Blanchette keeps up knack for scoring

May 08, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

Some quality playing time with maybe a chance to crack the starting lineup.

That was Salisbury State freshman attacker Candice Blanchette's hope going into her first college lacrosse season.

But to finish the regular season as the Sea Gulls' leading scorer? "No way. Not in a million years," she said.

The South Carroll grad did just that, scoring 30 goals and adding four assists to help lead Salisbury State -- currently ranked 10th in the Brine/IWLCA Division III poll -- to an 8-4 regular season.

It didn't come easy. She suffered an Achilles injury during preseason practice and missed all of the scrimmages. When the regular season began, she only played on game day -- still not ready to practice on a regular basis.

"I saw the higher level of play and was just looking to work my way up, hoping to get a chance to play," Blanchette said.

"I was kind of worried at tryouts because everyone looked so good. And then I got hurt during the preseason and missed six weeks and all the scrimmages. I was back for the first game, but still wasn't practicing much."

She opened the season with a three-goal effort in a win against the College of Notre Dame and only got better. After senior Slossy Owens, who led the Sea Gulls in scoring the previous two seasons, went down with an injury in the third game of the season, it was Blanchette who stepped up.

"We lost our key forward and she took over our attack. That's tough to do as a freshman and a lot to ask. She really had some big shoes to fill," said Salisbury State coach Dawn Chamberlin.

"[Candice] has a real knack for scoring. She has great speed and is very deceptive with it. She also has a quick release on her shot and places it well."

Blanchette doesn't think much about being the team's leading scorer. Instead she's more concerned with improving her game and helping the Sea Gulls win more games.

"I know I'm not as good as I can be. There are certain things I do well and other things I need to work on to become a well-rounded player," Blanchette said.

"My commitment to lacrosse is a lot different in college. In high school, it was more like something to do on the side. I take it a lot more serious now."

One part of her game that has always come easy is scoring goals. Last year at South Carroll, she was among the leading scorers in Carroll County. So what's her secret?

"I'm just an energetic person," she said. "I have a lot of energy and can't sit still. It's kind of weird but I have a second, third and fourth wind -- it really pushes me hard."

Blanchette knew she wanted to continue playing lacrosse in college and is very happy to be at Salisbury State, a solid program full of sophomores and freshmen. Her coach at South Carroll, Stacy Stem, was a standout in her playing days at Salisbury State and recommended it highly.

"I'm having a lot of fun," Blanchette said.

"It's close to home and close to the beach and the lacrosse program is really coming on. I'm also a business management major and they have a great program here."

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