Adams' magic stick casts spell on Virginia

Terps attacker named MVP of tournament

May 17, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

How many ways can Maryland sophomore attacker Jen Adams beat a team on the lacrosse field?

Standout Virginia defender Stephy Samaras didn't even want to begin counting the ways yesterday after Adams helped defeat the Cavaliers, 16-6, in the National Collegiate Women's Lacrosse Championship final at Homewood Field.

Adams burned Samaras and the Virginia defense for four goals and one assist and was chosen the most valuable player in the tournament.

But that was only half the story as the Terrapins waltzed to a fifth straight national title.

Adams was so spectacular with her stickwork from the start that she made the game look easy while Virginia was struggling just to get off a decent shot at the goal.

Talk about subtle intimidation.

Adams was a master of it against a Virginia team that was searching for any spark of hope against Maryland, which entered the game with 10 straight wins over the Cavaliers.

The Adams show began with a bold, behind-the-back pass in the first half and two goals, and continued in the second half with a spectacular sweeping shot into the net from seven yards out.

Even Maryland coach Cindy Timchal, who constantly preaches "team" and prefers not to get carried away with one player, was moved to say: "Jen was feeling it today, and I'd have to say she ranks right up there with the top players I've ever coached."

Adams looked like a magician with a wand in her hand instead of a stick when she swept the ball into the net off a pass from Quinn Carney early in the second half for a 12-2 lead.

Adams caught and shot the ball backhanded all in one motion, and Virginia goalkeeper Liz McCarthy never really had a chance to make the save.

So where did that shot come from?

"I worked on it a lot with Gary Gait [assistant Maryland coach]," said Adams, who is from Brighton, Australia. "He's willing to let us try anything in practice. He really makes the game fun for us. All the players love the freedom he gives us."

They also respect Gait's reputation as one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time and will listen intently to everything he says.

Adams said, "We say, `That's Gary Gait. He's a great player.' "

However, Gait refused to take all credit for the emergence of Adams, who established school single-season records this year with 71 goals and 117 points. Her 46 assists were four short of another school single-season mark.

Gait said of his flashy young star: "Jen never stops working on anything that will make her stickwork better. While other players are going for a water break, Jen is out on that field working on a new move or a new shot. She truly loves to play the game."

Pub Date: 5/17/99

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