Sami Chenoweth has been so good at causing turnovers that her teammates on the Towson women’s lacrosse team have begun to question the physical properties of the stick that she uses.
“They say my stick is like a magnet,” the Manchester resident and Manchester Valley graduate said with a laugh. “I’ve heard that since the beginning of high school.”
The statistics back up Chenoweth. After forcing three turnovers in the Tigers’ 12-8 loss at High Point (4-4) on Wednesday, the junior defender leads all Division I players in caused turnovers per game at 3.9 and ranks second in the nation in total caused turnovers with 31, trailing only Liberty senior defender Brianna McCaffrey’s 32.
Causing turnovers is not new for Chenoweth. After finishing her high school career with 103 caused turnovers, 124 ground balls and 125 draw controls, she ranked third on the team as a freshman with 28 caused turnovers and second as a sophomore with 44. She ranks second in program history in all-time caused turnovers with 100 and could challenge Hillary Fratzke’s school mark of 144.
Chenoweth’s primary defensive assignment is marking opponents’ behind-the-cage attackers, who are usually their offense’s top one-on-one dodgers. She said she has worked with assistant coach Michael Molster on concentrating on an opponent’s hips.
“When I’m down there, I’m like, ‘This girl is not going to get by me,’” she said. “That’s my mental state, and I get that adrenaline rush, and when you get that one stop where she has turn back and pass the ball, I’m like, ‘OK, I’ve done my job.’”
Along with junior defender Olivia Conti (2.9 caused turnovers per game), Towson boasts two of the top five players in the country at causing turnovers. Coach Sonia LaMonica told the university’s media department that her nickname for Chenoweth is “Beast.”
“Sami is a gifted defender,” LaMonica said. “I always talk about her instincts, but on-ball, she’s fantastic and off-ball, she’s fantastic. She’s kind of the whole package.”
Different directions for Johns Hopkins and Towson men
After opening the season with back-to-back losses to Towson and Loyola Maryland, No. 16 Johns Hopkins (4-3) has won four of its last five games heading into Saturday’s game against No. 9 Virginia (5-2). Coach Dave Pietramala has been especially encouraged to see the team overcome two-goal deficits in the second halves of victories against then-No. 14 North Carolina on Feb. 23, Princeton on March 2 and Delaware on Saturday.
“I like the fight that I’m seeing in our team,” he said. “I like that they’re showing that they can handle adversity in a much more appropriate fashion that affords us a chance to be successful. That’s growth, and that’s experience.”
On the flipside, No. 8 Towson (5-2) has dropped two straight games after beginning with five consecutive wins. A combined 48 turnovers and 13 failed clears contributed heavily to losses to then-No. 2 Cornell on March 10 and No. 2 Duke on Saturday.
“We’ve just got to clean up our style of lacrosse,” coach Shawn Nadelen said as the Tigers prepare to host No. 13 Denver (4-2) on Saturday. “The team is confident. We know what we’re capable of, and we know that we can play really well. We just can’t beat ourselves. So that’s been a big focus this week.”
Loyola Maryland men relying on Railey
With junior defenseman Alex Johnson still recovering from an arm injury suffered in a 12-7 loss at No. 2 Duke on March 7, No. 6 Loyola Maryland (5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League) turned to junior John Railey to make his first career start in Saturday’s 18-5 demolition of Navy.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Railey racked up three caused turnovers and three ground balls against the Midshipmen (4-3, 2-1). Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said Railey was often bumped up to shadow midfielders Ryan Wade and Greyson Torain.
“We asked a lot of John Railey today, and I thought he was phenomenal,” Toomey said Saturday. “He’s rangy, he’s big, he’s lanky. We asked him to bump up and play a middie, and I thought he was very versatile for us today.”
Janeck jump-starts Maryland men
No. 4 Maryland’s 17-7 thumping of Villanova on Saturday was a day of firsts for Wesley Janeck. Not only did the senior take faceoffs for the first time in his career, but he also scored a goal after winning a draw to give the Terps (7-1) an 11-2 advantage with nine seconds left in the second quarter.
Janeck had spent the previous three seasons as a short-stick defensive midfielder, which he occasionally plays this spring. But Janeck, who went 3-of-6 on faceoffs against the Wildcats and collected two ground balls, gives Maryland another option in addition to senior Austin Henningsen and sophomore Justin Shockey.
“Wes is a guy that if need be, he gets in there and he fights for loose balls,” coach John Tillman said. “He’s a good athlete, he’s real tenacious, and he’s very fast. And as fate would have it, he just got it, and he started running, and that’s one of the things he can do, is create transition. I think we were really excited for him.”
Notes: In the No. 16 Loyola Maryland women’s 13-10 win against Georgetown Wednesday night, senior midfielder Taylor VanThof became the program’s career leader in draw controls with 319, eclipsing the previous record of 318 set by older sister Taryn in 2015. The younger VanThof also had one goal and one assist. … Senior attacker Alison Pantazes tied a Washington College women’s record by assisting on seven goals in Saturday’s 16-12 win against Randolph-Macon. She became the fourth player in school history to finish with seven assists and the first since Alli Dudley in 2014. … The St. Mary’s men’s team scored its first win against Washington College in a 14-11 outcome on Saturday. The Seahawks had dropped all 25 meetings in their series history with the Shoremen before Saturday. … The McDaniel men’s team’s 19-11 victory over Chatham on Saturday involved 61 shots by the Green Terror, who had not made that many attempts since March 4, 2017, when that squad took 76 shots in a 22-4 win over Adrian.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Bill Wagner contributed to this article.