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College lacrosse notebook: Mount St. Mary’s women off to best start in 21 years

Coach Lauren Skellchock has the Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team off to its best start since 1998 at 8-2.
Coach Lauren Skellchock has the Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team off to its best start since 1998 at 8-2. (David Sinclair / Mount St. Mary's Athletics)

The Mount St. Mary’s women’s lacrosse team has opened the season with eight wins in 10 games, matching the program’s best start since the 1998 squad also went 8-2. The offense’s scoring average of 13.6 goals per game is the team’s highest in at least 17 years, which coach Lauren Skellchock attributed Wednesday to a renewed insistence on taking advantage of transition chances.

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on playing fast in our offense, and I think that’s something we continue to improve on and continue to learn,” said the Century and Johns Hopkins graduate, who was known then as Lauren Schwarzmann. “We just want to make sure that we don’t allow defenses to dictate what they want us to do.”

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The Mountaineers will take a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s Northeast Conference opener at Saint Francis (3-5). The objective is to win their first league tournament championship and earn a berth in the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2005.

“As much as we’re really excited about what we just accomplished, we start over, and the first part of the season really means nothing if we don’t have anything to show for it after the next four or five weeks,” Skellchock said. “That’s the ultimate goal — to win our conference, to host the NEC tournament, and to get ourselves a bid to the NCAA tournament. We are very proud of what we’ve done thus far, but there is still a lot that we have yet to accomplish in these next few weeks.”

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North Carolina goalkeeper Caton Johnson and Northwestern attacker Selena Lasota are The Sun’s National Players of the Week in men’s and women’s lacrosse, respectively.

C. Milton Wright grad rewriting records for Coastal Carolina women

Haley Alexander already owns three career and two single-season records with seven regular-season games left in her senior year at Coastal Carolina. But setting marks in all-time points (193), goals (147) and ground balls (99) and single-season points (69) and goals (51) did not cross the Bel Air resident’s mind when she committed to the Chanticleers while playing at C. Milton Wright.

“I think it’s a super cool accomplishment, but nothing that I really expected coming into this,” the senior attacker said. “But it’s just been really awesome to be that person that people look up to on the team.”

Alexander, who leads Coastal Carolina (7-3, 2-1 Atlantic Sun) in goals (30) and assists (41) and needs to make only three more starts to own the career starts record, counted appearances in the conference tournament final in each of the past two seasons as a high point. But that could be superseded if Coastal Carolina was to capture the league tournament championship and earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA postseason.

“That would just be awesome,” she said. “It’s something that I’ve dreamed of since I’ve gotten here, to be able to get a ring and be able to make history for this team. That would be super awesome if we were able to accomplish that this year.”

No word yet on starting goalie for Towson men

Towson men’s coach Shawn Nadelen said he likely will know by Friday whether junior Tyler Canto or redshirt sophomore Shane Brennan will start at goalkeeper in Saturday’s game at Fairfield (5-5, 0-1 Colonial Athletic Association).

Canto has started all nine games for the No. 12 Tigers (6-3, 1-0), recording a 10.45 goals-against average and a .536 save percentage. But he was pulled with 3:40 left in the second quarter in favor of Brennan, who made four saves and gave up only three goals to cement Saturday’s 10-9 win against Hofstra.

“We have confidence in both of them,” Nadelen said. “We don’t think it’s a huge controversy between the two. Shane started all but I think one game last year for us, and Tyler’s played well for us this year. So I think we’re fortunate to be in a spot where I feel like it’s a good problem to have. It just makes our job a little bit tougher as coaches to figure out who we want to put out there.”

The top-ranked Nittany Lions used an 8-1 first quarter to overwhelm the host Terps in the Big Ten opener for both sides.

Prouty rounding into form for Johns Hopkins men

After a 5-for-19 start in the first three games, Johns Hopkins sophomore Kyle Prouty now ranks ninth among Division I faceoff specialists in faceoff percentage at .640 (80-for-125).

In Saturday’s 14-8 victory at Michigan, Prouty won 19 of 23 draws and scooped up 15 ground balls. Coach Dave Pietramala credited Prouty with staying positive even as the team went to freshman Matt Narewski (.495 on 54-for-109) for stretches.

“When we called upon him, he was ready for the opportunity,” Pietramala said. “That’s the key. He has understood, ‘Hey, my time is going to come again, and the team is going to need me, and I’ll be ready.’ He’s been prepared, and when that opportunity came, he pounced on it. It’s good to know that we can go to either one of those guys in any given situation if we need to.”

Junior John Railey has endured three separate knee operations — two for torn left ACLs — to emerge as a starting defenseman for the No. 6 Greyhounds.

Freshman leading Frostburg State men

College lacrosse has not been too steep of a mountain for freshman midfielder Matthew Ward, who leads the Frostburg State men in both assists (15) and points (40) and ranks second in goals (25).

Coach Steve Gartelman said he had an inkling of Ward’s mindset when he returned from winter break and added 20 pounds to his squat lifts.

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“We knew he would be a big contributor putting balls in the net, having assists, and playing on both sides of the ball,” Gartelman said. “His stick skills continued to improve, and he developed his left hand. So he’s not necessarily a surprise. He was a first-line, second-line guy all through his first couple months with us, but to the extent that he’s leading the team in points, that’s a little bit of a surprise.”

Quick hits

Senior attacker Hannah Powers became just the third player in Loyola Maryland women’s history to reach the 100-assist mark when she assisted on a career-high seven goals in Sunday’s 21-7 romp over Boston University. She now ranks in the program’s Top 10 in assists (third, 102), points (sixth, 253) and goals (10th, 150). … Senior attackman JT Thelen tied a Stevenson men’s record after scoring nine goals for the second time in his career in Saturday’s 20-4 thumping of Albright. The mark was first set by former attackman Steve Kazimer in a 19-13 victory over Messiah on March 1, 2008. … The 70 shots unleashed by the Washington College men in their 18-6 rout of McDaniel on Saturday were a program high since March 29, 1997, when that squad took 72 attempts against Dickinson.

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