As a junior on last year’s undefeated, national championship-winning Maryland women’s lacrosse team, Megan Whittle led the Terrapins’ offense. She scored an astounding 71 goals on the season while also adding 16 assists. Although senior Zoe Stukenberg won the prestigious Tewaaraton Award, it was actually Whittle’s 87 points that led Maryland.
Named one of the four team captains in January, it’s up to her to make sure this team defends their national championship and makes it to Stony Brook in May for the Final Four. And although the season is just two games old, it seems that Whittle is ready for the job.
It all started in the season opener against William & Mary, a game in which the Terps won 18-7. Maryland opened things up on an 11-0 run in just over 15 minutes, putting its stamp on the game in a hurry.
Whittle had two goals in the first 11 minutes, as she and Caroline Steele were the first players to have multi-goal games. She would later set up Kali Hartshorn for the sophomore’s first score of the year. The senior attacker would add two second-half goals to pace the team in points.
If then-No. 3 Florida had any hope that Whittle wouldn’t dominate them like she did William & Mary, they were sorely mistaken. After the Gators scored twice to start the game, Whittle stopped the run with an unassisted goal. Jen Giles then followed up with two goals of her own, and Florida wouldn’t lead the rest of the game.
After it was all said and done, the senior finished Saturday’s victory with five goals. Once again, she led all players in points. That’s something you’ll hear often as the season rolls on.
It’s not just the amount of goals she is scoring that’s helping the team, it’s her efficiency in doing so. Whittle leads the team in shot percentage (.643) among qualified players and her free-position percentage of .857 is second. If that wasn’t enough, she’s tied for third on the team in draw controls and has greatly helped the defense keep opposing offenses off the scoreboard.
Her performance against Florida earned her the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors, and if she keeps this level of production up, more awards are certainly in her future.
The best part of Maryland’s storied success is the ability for anyone on the field to score at any time. And while that may be true, Whittle has been and will continue to be the focal point of the Terps’ high-flying offense.