have that initial experience going through each game and practice.

“I got more experience in every game and started to find a path in my own way of things and started to put it together.”

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