Shearer a force for Notre Dame

N. Carroll alumnus, Irish face Ohio State in NCAAs

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

May 09, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Notre Dame coach Tracy Coyne saw signs last year that Danielle Shearer was headed for a breakout season in 2002. She wasn't disappointed.

The junior from North Carroll has been instrumental in leading the No. 7 Irish to the first NCAA women's lacrosse tournament berth in the six-year history of their program and a meeting with No. 12 Ohio State this afternoon.

"She's scored in almost every game of her career, but this season she was ready to take on the role of being our top go-to player," said Coyne. "She's unbelievably quick and fast and has a lot of intensity. She finds a way to get it done."

That was never clearer than in Friday's regular-season finale, a 10-9 win over Vanderbilt in overtime. Shearer scored two goals in the final 1:08, including one with 20 seconds to go that sent the game into overtime.

Shearer earned Big East Midfielder of the Year honors after leading the Irish in every scoring category - points (55), goals (36) and assists (19). Her point total was up 10 from a year ago.

Covers a lot of ground

UMBC senior Beth Milani embodies the true meaning of the student-athlete.

On Monday, Milani was one of two recipients of the Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar Athlete Award, presented to the university's top scholar athletes. Today, she will play a key defensive role for the Retrievers in their first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.

The Institute of Notre Dame graduate has a 3.95 grade-point average, majoring in history, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She has been accepted into the Teach For America program, a two-year commitment to teach in an under-resourced school, and has been assigned to an Atlanta school in August.

In the meantime, Milani will try to help the Retrievers get past No. 3 North Carolina. One of the most versatile players on the team and a first-team All-Northeast Conference pick, she has 11 goals and eight assists while leading the team in caused turnovers.

Milani, 22, said there's no particular secret to her success on and off the field.

"Getting a little less sleep than you need at times," she said with a laugh, "and keeping focused. Our coach [Monica Yeakel] is big on academics and our team is always one of the top teams academically. Our team GPA is always above 3.0."

A plus for Terps

One of the most pleasant surprises for No. 8 Maryland's rebuilding defense has been Greta Sommers, who made the team as an invited walk-on and has started every game.

"It was extremely intimidating at first," said Sommers, "but it was so exciting. I just worked really hard during the summer and hustled to the ball [during fall workouts]. Cindy [Terrapins coach Cindy Timchal] really likes that about an individual. She likes to see hustle."

The freshman from Kent County High ranks among the team leaders in ground balls (35) and caused turnovers (15).

Timchal said Sommers reminds her of another walk-on, Theresa Ingram, who helped the Terps win a national title in 1992, went on to make the national team and is now the head coach at Brown.

"I like Greta's level of intensity and her desire," said Timchal.

Hopkins hosts ECAC final

Johns Hopkins missed out on an NCAA tournament bid, but the No. 18 Blue Jays will defend their Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship against Harvard on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Homewood Field.

Looking ahead

Next year's women's Division I national tournament will be held at Syracuse.

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