The third John Carroll coach in four years, Abbey Swift just wanted to bring stability to a program that began to rebound last year after a couple of sub-.500 seasons.
Instead, she turned it into one of the top contenders in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland AConference. The Patriots, who were 10-9 a year ago, finished 13-5, but their five losses came by a total of six goals.
It took time, but John Carroll bought into Swift's team approach. The team motto was #gotyourback2015, and the coach did everything she could think of to facilitate that.
"One thing I wanted to convey to the girls was trust," said Swift, who played lacrosse at Towson High and UMBC. "I really wanted them to know that my coaching staff believed in them and they had to believe in each other."
A key moment came in the Patriots' fourth game, After a disappointing one-goal loss to Notre Dame Prep, John Carroll trailed Severn by six goals with 12:32 left in the game. The Patriots rallied to tie the game and eventually won, 17-16, in triple overtime.
"From that point on, I really feel they believed in themselves," Swift said. "I feel from then on it was, 'Yeah, we got this.'"