Saturday’s women’s lacrosse game between No. 6 Florida and No. 17 Loyola Maryland at noon at Ridley Athletic Complex will include a personal tinge for Taylor VanThof. The senior midfielder for the host Greyhounds (0-1) will meet older sister Taryn as opponents for the third year in a row, which has not dulled the strangeness of the situation.
“I think any time when we’re competing against each other, it’s just a weird feeling,” the younger VanThof said Wednesday. “When I grew up, she was my club coach for lacrosse, and she was always the one pushing me to be a better athlete and just pushing me in general. I think how times have changed from her being my club coach to her now being a Division I coach, and we’re going up against each other.”
Said the older VanThof, who has been an assistant coach for the Gators (1-1) since 2017: “I always want the best for her, and I love to see her excel and I love to see her grow over the years. … Now to see it and for her to showcase it, I just don’t want her to showcase it against me.”
The sisters, who are separated by more than five years, have not played together for the same team in nine years, but remain close. They call each other after every game that Taylor plays or Taryn coaches, Taylor wears the same No. 18 that Taryn wore when she played at Loyola, and Taylor’s locker at Ridley sits across from a board with the names of past Greyhounds All-Americans — a list that includes Taryn, who was honored three times.
Taylor has already broken two of Taryn’s school records for draw controls and needs only 26 more to pass Taryn’s career mark of 318 draw controls. Taryn said she roots for her sister.
“Records are meant to be broken, but the fact that she’s the one breaking them puts it on a whole other level,” she said. “I’m just proud.”
Both sisters said their mother, Tamara, will attend Saturday’s game, perhaps wearing a Florida T-shirt under a Loyola sweatshirt. Although they have limited their communication this past week and have avoided any lacrosse conversation, they insisted that things will return to normal after the game.
“There will be no hard feelings no matter what the outcome of the game is,” Taylor said. “I always know that she’s my biggest supporter, and I am hers.”
“Obviously, pregame will be a little different from postgame,” Taryn said. “We’ll say ‘Hi,’ but it won’t be anything more than that because we’re both getting ready for a big competition. And then afterward, we’re back to being siblings.”
St. Mary’s grad hits century mark
Georgetown junior attackman Jake Carraway became the 25th member of the program’s 100-point club when he tallied three goals and three assists in Saturday’s 14-11 win against Robert Morris. But he wished he had kept the ball that led to senior attackman Robert Clark’s goal in the first quarter for Carraway’s 100th point.
“We had a limited supply during the game,” the Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate said. “So [I] had to run that back up to the ref for the next faceoff. … That would have been some cool memorabilia maybe for my desk in my room or something to hang up.”
Carraway has scored 70 career goals and is on pace for a career-high 45 this spring, which would make him the eighth player in school history to reach the 100-goal mark. But through two games, he has five assists, which he credited to trying to expand his game.
“Last year and in my freshman year, I was more of just a designated shooter,” he said. “But this year, I’ve taken more of a role as a dodger as well. It’s definitely interesting and definitely a new part of the game that I’ve been working on. But I think it’s cool.”
No panic for Johns Hopkins men
Johns Hopkins is 0-2 for the first time since 1971 after losing to No. 7 Towson and No. 1 Loyola Maryland in the same season for the first time and dropped out of the Inside Lacrosse media poll.
Avoiding the program’s first 0-3 start since 1966 might be a difficult task at No. 14 North Carolina (3-0) on Saturday, but senior attackman Kyle Marr said he has faith in his teammates.
“It’s a group of guys that is not going to fall apart,” he said. “We’re going to stick together. I think the family aspect of this program has always been around in my time here, and it will always be around long after I’m gone. I think the bonds the guys have together is something that a 0-2 start isn’t going to waver at all. I do think things have to change and at some point, we really have to claw and fight and get a victory here. But it’s a young group, and it’s a young group that needs that first win to really get under our belts and move forward. But the mood right now is, we’re going to scrap and claw and find a way to get that first victory.”
Olmstead set to return to Loyola Maryland men
Sophomore attackman Aidan Olmstead missed Loyola Maryland’s 18-12 victory at then-No. 17 Johns Hopkins on Saturday because of an unspecified injury, but he is expected to return for Saturday’s road game against No. 19 Rutgers.
Senior Alex McGovern shifted from the second midfield to Olmstead’s spot and had two goals and two assists for the Greyhounds (2-0), but coach Charley Toomey is optimistic that Olmstead will be available for the Scarlet Knights (2-1).
“He’s day-to-day,” Toomey said. “I would anticipate that he’ll be back next week. We like his progress, but didn’t feel like we wanted him running around with the ball in his stick and putting added pressure on him.”
Offensive starter’s defensive play for Johns Hopkins women
Starting attacker Aurora Cordingley scored three goals, but she also caused three turnovers, including a strip of Loyola Maryland sophomore midfielder Elli Kluegel with 65 seconds left to seal Johns Hopkins’ 13-11 upset of the then-No. 7 Greyhounds on Saturday.
As thrilled as she was about Cordingley’s scoring for the No. 14 Blue Jays (2-0), coach Janine Tucker singled out the sophomore’s ability to pressure opponents.
“Rory is the one we have hunting the goalie on our ride,” Tucker said. “So she’s exceptional at that. She knows how to hunt the ball, throw some really great checks that turn the ball over, and literally she did her job. That’s what she has been known for for us, and she really did a big one for us.”