As usual, Maryland's high-scoring offense gets all the headlines, but the Terps' Megan Douty drew the spotlight to the defense last week when she was named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award.
Rarely are defensive players selected for the college game's top individual prize. Over the last five years, only North Carolina's Amber Falcone (Winters Mill), a 2009 finalist, was a true defender. Northwestern's Taylor Thornton was perhaps best on the defensive end, but she played midfield when she was a 2012 finalist.
Maryland ranks ninth in Division I in scoring defense but first among the quarterfinalists, allowing 7.86 goals per game. The Terps have allowed only six of 21 opponents to hit double figures. Only two have scored more than 10, including No. 3 North Carolina in the Terps' only loss (a 17-15 final). Douty, a junior, ranks second on the team in ground balls (30) and third in caused turnovers with 16.
Virginia relies on Blue's steady season
Injury and illness have interrupted two of Liza Blue's four seasons at Virginia, but the Garrison Forest graduate has turned in a rock-steady season for the Cavaliers, who rebounded from a 4-6 start to earn the No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Blue missed the beginning of last season and had to redshirt her freshman year in 2011, but this spring, she is tied for the team lead in goals with 53 and is second in scoring with 61 points. She also has 53 draw controls, the last three of which helped the Cavaliers seal their 13-11 victory over Princeton in Sunday's second-round tournament win.
She helped end a Tigers three-goal run by winning the next draw which led to a teammate's goal and a 13-10 lead. After she won the next draw, the Cavaliers turned it over and Princeton cut the lead to one, but Blue, who finished with five draw controls, won the next one too, and Virginia held on.
Burgess adds to Florida's offensive power
As a freshman, Sammi Burgess picked up right where she left off at McDonogh, adding firepower to a Florida attack that graduated most of its top scorers.
Named American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Week four times this spring, it was no surprise she earned ALC Rookie of the Year honors.
Staring all but one game, Burgess ranks second on the team in scoring with 35 goals and 49 points, which is impressive considering the Gators boast the nation's leading goal scorer in Shannon Gilroy, who has 83 goals and a 4.15 per-game average in becoming the first Florida player to reach 100 points in a single season.
A final bow
Two of the most versatile players ever in the women's college game, Loyola's Marlee Paton and Johns Hopkins' Taylor D'Amore, finished their careers last weekend when their teams lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Both excelled all over the field and were All-Americans and four-time All-Mid-Atlantic Region selections.
Paton, the Patriot League Midfielder of the Year, came within a few assists of finishing her career with 100s across the board: She had 180 goals, 104 draw controls, 118 caused turnovers and 136 ground balls. She also dished out 97 assists.
D'Amore, the American Lacrosse Conference Offensive Player of the Year, set Blue Jays records with 161 career assists and 240 draw controls. Her assist total ranks fifth in NCAA Division I history. She also had 303 points, 142 goals, 80 ground balls and 52 caused turnovers.
Maryland won 17 of 20 draws and Taylor Cummings (McDonogh) had 10 en route to the 13-5 NCAA opening-round win over Penn. … The Terps lead all quarterfinal teams with 15.71 draws controls per game. … Florida and Denver endured 6 hours and 9 minutes of weather delays in their second-round game Sunday, won by the Gators, 19-9. … Maryland has won 20 or more games in five of its last six seasons. … The Division I second-round games were decided by an average of 4.9 goals, with four decided by two or three goals. … Salisbury heads into the Division III second round having gone 54-2 over the past three years.