Caught red-handed, Aumiller quite a steal


Lauren Aumiller first caught the eye of Virginia women's lacrosse coach Julie Myers with a pair of red gloves.

Myers spotted those red gloves at a Princeton University lacrosse camp when Aumiller was 10 or 11 years old. Once Aumiller started playing, however, it wasn't the gloves that got Myers' attention.

"She always won the draw, and she could go right and left. Everybody noticed her at a really young age," said Myers, not yet the Cavaliers' coach.

A few years later, when Aumiller tried out for the Notre Dame Prep team, her skills were immediately obvious to Blazers coach Mary Bartel.

"What catches your eye first is that she's so fast," said Bartel, "and the next thing you notice is that she makes it look so easy, which is the truest sign that she's incredibly talented."

The resume the Cavaliers' junior midfielder has written the past few years attests to that.

The captain of the 1999 world champion U.S. under-19 team, she was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference and first-team All-America last season. She is also a member of the U.S. National Developmental Team.

When Myers officially began recruiting The Sun's 1999 All-Metro Player of the Year, she hoped she had an edge because, two years earlier, Virginia had signed her sister, Lacey, also an All-Metro player at NDP.

"Once Lacey said yes to Virginia, we were hoping they were a package deal, but we knew Lauren was going to have a million offers. As good as she is on the field, she's that smart," Myers said.

Fortunately for Myers, Virginia was the choice for Lauren, now an economics major with a 3.4 grade-point average and an internship this summer with Goldman Sachs in New York. She cracked the Cavaliers' starting lineup immediately.

"She's just extremely competitive, she has a sharp understanding of the game and she's one of those lucky people - the game comes easy to her," said Lacey, who graduated last year. "Don't get me wrong, she works and she gives it her all, but she's so gifted."

Since she arrived in Charlottesville, Aumiller has been a cornerstone of Virginia's team.

"I would be surprised if she's been off the field a total of 10 minutes for her three years," said Myers. "Even when we rotate players off, we keep Lauren on, because she's such a settler for the entire field. The leadership she provides is incredible. She's the kind of kid everybody looks to and responds to, because she's so unassuming."

Teammate Tiffany Schummer, who played against Aumiller while at St. Mary's, said Aumiller is a natural leader.

"She sees the bigger picture of a team, which makes people look to her when they need support. She has a knack for knowing what her teammates need to hear and what makes them play better."

Aumiller leads the No. 5 Cavaliers (12-3) in points (84), goals (55) and assists (29). She needs two more points to reach 200 for her career. By the time she graduates, she could easily become Virginia's all-time scoring leader, breaking Lindsey Sheehan's record of 251 points set in 1986.

In tonight's game against No. 4 Loyola at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Aumiller could break the Cavaliers' record for consecutive-game scoring. She has at least one point in 17 straight games.

The last team to hold her scoreless? Loyola, last April 25.

Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens said it would be hard to expect the same result tonight.

"She's smart, she sees the whole field and she's dangerous because she can go one-on-one and she can pass well. We're not going to shut Lauren Aumiller down. What we're going to try to do is contain her, get her below her average and take her out of her game as much as possible."

Another record that could fall tonight is the Cavaliers' mark for career draw controls, 114, set in 1994 by Cherie Greer. Aumiller, who takes the draw, has 111.

Her height and long arms often give Aumiller an edge on the draw, but a greater advantage comes with her determination and the experience of taking the draw since long before she got to high school.

"A lot of the draw has to do with how the ref puts the ball in the sticks," said Aumiller, 22. "Sometimes I feel like I'm going to get it right away. I always practice drawing to myself and I've had a lot of practice."

Her teammates say they are constantly amazed by her physical feats, but they also look to Aumiller for her easygoing style and sense of humor.

"Every day she comes to the field with a smile," said Schummer. "She always adds humor with some quirky bit of intellect. She just can make you laugh at the worst of times. It's great to be on the field with her."

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