Cathy Reese does not remember her first victory as the Maryland women’s lacrosse coach. (Incidentally, it was a 23-8 throttling of UMBC on Feb. 19, 2007.) But that’s understandable considering Reese has amassed 259 wins against just 21 losses in 13 seasons in College Park.
If the No. 2 Terps (11-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten) defeat Rutgers (5-6, 0-2) on Saturday, Reese will tie Cindy Timchal as the program’s winningest coach and could overtake her mentor with a victory over No. 7 Virginia (9-3) on Wednesday. As usual, Reese deflected praise regarding her ability to recruit and develop players for a school that has captured four NCAA championships during her tenure.
“The success of teams isn’t ever about one person,” she said Thursday morning. “For me, I’ve worked with awesome assistant coaches and support staff. … There are just people that make my job easier and better, and I think that’s a big part of our success here at Maryland. We have such great people here that work with us in all areas in addition to the players themselves. It’s a group effort to be successful day in and day out, and we’ve got a good group.”
Reese, who played for Timchal for four years and then was hired by her as an assistant shortly after graduation in 1998, credited Timchal with encouraging her to replace her after the 2006 season. Timchal, who went 260-46 in 16 years and is currently 181-49 at Navy, applauded Reese via an academy spokesman.
“Having a player like Cathy was a dream come true,” said Timchal, who is the NCAA’s all-time leader in career wins (517). “Now for her leading the program and watching Maryland play in the years since I have left, she has done an amazing job. There is no better time for her to break the record that I set than right now with her remarkable team.”
When Reese earned win No. 250 in a 17-12 victory at Florida on Feb. 14, the team surprised her with 250 balloons in the locker room and a video of current and former players congratulating her on her achievement.
Asked if there are plans to celebrate tying and/or breaking Timchal’s record, Reese replied, “Oh, I hope not. … I don’t think there’s anything too fancy coming on here. We’re midway through our season going into a game against a conference opponent on Saturday and then another top-ranked opponent next week. We’re in a good spot as a team right now. I’m just loving this group of girls and their passion and their excitement. Hopefully, we just keep continuing to do our thing.”
Strong starts for Hood men, women
The Hood men’s and women’s programs have enjoyed unprecedented success this spring.
The men’s team opened the season with seven consecutive wins for the first time. The Blazers dropped their Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth opener against Stevenson, 21-5, on Wednesday, but coach Brad Barber said the strong start has boosted the players’ morale.
“Sure, winning seven games in a row, that gives you a little bit of an edge, a little bit of excitement so that you’re going out there and competing and flying around,” he said. “So winning certainly helps that, but I think our mentality of focusing on what we can control and taking it play by play, that’s kind of has been the mindset of how we’ve approached and attacked each practice and each game.”
With Wednesday’s 15-10 win at Alvernia, the women’s team already has won nine of 10 games, eclipsing the single-season record for victories of eight established by the 2009 squad. Coach Molly Frazier said the team has been buoyed by a more dynamic attack and a tighter man-to-man defense.
“It kind of puts us on the map, which is nice,” she said of the Blazers’ success. “… We’re going to see some great competition in the next couple weeks, but I think it’s really helped the girls’ confidence going into conference play. I try to schedule teams that would be very challenging. I think the progress of beating teams that we used to lose to has been rewarding.”
Maryland men bracing for Penn State’s top threat
Grant Ament’s availability for top-ranked Penn State’s Big Ten opener at No. 3 Maryland on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Maryland Stadium in College Park is still in question after the redshirt junior attackman sat out Saturday’s 15-11 win at Cleveland State because of an unspecified lower-body injury.
But Terps coach John Tillman said the defense is crafting several strategies based on the return of Ament, who leads all NCAA Division I players in total assists (46) and points per game (8.0).
“There are a lot of scenarios that we’ll go through with our team,” he said. “I think the most important one is to go, ‘Listen, let’s plan on him playing and being at full strength.’ That is the best thing we can do so that we don’t get caught unexpectedly or are mentally surprised in any way.”
Nolan a facilitator for UMBC men again
Senior midfielder Billy Nolan has resumed being a playmaker for UMBC, pacing the team in assists with 10. The Crofton resident and Arundel graduate, who is on pace to finish the season with 17, led last year’s squad with a career-high 14 assists.
Nolan said he has been aided by the return of starting attackmen Ryan Frawley (team-best 17 goals) and Trevor Patschorke (12) from injuries and the emergence of junior attackman Brett McIntyre (15) and senior midfielder Josh Jordan (13).
“The way the offense is run this year, we don’t just have one guy,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that can score and can move the ball. So whatever is coming to me at that moment, then that’s what it is. If I have to make a pass, that’s what it has to be. We have some guys that came back that are shooters. So that’s been helping me. All I’ve got to do is throw it in, and they score.”
After winning 12 of 17 faceoffs in No. 11 Towson’s 7-6 loss to then-No. 13 Denver on Saturday, senior Alex Woodall became only the second player in program history to win more than 500 career draws. The Annapolis resident and St. Mary’s graduate has 504 all-time faceoff wins and needs only four more to pass Justin Berry (1998-2001) to become the career leader. … Senior midfielder Lindsey Farrell became the fourth player in McDaniel women’s history to amass 200 draw controls. The Towson resident and Loch Raven graduate has 204 draw controls after finishing with 11 in Saturday’s 14-9 loss at Haverford and needs 16 more to pass Olivia Geiger (Marriotts Ridge) for third place. … Reisterstown resident and McDonogh graduate Blake Gray punched through the 100-point mark with five goals and one assist in the No. 11 Gettysburg men’s 13-9 win against then-No. 9 Ursinus on Saturday. With two goals in Wednesday’s 13-8 loss to No. 14 Franklin and Marshall, the senior midfielder now has 106 points in his career. … Junior attackman Josh Melton posted career highs in assists (six) and points (11) in the No. 1 Salisbury men’s 18-3 throttling of SUNY-Geneseo on Saturday.