Here’s a rundown of the local women’s lacrosse scene ahead of the 2021 season. Teams are listed in alphabetical order. To read more about Loyola, click here.

Johns Hopkins
Head coach: Janine Tucker
2020: 4-3 overall, 0-0 in the Big Ten

A week before their season was scheduled to begin, the Blue Jays still hadn’t had their whole team together for practice due to COVID protocols and the recent lockdown on the Johns Hopkins campus. But those are about the only setbacks so far. Veteran coach Janine Tucker has 41 players, including 11 returning starters, her entire defense and her top nine scorers.

Aurora Cordingley (17 goals, 18 assists), Mackenzie Heldberg (16, 12) and Maggie Schneidereith (17, 8) are back to lead the offense; midfielder Shelby Harrison and Mia Farnella are solid on draws and Jeanne Kachris, Annika Meyer and goalkeeper Kathleen Garvey are aces on defense.

The underrated Cordingley excels on the ride and is a key on a team built around that defense. She, Scheidereith and midfielder Lexi Souder are all back for a fifth season.

Also keep an eye on a host of talented freshmen, including California import Campbell Case, 6-foot-1 Connecticut product Eliza Bowman on attack, and Towson’s Abbey Hulbrink in the midfield. The Blue Jays were poised to be tested right out of the gate against Maryland Feb. 14, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19.

Head coach: Jen Adams
2020: 5-0 overall, 0-0 in the Patriot League

No. 4 Loyola is loaded with 11 starters returning, including the 2021 Patriot League preseason players of the year on offense and defense in senior attacker Livy Rosenzweig and junior defender Katie Detwiler, respectively. Rosenzweig has been a dominant force from her Patriot League Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018 through two all-conference seasons. She has 245 career points and 201 draw controls in 47 games. She and Detwiler were named preseason US Lacrosse All-America and helped spur wins against four nationally ranked foes in last year’s shortened, 5-0 season.

Now sprinkle in All-Patriot Preseason Team midfielders Sam Fiedler, Elli Klugel and Jillian Wilson and preseason IWLCA All-America picks goalie Kaityln Larsson and defender Shay Clevenger, and it’s easy to see why the Greyhounds were the favorite to win the Patriot for the eighth consecutive year.

Loyola, which has won 10-plus games in each of coach Jen Adams’ 11 full seasons, opens 2021 Feb. 20 at Ridley Athletic Complex against No. 3 Syracuse in one of the first marquee nonconference matchups of the year in women’s lacrosse.

Head coach: Cathy Reese
2020: 3-3 overall, 0-0 in the Big Ten

The Terrapins won just three games last year before the season shut down about the same time head coach Cathy Reese was seeing major improvement from a young team with 12 freshmen. They’re not freshmen anymore, and a preseason ranking of No. 7 in the ILWCA poll shows Maryland likely would have finished strong if given that chance in 2020.

First-team Inside Lacrosse preseason All-American Lizzie Colson anchors a defense that’s still rebuilding from 2019’s title team, but the Terrapins are already showing the ability to go quickly from defense to offense, long a trademark of Reese’s best teams. Third-team All-American Brindi Griffin led the Terps with 15 goals in 2020 and opted to return for a fifth season like Colson, who was out last year with a knee injury. Midfielder Grace Griffin, an honorable mention All-America selection, is a more traditional senior and another key, particularly on defense.

“We’re meshing well but we need to play somebody else to get that confidence and get those jitters out, it’s been a long time,” Reese said. “When it ends that way [at 3-3], it’s tough for a lot of people to swallow, to say, ‘That’s not what we wanted.’ This is a new year. They’re hungry.”

Head coach: Cindy Timchal
2020: 2-4 overall, 0-0 in the Patriot League

Kelly Larkin is gone after one of the greatest careers in Navy, well, in women’s lacrosse history, but her departure won’t sink this program. The Mids begin the season ranked No. 17 in the Inside Lacrosse rankings and No. 21 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll, their 39th consecutive week (back to 2017) ranked.

Count on Regan Roelofs and Nicole Victory to provide surface-to-goal firepower to replace Larkin’s loss. Roelofs was third on the squad with 12 goals and Victory led the team with 12 assists to go with her six tallies. Defender Gil Eby, a high-scoring dynamo on Notre Dame Prep’s 2017 state championship team, will up the offensive ante by moving to the midfield this season.

Navy won’t sail into the season with fifth-year seniors like many opponents, but Hall of Fame coach Cindy Timchal always keeps things shipshape. Last year, three of her squad’s four losses were to ranked foes and her teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament the previous three years, including the Elite Eight in 2018 and the Final Four in 2017.

The Mids open Feb. 13 at home against George Mason.

Head coach: Sonia LaMonica
2020: 2-4 overall, 0-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association

Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American Sami Chenoweth is a Tiger that tames opposing teams’ offenses. The grad student from Manchester, Md., was sixth nationally in last year’s truncated season with 2.33 turnovers caused per game and earned third-team All-America honors.

Chenoweth is one of nine starters back for coach Sonia LaMonica, who has racked up 110 wins in 10 years at Towson and taken the Tigers to six NCAA Tournaments during that span. She thinks she might have another contender this spring.

“We didn’t get to practice as a full team in the fall so chemistry is the biggest question mark,” the coach said. “In terms of play within drills and half-field scrimmaging throughout the fall, I was really taken with the talent that we have.”

The top 12 scorers are back, including Shelby Stack, (13 goals, 4 assists), Julia Porter (4, 12) and Blair Pearre (14 goals). Now mix in Maryland grad transfers Natalie Miller on defense and Nikki Sliwak in the midfield and sophomore defender Olivia Malamphy from Boston College.

The Tigers open Feb. 13 at Mount St. Mary’s.

Head coach: Amy Slade
2020: 2-4 overall, 0-0 in the America East

Coach Amy Slade had a daunting task last spring with just three 2019 starters returning and 10 incoming freshmen coming aboard. A year later, experience and depth are not much of an issue in Catonsville, Md. Now the Retrievers return nine starters and 14 total letterwinners, including the top six scorers and breakout goalkeeper Lexi Roberts.

When last season abruptly ended, Roberts was leading the America East and was 15th nationally with a .504 save percentage and 23rd in the country with 3.17 groundballs per game. The Baldwin, Md., native is a team captain along with fellow seniors Lily Kennedy and Olivia Docal. Kennedy, an attacker, led the Retrievers with 17 points on 10 goals and seven assists. Docal had 10 goals and an assist.

“Lily, Lexi and Olivia have proven from Day One that they know what it takes to be a leader,” said Slade, who was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame last year.

Senior Courtney Renehan (12 goals), sophomore Clair Bockstie (6 goals) and Penn State grad transfer Katie Schluederberg, a Howard County native, are also in line for big seasons.

Head coach: Kathy Railey
2020: 2-2 overall, 0-0 in the Middle Athletic Conference Commonwealth

A couple of weeks before the likely start of their season, the Mustangs had more questions than games on the 2021 schedule. Still, with seven starters back, Stevenson can contend in the Division III MAC Commonwealth – once the league announces said schedule. And particularly if a replacement for goalkeeper Mack Ferguson, a four-year Mustang starter and all-conference fixture, can be found.

The good news is that whoever winds up between the pipes, there’s likely a strong defense in front of them with upperclassmen Kirsten Foster and Shannon Snyder leading the way. Junior attacker Caroline Murphy and her team-high nine goals are back, too. Fellow juniors Hannah Huff and Kaitlyn Kozlowski each had five goals for veteran coach Kathy Railey’s squad.

Junior Tea Ferrara, a faceoff specialist in both ice hockey and lacrosse, hopes to wrap up hockey in time to join lacrosse. She couldn’t do so last year when the spring lacrosse season closed early.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletics, Ryan Samson/Loyola Athletic Communications, Maryland Athletics, Kevin Tellekamp, Jack Miller

Mike Ashley

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