By Megan Smedley
Both the Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams are coming off seasons that are sure to go in the record books. The men’s team defied expectations, finishing as NCAA runner-ups. The Women’s team won their second straight NCAA Championship, the program’s 12th title.
The women’s lacrosse team is only returning with five starters from last season but a strong freshmen class will hopefully help the Terps.
“We’re definitely going to have some hiccups this season, but we have a lot of potential and a lot of room to grow,” said head coach Cathy Reese. “That’s what I am most excited for now is not thinking about anybody else’s team but our own and trying to prepare to open and look to attack each day, each game, and try to get a little bit better.”
Reigning two-time Tewaaraton award winner Taylor, Cummings says it has been fun as a player to have a new look as a team.
“I think we’ve just done a really good job coming together as a team, coming together as a group, and making this season really special before it’s even really begun,” said Cummings. “When you step on the field, it’s not about the awards, it’s not about your individual, it’s about playing for the people right next you.”
Cummings believes it’s the people she surrounds herself with that motivate her. She understands the reputation that the Maryland Women’s lacrosse program has and she wants to be the best. During the offseason, Cummings was nominated for the ESPY Award for Female College Athlete of the Year.
“That’s just the most humbling thing I’ve ever experienced,” said Cummings. “Just being surrounded by such amazing athletes and being considered even near their caliber was just mind-blowing and extremely humbling.”
Coach Reese got emotional when talking about this season being Taylor’s last. She wishes Cummings could just stay on the team forever.
“I’m just proud of her and all of her successes and the person that she is more than anything else,” said Reese.
Cummings says she has been blessed to have Reese as her coach throughout college.
“She brings best out of us, both as people and as players,” said Cummings.
The team is expecting for the incoming freshmen to step up and take over some starting roles. Cathy Reese says she does not have a starting goalie yet, but plans to rotate different players in goal to see what sticks.
The men’s lacrosse team is lucky to have the majority of their starters return this season. The team finished as co-champions of the Big 10 last year and hopes to improve this year.
“To say we’re excited to get this season going is a serious understatement,” said head coach John Tillman. “It’s going to be a great challenge but it’s a great group of young me. They’ve been working very hard on and off the field.”
Last year, the Terps were the toughest defense in the league, something they hope to continue this season.
“In our opinion there’s a standard around here defensively that we always aspire to live up to and it’s something that will remain a priority for us,” said Tillman.
The Terps set a collegiate record with having six players selected in the Major League lacrosse draft including All-American defender Matt Dunn.
“It’s very cool; it’s exciting,” said Dunn. “You spend so much time working on one craft, so much of your life goes into it that it’s nice to know even after this year is done for me that there’s still a chance it play more. It shows how much talent that has come across this whole team. And not just the talent but how hard everyone works to get to that point.”
Despite lots of players returning, Dunn says it has taken time for the new players to click with the team. All through the fall and winter the team has been practicing finding their new chemistry and believe they will thrive this year.
The Women’s lacrosse season begins on Saturday, February 12th against William & Mary at home. The Men’s lacrosse season opens with a home battle against rival Navy on Sunday, February 13th.