Hall saves a spot for Hoody, who took goalie out of crease

Aggressive pioneer joins nine other inductees


October 11, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Sandy Hoody never could see the point of being a reactive lacrosse goalie.

When she moved from defense wing to the goal as a senior at Towson State in 1974, goalies spent most of their time waiting in the crease for the attack to act. Hoody decided she would rather force the issue.

"If the ball was free, I'd go for it. I would do anything to get it. Why wouldn't you as a goalkeeper?" the Dundalk native said. "No one said I couldn't do that, so I took the initiative."

That innovation and others made Hoody one of the best goalies in the history of women's lacrosse - an All-World selection after the Americans' 1982 World Cup victory. They also influenced the way goalies play today.

Hoody, who spent more than 20 years in club lacrosse and has coached at every level, will be inducted into the US Lacrosse National Hall of Fame along with nine of her peers tomorrow night at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley.

Hoody never played lacrosse until she got to Towson. Softball had been her game at Dundalk High, which had no lacrosse team.

She played defense wing for three years but said she didn't have the speed to excel as a field player, so she tried the goal. That put her on a path to the South regional team, 15 years on the U.S. national team and two World Cup teams.

At a time when goalies played with the same stick as field players, Hoody pioneered a more athletic style of play for the keeper. She was the first to play the position as not just a shot stopper but as a 12th field player.

"Other goalies at the time were good, but they primarily played inside the crease," said Nancy Gross, one of Hoody's goalkeeping peers who played at Ursinus. "Sandy figured, `if the ball's out there and I can get it, that's one less shot they can take on me and it could end up being one more shot we can take.' "

In addition to her aggressive field play, Hoody devised a unique style within the crease. She used a catcher-like stance to try to cut off the attacker's angle.

"My uniqueness was I played on the post," Hoody said. "I developed that style as a result of my teammates and shooting practice. I found if I stood to one side of the cage they would shoot to the other."

Gross remembered how Hoody crouched beside the post, anticipating the shot.

"At the point of release, she would pounce like a cat out of that stance. Her left hand would come up and trap the ball in her stick," said Gross.

Although her catcher style never caught on, Hoody was one of the best at baiting attack players, said Sue Heether, goalie for the last three U.S. World Cup teams.

"She stood on the weak-side pipe, and she was the only one who did that," Heether said. "She baited a player by staying off to one side, and she did that mainly to say, `Hey, you think you've got a lot of space there; go for it,' but she covered that 6 feet faster than anyone could. They rarely beat her."

Hoody, who now coaches Parkville's field hockey team, went on to coach a variety of sports at several Baltimore high schools as well as lacrosse at Towson and Princeton universities. She also served as an assistant coach for the Welsh national team in 1989.

Still, she remains unconvinced of her own importance to the sport.

"I don't know that I was so important," said Hoody. "Someone said to me, `Congratulations on getting into the Hall of Fame. That must be the greatest thing,' but the greatest thing was playing the sport and coaching it."

Also being inducted

Nancy Vadner Chance, Timonium resident and former Goucher College coach.

Zack Colburn, Penn defenseman who helped the U.S. national team to three World Cup titles.

Heather Dow, Virginia and U.S. national team player named the top women's goalie of the century by Lacrosse magazine.

Del Dressel, Towson resident and Johns Hopkins midfielder, one of only three four-time All-Americans.

Eleanor Kay "Pete" Hess, former Swarthmore College coach and nationally rated umpire.

Roddy Marino, Virginia All-American and All-World attackman at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups.

George McGeeney, 1982 defenseman of the year and the first UMBC player to be inducted to the National Hall of Fame.

Bill Tierney, Princeton coach who won six national titles and whose .772 winning percentage is the best in NCAA men's history.

Julie Williams, Virginia All-America defender, two-time World Cup player and former Penn State coach.

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