October 17, 2011

NW-Maryland Rematch Among Play For Parkinson's Women's Games

by Brian Kapur | LaxMagazine.com | Related: PFP Men's Recap

Karri Ellen Johnson is back on the field after dealing with a concussion that sidelined her for much of last spring. "It's definitely different," Johnson said. "But it's like I never left. It's really fun. I can't believe I'm a senior."

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In a rematch of the last two NCAA women's national title games, the Maryland Terrapins beat the Northwestern Wildcats by an unofficial 12-6 score Sunday at the Play for Parkinson's event, benefitting the ProjectSpark Foundation. Both teams played a very intense game and each was assessed a yellow card.

"Its only fall," Maryland goalkeeper Brittany Dipper said. "We came out and played hard and they played hard. It was a good opportunity."

The Terps' starters looked good against the Wildcats' starters. The Terps scored the first five goals of the game. Senior Kristy Black scored two goals during the run. Maryland's speedy freshman Kelly McPartland added a goal during the 5-0 run as well.

The Wildcats responded as Taylor Thornton scored on a free position shot to make it 5-1 at halftime. In the second half it was more Maryland as they built a quick 11-1 lead. Late in the game Shannon Smith added a pair of goals.

"It's always a work in progress even if you have a pretty veteran team nothing comes right to you," Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte-Hiller said. "You have to work all fall and all winter on coming together."

Some other observations from Sunday's scrimmages:


Fall Ball Priority: Stanford is facing a youth movement and will have to get its young roster to mesh.

Verdict: Stanford's graduated its only first team All-American, Leslie Ford, and a strong senior class. In the Cardinals' first game against Northwestern it showed. The Wildcats were able to control the ball and the tempo on offense.

"We did graduate quite a few players," Cardinal head coach Amy Bokker said. "[We are] just working as a unit and working as a team and getting the freshmen in our system and to believe in our system."

But in a later game against Georgetown, Stanford seemed to make strides as the defense shut down the Georgetown starters. The Cardinal unofficially won 12-5.

"We always run man-to-man and a zone defense, but we have been working on a couple different zones trying to shake things up," Bokker said.

News and Notes: This tournament was a smart move by Bokker because of the diverse talent in attendance. Stanford is the lone women's lacrosse power on the West Coast, so this trip should pay dividends in the spring.

"Its an opportunity for us to get ourselves against great competition," Bokker said. "We made the trip here so we could do that. We are a young team and what's important is to get ourselves up against the best and see how we fare."

Stanford had several freshmen step up and make some nice plays. Meredith Kalinowski made several plays out of the midfield.

"Some freshman have really been stepping up. Meredith Kalinowski has been playing really well," Bokker said. "She is just a really mentally tough player. She is really fearless to our competition. Carolina Scanlon and some of our defenders have been stepping up and playing well."


Fall Ball Priority: The defending national champions return most of its title-winning squad including reigning Tewarraton Award winner Shannon Smith. This fall the key has been expanding Smith's game and getting her supporting cast up to speed.

Verdict: The Wildcats looked like the defending national champions as they blew past Stanford unofficially 13-4 in the first game Sunday. Smith is clearly still among the top players in the game.

"She's getting used to the new players on offense," Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte-Hiller said of Smith. "We've moved some players to different positions on the offense. [Smith] can play so many roles for us and she's figuring out how to do that, and do it effectively."

Meanwhile, freshman Casey Bocklet scored two goals against the Cardinal. The rookie looks primed to contribute.

"We do have a lot of new freshman," Amonte-Hiller said. "Its always a work in progress even when you have a pretty veteran team. You have to work all fall and all winter on coming together and see what happens."

News and Notes: Amonte-Hiller spoke highly of her freshman class and on the field they backed up her comments.

"Casey Bocklet and Brooks Lawler have done a nice job and a host of others," Amonte-Hiller said. "I just think that they are pretty confident and competitive. They aren't afraid to step up as a freshman."

Meanwhile veteran goalkeeper Brianne LoManto will anchor the Wildcats' defense once again. LoManto put together a couple of nice games Sunday and looks like she will be among the upper echelon of goalies this spring.


Fall Ball Priority: The Blue Devils need to improve their defense after an inconsistent showing last season. They struggled on defense last season because of injuries and youth.

Duke coach Kerstin Kimel was pleased with the play of the Blue Devils' defense Sunday.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Verdict: Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel has used an individual approach with the defense. The Blue Devils have focused on each individual being in the right place on defense rather than working as a unit. So far it provided mixed results. On Sunday they unofficially fell to Maryland 11-7. But at times the defense was a bright spot.

"We haven't spent a ton of time on defense," Kimel said. "Given that I thought we played well defensively even though we've only had 14 days of practice. I am pretty pleased with what I am seeing. We made some really nice adjustments."

The team added defensive help with freshman additions, but they also bring back Bridget Nolan who missed time with injury last season.

"Having someone like Bridget Nolan who is a senior, who was one of those kids who was hurt all of last year has really stepped up and played a much greater role on the defensive side of things," Kimel said.

News and Notes: The Blue Devils return both Emma Hamm and Kat Thomas. They will be looked upon to be team leaders.

Meanwhile Duke has an impressive freshman class. Kimel raved about three freshmen in particular: Taylor Trimble, Brigid Smith and Erin Tenneson.

"Taylor Trimble and Brigid Smith were two kids that were on the U-19 team," Kimel said. "Taylor has an unbelievable stick and unbelievable game sense. She is good in a lot of different facets of the game. Brigid Smith is just so shifty and quick with her stick. She has a great nose for the goal. Erin Tenneson is just kind of just an animal [on] loose balls and groundballs. The timing of her slides is just natural for her."

Penn State

Fall Ball Priority: Establish new team leadership and find an offensive identity.

Verdict: Penn State made strides and looked like a team on the rise Sunday.

"We are a fairly young team," Nittany Lions head coach Missy Doherty said. "Our challenge is to find our next leaders. We are still trying to figure out our lineup and see where our strengths are going to come from."

Going against the last two national champions provided several flashes of good lacrosse and gave Penn State a good measuring stick.

"We played Maryland a couple of weeks ago and we had a lot to learn from that game," Doherty said. "In the past two weeks we have grown a lot as a team in confidence and composure."

News and Notes: The Lions appear to have several immediate impact freshmen Tatum Coffey, Kelly Lechner and Maggie McCormick. Both made plays and contributed goals or assists on several of the Nittany Lions goals Sunday.

"Maggie McCormick is a freshman who did a great job down at the offensive end for us," Doherty said. "Kelly Lechner and Tatum Coffey have great speed. They are good at both ends of the field and they really bring a great dynamic at both ends. They are only going to get better which is exciting."


Fall Ball Priority: Learn which players can replace a large graduating senior class.

Verdict: Georgetown was inconsistent Sunday. At times they looked like the Big East contenders and at times they looked like a work in progress. Despite those inconsistencies they have a very high ceiling.

"It's kind of up and down, it's been inconsistent so far," Hoyas head coach Ricky Fried said. "We progressed this week and we kind of turned the corner in practice."

News and Notes: The Hoyas will enter the season with a young team. But what they lack in experience, they make up for in talent and potential. Two newcomers, Caroline Tarzian and Megan Marinelli have made an instant impact for Georgetown.

"Tarzian has done a great job picking up the pace of the game and playing to her strengths and Megan Marinelli," Fried said. "Those would be the two that have kind of separated themselves and are looking good at this time. [Marinelli has] great game sense, great instincts, but she has to learn to talk more because she's not very comfortable back there. But her instincts in general are fantastic. Once she realizes how good she is the sky is the limit for her."


Fall Ball Priority: Create a new defensive identity and re-establish one of the best pure scorers in the country, Karri Ellen Johnson.

Verdict: The Terps looked like a team that could be playing on championship weekend. Johnson, who missed the last half of last season with a concussion, looked like she never left. She scored the first two goals in the Terps' game against Duke.

"It's definitely different," Johnson said. "But it's like I never left. It's really fun. I can't believe I'm a senior."

The Terps lost three starters on their defensive backline, but senior goalkeeper Brittany Dipper returns to anchor the group.

In front of the Big Dipper is junior defender Iliana Sanza. She has a nose for the ball and is great at getting in position to take charges.

"We are clicking as a defensive unit as we do every year," Dipper said. "We have young faces out there but we have been clicking good."

News and Notes: The Terps have 13 freshmen this year including redshirt Brooke Griffin who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Griffin was a highly touted recruit last season and Sunday she showed why. Griffin scored a goal in the exhibition with Northwestern and looked like she had her old speed.

"She's doing well," Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said. "She has been back for a couple weeks now. We are just easing her back in and getting her back in the swing of things."

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