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College Lacrosse

Katie Detwiler embraces role as top one-on-one defender for No. 7 Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse

At some point during the Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse team’s 16-7 victory over host Army West Point on April 16, Jillian Wilson and Katie Detwiler converged on a pair of Black Knights, with the latter forcing a turnover and carrying the loose ball into the Greyhounds’ offensive end of the field.

Wilson, a senior midfielder who hails from Hampstead and graduated from Gerstell Academy, voiced a thought to graduate student attacker Livy Rosenzweig as they tried to keep up with Detwiler.

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“I said to Livy as we were running down the field, ‘I don’t ever want to not play without Katie Detwiler on my team,’” Wilson said. “It’s awesome to play next to her.”

Wilson’s sentiment is shared by her teammates and coaches. Detwiler, a senior, is once again No. 7 Loyola’s stingiest one-on-one defender, leading the team in caused turnovers (18) and ranking third in draw controls (38) and sixth in ground balls (17).

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Three days before the Greyhounds (17-1), the top seed in the Patriot League, defeated No. 5 seed Lehigh (9-9) Thursday afternoon to advance to Saturday’s title game at 2 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex, Detwiler was voted the conference’s Defender of the Year for the second consecutive spring. She is one of only five defenders to be included in a group of 25 semifinalists for the Tewaaraton Award, the sport’s version of the Heisman Trophy.

For her part, Detwiler accepted the individual accolades without getting too excited.

“I wouldn’t say they’re my main focus,” she said. “Like anyone, they sit in the back of my mind, but I’ve just always been such a team-oriented player. I credit all of my successes to those who have helped me get there.”

Loyola coach Jen Adams said Detwiler is just being modest and pointed out that her statistics don’t tell the full story.

“In sports, we sometimes get so caught up in numbers,” said Adams, a former Maryland attacker who captured the inaugural Tewaaraton Award in 2001 and the league’s Coach of the Year for the sixth time in her 14-year tenure. “But if you come out and watch a game, it’s unique. There’s not a single person that can walk away from a game and say they didn’t notice Katie Detwiler because of the role she plays as a defender. I don’t think she has gotten the credit that she deserves.”

Tasked with shadowing opponents’ top offensive threat, Detwiler did not allow Johns Hopkins midfielder Shelby Harrison to record a goal or an assist in a 14-5 rout on Feb. 9, shut out Georgetown midfielder Annabelle Albert in a 16-6 thumping on March 9 and limited Florida attacker Danielle Pavinelli to a single goal — only her second such performance this season and her first non-hat trick in her first six starts — in a 12-9 win on March 11.

Detwiler said she embraces those assignments.

“In these games where we’re playing these top-10 teams, I’m like, ‘Sure, I’ll take it,’” she said. “I love being able to put myself up and challenge myself against all of these top attackers.”

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Former Maryland midfielder and lone three-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings, who serves as coach of the McDonogh girls lacrosse team, said she has not spotted any major flaws in Detwiler’s game.

“She throws her checks a lot, but times them really well, which is a really hard skill to perfect,” said Cummings, who will provide analysis of Saturday’s tournament final for CBS Sports Network. “Her ability to get on attackers’ hands is really strong. She does a great job with continuing to maintain pressure no matter where she is on the field, which is really difficult.”

Detwiler’s prowess as a defender might have gone unnoticed at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where she was a high-scoring midfielder who amassed 167 goals, 65 assists and 68 draw controls.

But during the summer before she enrolled at Loyola, Detwiler switched to defender while working with the U.S. Under-19 national team. She continued in that role in the fall.

“I wanted to get out there and play,” she reasoned. “I trusted my coaches, and if they saw me as a defender, I was like, ‘OK, I’ll take it.’ And I always loved the defensive game so much more.”

Adams pointed out that Detwiler is the latest in a string of Greyhounds defenders from Archbishop John Carroll, joining Kate and Cara Filippelli and Maddy Lesher. Beginning with asking Detwiler in her college debut in 2019 to mark former Johns Hopkins midfielder Maggie Schneidereith, Adams said she had few reservations about asking Detwiler to spearhead the defensive effort.

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Detwiler conceded there are certain matchups that have given her fits. She noted that she had to hustle to keep pace with Princeton senior attacker Kyla Sears and that Syracuse graduate student Emily Hawryschuk has a variety of tactics in her repertoire.

Despite those matchups, Patriot League analyst and former George Mason head coach Jessy Morgan said Detwiler can dictate an opponent’s offensive game plan.

“Every team has a few high-powered attackers, and she is able to dismantle them and make them change their games,” Morgan said. “And if they’re not good enough to change what they’ve always been doing, then she’s definitely going to come out on top.”

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The Greyhounds will get one more year with Detwiler, who is scheduled to graduate later this month with a bachelor’s in business with a concentration in marketing. She has applied to the graduate program for emerging media at Loyola and will use her final year of eligibility next spring.

If there is one area that could use some attention from Detwiler, it’s her offensive tendencies. She has not scored a goal since her freshman year and has only one assist in her career. Wilson joked that she and her teammates continue to encourage Detwiler to be selfish once in a while.

“Anytime she goes over midfield, we’re like, ‘Go to the goal! Take it to the goal! Go ahead!’” Wilson said. “But she doesn’t usually.”

Detwiler conceded that she has had opportunities to brush off her dormant offensive talent.

“I do carry the ball sometimes in transition, but I think I have so much trust in my attackers to do the job because they’re so good at it,” she said. “I know I do have it in me deep down. I think it will come out of me one of these days. I’ve just got to go.”

Patriot League Tournament final

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NAVY@LOYOLA MARYLAND

Saturday, 2 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network


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