Walking onto the turf at William G. Tierney Field in Glencoe, Maryland, midfielder Erica Evans saw plenty of familiar faces both on the field and on the sidelines.
Having captured a national championship with the Maryland women’s lacrosse team just four months earlier, Evans now took the field opposing her former Terp teammates in a fall scrimmage between the defending national champions and Team Canada.
“It’s pretty cool,” Evans said. “I haven’t seen them in a few months, especially after we won [the national championship] and all. They look great out there and I’m so excited to watch them come springtime.”
As part of the US Lacrosse Fall Classic, Maryland faced off against both Team Canada and Team USA in a pair of exhibition games that ultimately ended up being a reunion of sorts for former Terps. While Maryland defeated Team Canada 12-8 but fell to Team USA 20-7, the team walked away from the experience satisfied with what they were able gain from it.
“We can watch the U.S. team and it’s inspirational for anybody,” Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said. “Their fitness, their speed, the speed of the game, how quickly they move the ball is something that’s so impressive. ... I think this is stuff that I want to keep building in my own program to keep getting better at, and I think it was cool for our girls to be able to see that level and have the chance to compete against it too and know what’s ahead for them.”
Under Reese, the Maryland has dominated Division I for most of the last decade, capturing national titles in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. The supremacy that Reese and the Terps have cultivated over the last 10 years has permeated up into the international level, as Team USA featured six former Terps in Taylor Cummings (‘16), Alex Aust (‘13), Megan Douty (‘15), Brooke Griffin (‘15), Alice Mercer (‘16) and Katie Schwarzmann (‘13). Team Canada also carried two of Reese’s former protégés as well in Evans (‘19) and Dana Dobbie (‘08).
Perhaps the most accomplished player to take the field for either side was Cummings, whose prolific career with the Terps culminated in three Tewaaraton Awards — the first and only player to ever do so in either men’s or women’s lacrosse history. Though Cummings put up a modest stat line of one goal and one assist and wasn’t on the field for the majority of Saturday’s contest, she recognized the potential this year’s group has going into next season.
On the current Terps side of Saturday afternoon, senior attacker Brindi Griffin led the way in the win over Canada with a three-goal performance. But it was the newcomers to the program that made a significant impact in their first action with the team, as freshman midfielder Shaylan Ahearn notched a hat trick while freshman attack Hannah Leubecker and freshman attack Libby May adding two goals a piece as well.
Against the Americans, Ahearn and Leubecker each had a goal with freshman midfielder Kate Sites scoring her first goal as a Terp too.
“Their freshman class and the people who were on the field today show a lot of promise and a lot of incredible talent,” Cummings said. “As a fan and alum, I’m really excited for them. I think this is a great experience having been on their side and this side.”
Reese takes a good deal of pride from what her players have been able to accomplish after college. As if her national championships weren’t enough of a testament to her pedigree as a coach, the amount of success her players have achieved in their professional careers certainly reflects her capability to mentor and grow the players that come through her system.
“Cathy and the staff are just incredible,” Cummings said. “They’ve prepared us to go out into the real world and do whatever jobs we want, but on the lacrosse [field], they’ve prepared us to play at the next level and be able to adapt and play in whatever systems and formats that come our way. I can’t thank her enough.”