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College lacrosse notebook: Improving shooting a priority for Maryland women

This season, the No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse team scored at least 11 goals in each of its 19 games. But the Terps’ low-water mark of 11 was not enough in Sunday’s five-goal loss to No. 4 Northwestern in Sunday’s Big Ten tournament final at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

The offense boasted five players with multiple points, but the unit converted only 34.4 % of its attempts en route to the team’s lowest offensive output since an 11-10 win at Princeton on April 10, 2018. Junior attacker Brindi Griffin acknowledged that she and her teammates would be wise to study what went wrong on offense.

“I think we learned a lot from this loss,” the Edgewater resident and McDonogh graduate said. “They just capitalized a lot on our mistakes on the attacking side. But I think we’re excited to keep going because from this, we know the things we have to work on.”

Despite the sub-par performance, Maryland (18-1) continues to rank seventh among NCAA Division I offenses in scoring (15.9 goals per game) and 23rd in shooting percentage (.457). The program was still awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, which begins Friday.

But the Terps could face either No. 9 and reigning national champion James Madison (16-3) or No. 14 Stony Brook (15-4) in Sunday’s second round game at noon at Maryland Stadium in College Park. The Dukes rank ninth in the nation in defense at 8.5 goals per game, while the Seawolves are even stingier at third with 7.4 goals per game.

Coach Cathy Reese said Maryland must be more opportunistic in the NCAA tournament’s single-elimination format.

“You can’t be flat and expect to win games against good teams,” she said. “There are so many great teams out there, and for us to be above that, we have to shoot better. We can’t shoot 25 percent at the half, and we can’t give up 16 goals. So for us, it was both ends of the field. I didn’t have one side of the ball that carried the other today. So this is an opportunity for us to just take a hard look and maybe people can take a deep breath.”

Fiedler leading nation

The Loyola Maryland women trail only Northwestern in shooting percentage this spring, and no one has embodied that success more than Sam Fiedler.

The sophomore midfielder leads the country in shooting percentage at .653, and that rate has helped her reach career highs in goals (49) and points (72). The Reisterstown resident and Garrison Forest graduate, who ranks second among the No. 11 Greyhounds (15-4) in goals, credits offseason workouts with former high school teammate Marina Lazarides (now a sophomore midfielder at Navy) and a sense of patience with aiding her shooting prowess.

“I think I kind of just wait for the best opportunity, and a lot of the times, someone is either making a move and I just cut into space, and they find me,” Fiedler said. “Then I just have to make a couple fakes and shoot.”

Larkin honored

After becoming the Navy women’s first Attacker of the Year cited by the Patriot League since 2013 and the first player in conference history to total 100 points in three different seasons, junior attacker Kelly Larkin added another distinction last weekend.

Two goals in Sunday’s 21-9 loss to Loyola Maryland in the conference tournament final gave Larkin 337 career points and helped her pass former Navy attacker Jasmine DePompeo’s school and Patriot League record of 336 points. Larkin still has one more season with the No. 18 Midshipmen (15-4) to pad her numbers.

“It’s an amazing and really exciting honor considering how competitive the Patriot League is and its history and how good it’s been in recent years,” she said. “So it’s really exciting, and it goes to show how well Navy’s program has developed over the years. I’m just happy that I’ve gotten the chance to be on the field since my freshman year and get those numbers in assists and goals. It’s really exciting.”

New role for DeMase

When starting junior attacker Mackenzie Heldberg left the Johns Hopkins women’s 17-7 rout of UMBC on March 19 because of an ACL injury, the coaches turned to senior midfielder Nicole DeMase.

Tapping a midfielder to play attack might have seemed unusual, but DeMase had started 28 games as a sophomore and junior and racked up 50 goals and 14 assists for the Blue Jays (10-7). In eight starts for Heldberg, DeMase has compiled 14 goals and four assists – even if she has occasionally forgotten her new responsibilities.

“I think there was a little adjustment because I’m used to always being in the play – whether that was on the offensive end or the defensive end,” she said. “Now I have to sit back behind the restraining line and let the defense do their job and I can’t be over there helping. So that was a little bit of an adjustment. But I have the utmost confidence in the defense to get the job done, and they’re doing fine without me on that end.”

Notes: After causing four turnovers in the Stevenson men’s 12-9 win against Franklin & Marshall in an NCAA Division III tournament first-round game on Wednesday, s Senior defenseman Dominic DeFazio now has 139 caused turnovers, tying the program record set by Kyle Holechek from 2011-14. … Crofton resident, Arundel graduate and UMBC transfer Brett Malamphy, a senior midfielder for the Salisbury men, leads all Division III players with 319 faceoff wins. … Goucher junior midfielder Shannon Stull, a Westminster resident and Francis Scott Key graduate, finished the season surpassing the 100 level in career goals (116), points (130) and draw controls (113). … Cecily Docktor, a senior attacker for the Washington College women, wrapped up her season as the first player in program history to amass 100 draw controls with 101 and also added 227 all-time points. … Notre Dame of Maryland senior midfielder Kirstin McGee, a Middle River resident and Catholic graduate, has compiled 117 goals and 106 assists in her career.

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