Loyola's Mawhorr steps up to score

April 25, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Erika Mawhorr began to feel her confidence wavering ever so slightly as a freshman.

By her sophomore year at Loyola College, the internal questions started to mount. She never before had doubted her abilities as a lacrosse player, but two seasons of mostly standing on the sidelines were taking their toll.

This spring would be crucial. Attacker Colleen Anderson, the team's leading scorer the past two seasons, had graduated after being named tri-Player of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Greyhounds needed someone to take up the slack. They needed Mawhorr.

"Finally, I got my chance," she said.

And she's made the most of it.

A graduate of Severna Park High School, Mawhorr went into yesterday's home game against Towson State University as the nation's leader in assists (45) and points (78). She was named her conference's co-Player of the Year -- along with Old Dominion University goalkeeper Barb DiArcangelo -- and earned Most Valuable Player honors in the CAA Tournament, which Loyola won.

This, from a player who started four games in two seasons, including one last spring, when she had one goal and one assist.

"She's the kind of player who can handle the stick excellently, but had trouble her first two years adapting to the rest of the game," said Greyhounds coach Diane Aikens, whose team is 11-5 and ranked No. 7 going into Tuesday night's game at the University of Maryland, the defending national champions.

"It wasn't a surprise that she had the potential to do this. I thought she'd be one of the top scorers. I had no idea she'd be the top. That's a little bit of a surprise."

In yesterday's 14-11 victory over Towson State, Mawhorr scored four times despite usually setting up behind the net, looking to feed someone cutting toward the crease. She could have had three assists, as well, if her teammates had been able to convert.

She has 37 goals, placing her just two behind team-leader Sabrina Gallagher, who scored twice against Towson State. Gina Roberts, another former Severna Park player, had five goals and two assists yesterday.

Mawhorr's performance came on the heels of what Aikens called "her one bad game," last week against No. 1 Virginia. She had only one shot on goal, and finished with one assist, in an 11-7 loss.

"They were double-teaming me behind the net, and that made it difficult to see the open person," she said.

Aikens said: "Other than that, she's had fantastic games all the way up."

Mawhorr isn't just leading the nation in scoring, she's burying the rest of the field. At the beginning of the week, Temple University's Kerry Paul was second -- 21 points behind Mawhorr. The second-best assist total was 19, by Maryland's Kelly Amonte.

"I'm very surprised by all of this, actually," Mawhorr said. "I guess it was unexpected for me."

It became more necessary when junior Betsy Given, a graduate of Broadneck High School, injured her back during the preseason. She has played in just two games after starting all but one last season.

The Greyhounds also lost junior Tara Kramer to a knee injury in the season's second game. Kramer was second in scoring for Loyola with 34 goals and four assists last year.

"In the very beginning of the year, I said, 'We can definitely do this, but we need someone to step up. Who's it going to be?' " Aikens said.

"They expected a lot from me this year," Mawhorr said, "and I guess I had a lot to prove."

As a junior in high school, where she played on four state-championship teams, she was named the Player of the Year in Anne Arundel County after registering 38 goals and 30 assists. "That was my big year in high school, and this is my big year in college," she said.

"She's such a good athlete," said Severna Park coach Carin Peterson, "but unfortunately, when she got to Loyola, she was stuck behind some tremendous players, as well. It was only a matter of time, just waiting her turn to get in there. And when she got in there, she proved she could play at that level, and play well at that level."

And play with many defenses geared toward stopping her.

"She's gotten double- and triple-teamed a lot," Aiken said, "but she has such great feeding ability."

"We really didn't have a strategy for [Mawhorr]. I wasn't even aware she was their leading scorer," said Charlotte Heenan, the Tigers' third coach in four years.

"We've just been focusing on the things we've been doing incorrectly, and trying to build on what we have."

Mawhorr may be building toward an even better season in 1994.

"For her, this is literally her first year," Aiken said. "She's really still learning."

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