With leadership still emerging on Loyola Maryland's young offense, Frankie Kamely is making her case for being the go-to player.
The sophomore scored 10 goals in the two-game Patriot League tournament to lead the Greyhounds to their third straight conference championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. An All-Tournament selection, she was also named the EPOCH/Lax Magazine National Player of the Week.
She scored seven goals in the tournament semifinal, a 13-8 win over Lehigh, a team the Greyhounds needed overtime to beat during the regular season.
"That game was a little too close for too long," Kamely said with a laugh.
"I'm the kind of player that once I get going, it's kind of hard to stop. Once I got two goals and then I got three and four and it all rolls into one and the next thing you know I'm getting seven goals. It's kind of just like a little steamroller, I guess; you can't really stop it. My teammates opened things up and I was just the one who happened to put the ball in the back of the net."
Against Lehigh, Kamely scored the first goal and the Greyhounds never trailed, but they led by just one early in the second half before Kamely really got rolling. She scored Loyola's final six goals – three in the final 2:45 – in a 6-2 finishing run.
She had three more goals in the title game, a 12-8 win over Navy that put the Greyhounds in the NCAA tournament for the 19th time in program history and sends them to Chapel Hill, N.C., where they meet Duke in Friday night's 5 p.m. first-round game.
Kamely, from the Chicago suburbs, said it was difficult for the young attack to mesh at first. Last year's entire starting lineup graduated and senior Maddy Blakeman was the only returner who had played much.
Now Kamely and Blakeman are tied with a team-high 37 goals and Kamely is third in points with 45 on an attack that remains well balanced. Seven players, including Hannah Powers, Sabrina Tabasso, Cami Whiteford, Emily Clark and Margaret Filippelli, have at least 11 goals and 18 points each.
"We all started from scratch," said Kamely, who played in seven games last season. "There were games where we clicked at the beginning, some games where we didn't, but thankfully it all started to mesh together at the end of our regular season heading into the tournament. That showed after having two killer last games and even against Army before that when we racked up 18 goals."
The Greyhounds rolled over first-year program Army, 18-7, before heading into the tournament a week later and winning those two "killer games."
With a front-loaded schedule, the youngsters had to learn under pressure and started the season 1-4. They opened their season on the road falling to top five programs Florida (15-6) and Syracuse (17-6). They also picked up a couple of good early season wins, at Johns Hopkins, 8-7 in double overtime, and against Virginia, 7-6.
Kamely said playing the tough programs early gave the young attack "invaluable experience" that paid off later, including in the win over Virginia in their sixth game.
The Greyhounds went undefeated through the Patriots League, capping the run with the win over Army. Even though the West Point program is in its first year, Kamely said, the Loyola offense saw significant improvement in that game.
"If there was a turning point, I would say it would be Army. Unfortunately, it was that late in the season, the last regular-season game, but at the same time it was fortunate enough to come just before tournament play was coming around." she said.
"We actually added a new transition play to our offense and we broke it out against Army, coincidentally enough when we started breaking out on offense all together, too. And, of course, as the weeks go by, you just get more and more comfortable playing with one another, so we've all been hitting our strides individually and as a collective group."