Hopkins' foes focus on Key

Jays' senior star leads nation in points again

Women's Notebook

April 19, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

Facing No. 1 Northwestern's stingy defense can be a daunting task for any opponent - even the one with the nation's leading scorer.

Johns Hopkins senior Mary Key leads Division I women's lacrosse with 7.08 points per game, but the Wildcats certainly will try to shut her down tomorrow night at 6, when they meet the No. 14 Blue Jays for an American Lacrosse Conference game at Homewood Field.

Key, of course, is used to all the attention. The St. Mary's High School graduate is leading the nation in points for the third straight year. She has 51 goals and 41 assists this season and is the top scorer in Blue Jays history.

She faced constant attention against then-No. 5 Virginia on Saturday and still came away with two goals and three assists to lead the Blue Jays to a 12-9 upset.

"For Mary, being the target of their defense and coming away with five points - she knows she can hurt our opponents by making the other kids look good," Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker said.

"She's been face-guarded all year long and she's still putting up phenomenal numbers. Take a look at how her goals and assists are almost equal. That to me is amazing at this level with the teams we play."

Key has lots of potential recipients for her passes, including Sarah Walsh (19 goals 12 assists), Lauren Schwarzmann (19, seven), Sam Schrum (19, seven) and Kadie Stamper (20, two).

Tucker said the Blue Jays will have to make the most of that offensive balance to contend with the two-time defending national champion Wildcats, who allow just six goals a game.

They also will need a big possession game and strong team defense, because the Wildcats (11-1, 2-0) have the top scoring offense in the nation, averaging 16.73 goals per game.

The Wildcats, who have won 11 straight games since opening with a 9-8 overtime loss at North Carolina, have a balanced offense, too. Hannah Nielsen (28, 35) leads the way, along with Hilary Bowen (33, 22) and 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Kristen Kjellman (32, 17).

Unlike in the past few years when the Blue Jays (8-5, 1-1) have jumped out to a quick start only to fade late in the season, this year's team is building on some early losses - two of them in overtime.

"We've really been pulling from those losses things we want to improve on," Tucker said. "Even though we've had some tough losses - a couple games early that we wish we wouldn't have [lost] - we've learned a lot."

Immediate impact

Last year at Roland Park, Brittany Kalkstein was known for her ability to win draws. Nothing has changed now that she has moved on to Virginia.

Kalkstein is the top freshman in Division I in draw controls. She leads the Cavaliers with 41, an average of 2.93, which ranks in the top 20 overall nationally.

Kalkstein, who has started every game for the No. 7 Cavaliers, also has been an asset on attack, where she is fourth on the team in total points with 42, including 33 goals.

She was so impressive that coaches battled over her in the fall, Virginia coach Julie Myers said. Myers wanted Kalkstein on attack. Defensive coach Heather Dow wanted her on defense. They compromised and put her in the midfield, where she can play both and where she earned All-Metro status last season for the Reds.

"I can't tell which is my favorite part of her game," Meyers said. "She's a huge part of our attack, not only in scoring, but she plays a pivotal role in moving the ball and with her assists. Her draw controls are sick and she's one of the best defenders. The only thing she's not hugely dominating in is transition, but that will be one of the last things to come."

UM-Tech on schedule

Maryland will play Virginia Tech as scheduled Saturday at noon in Blacksburg.

In the wake of Monday's shootings on the campus that resulted in 33 deaths, the Virginia Tech athletic department canceled softball and baseball games during the week as well as Saturday's spring football game. Other sports will continue their Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season or championship schedules beginning today.


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