Dual roles nothing new for Boutilier Roland Park grad excels offensively, defensively for top-ranked Virginia

May 15, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Peggy Boutilier has never been one to seek the spotlight, but it has always found her.

Through four years at Virginia, Boutilier has been content to play whatever role necessary to try to bring a national championship to Charlottesville. In the process, she has emerged as the 1997 Division I Defensive Player of the Year and the 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.

The Roland Park graduate plays a critical role in a defense that boasts the lowest goals-against average in Division I, allowing 5.67 a game. But she also leads the ACC champion and No. 1 Cavaliers in scoring as they head into tonight's Final Four showdown with No. 4 Dartmouth at UMBC Stadium.

Boutilier, who has doubled her career goals with 36 this season, never had to score much until high-scoring teammate Beth Potter suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament April 3 against Princeton. That day, Boutilier scored a career-high five goals, including the game-winner, in a 9-4 Cavaliers victory.

"I never even scored five goals in a game at Roland Park," she said, "but against Princeton, there were openings and I was able to take advantage of them. Before, I might not have done that."

Though Boutilier has always excelled as a defensive midfielder, Virginia coach Julie Myers said that in the past couple of years, she has worked to become more attack-minded.

"Every year, she has picked another piece of the game to improve on," said Myers, "but she still maintained everything she had done in the past. There is nothing missing in Peggy's game."

Now that she is an offensive threat, Boutilier presents a dilemma for the opposition.

"Peggy creates a real tough matchup for you," said Duke coach Kerstin Kimel, "because you have to put one of your defenders on offense to line up against her at D wing. When they get the ball on transition, you can end up with a real mismatch on defense."

The Cavaliers will be looking for some of those mismatches tonight in the quest for their first national title since 1993. This is Boutilier's third trip to a Final Four, her second in lacrosse. Last fall, she helped the Cavaliers field hockey team reach the Final Four for the first time in school history.

The NCAA, ACC and university have showered her with athletic awards and student-athlete honors, but she said she would gladly trade all of the individual accolades for a national title.

"Winning the ACC tournament meant so much," said Boutilier, whose team edged North Carolina, 9-7, for the title on April 19. "I've been in six ACC tournaments and to finally be on the winning side was great, because you always remember the last one. But we're not happy with winning just that. We're trying to use it as motivation to go further."

Win or lose, however, this weekend will cap an impressive career.

Boutilier has excelled at two varsity sports -- a rare feat in Division I, especially on two teams ranked No. 1 in the same year. Last week, she was named Virginia's Outstanding Female Athlete for the year.

Academic All-America in both sports, Boutilier was the first athlete in school history to be voted by her teammates the Most Valuable Player on two different teams in the same year.

She has not missed a start for either team in four years and has set records for most consecutive starts in each sport while juggling a heavy academic load and emerging as a campus leader.

"Her work ethic and the balance she has in her life enable her to do all that," said field hockey coach Missy Sanders. "It's difficult to maintain the level of skill she has in field hockey when you only play half a year. It's the same thing with lacrosse, but she makes a real commitment to the things she does."

That commitment has paid off in a big way this spring. Boutilier earned two of the most prestigious awards on campus -- a Weaver-James-Corrigan Scholarship from the ACC and Virginia's Gray-Carrington Scholarship. The Gray-Carrington Scholarship is a full-year grant-in-aid that Boutilier will use to earn her master's degree in education.

"She's the most outstanding person I've ever had the opportunity to work with," said Myers. "[Her teammates] call her 'Perfect Peggy,' because there's nothing she can't do. But she has worked at it. Everything doesn't just fall her way. She takes charge of situations and creates all of her own success."

Pub Date: 5/15/98

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