Terps' McFadden aims for national title to complement many individual accolades

Tewaaraton finalist headed for coaching ranks

May 21, 2010|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Not long after Caitlyn McFadden began her Maryland lacrosse career, her mother realized that all the press clippings would never fit into one scrapbook.

In her first Terrapins game, McFadden had three goals, three ground balls and two caused turnovers — a precursor to the National Midfielder of the Year she would become in 2009.

"After her freshman year, I knew there was no way it was all going to go into one scrapbook," Mary Clare McFadden said. "All the way back to high school even, I think I knew it was going to be more than one. Just the whole drawer full of stuff I had collected and she hadn't even gone to college yet."

So scrapbooking turned into a larger project — one book per year. And this year's senior edition might not even hold everything from the past 12 months.

The clips started piling up last summer when McFadden played for the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the World Championships in Prague and continue through a spring in which she has repeated as a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and the ACC tournament Most Valuable Player.

"She's just a complete player," North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. "She has great speed, endurance, her lateral ability is very good, her stickwork's very good and she understands the game, so she's very smart on the field. There's not much that she doesn't do for that team. She's just really dynamic."

For McFadden, however, the one thing missing from her resume is a national championship. The No. 1 Terrapins head into today's NCAA quarterfinal against No. 8 Penn at noon at Ludwig Field aiming for a second straight final four appearance — and more — after falling 8-7 to North Carolina in last year's semifinals.

"We wanst to bring that [national championship] back here. I'm just so excited. I want to be fighting for that championship every game and I really want to bring it back to Maryland. I would love to end my career that way," said McFadden, who will turn 22 on Friday, the day of the national semifinals at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

On a Maryland team that is exceptionally strong and deep, McFadden excels all over the field. In the ACC tournament, she not only scored big goals, including the first two in the 10-5 title victory over then-No. 1 North Carolina, but she played a critical defensive role. She held Virginia's leading scorer, Kaitlin Duff, to one assist in the semifinal and then shut out North Carolina's Jenn Russell, a Tewaaraton finalist.

"She's getting the job done for us at both ends of the field and I think that's what truly separates her from other players in the country," Terps coach Cathy Reese said. "She can get the job done offensively yet she's constantly marking the other team's leading scorer."

McFadden ranks second on her team in scoring with 39 goals and 31 assists and in draw controls while leading in caused turnovers.

Sophomore Karri Ellen Johnson said McFadden's work ethic makes her an effective, although quiet, leader.

"She encourages you, but she lets you play your own game," Johnson said. "Instead of leading with her words, she leads with her actions. She doesn't talk the talk, but she walks the walk."

Even in high school at Notre Dame Prep, where she was an All-Metro midfielder, McFadden put team first.

"Her greatest asset is her ability to see the field and get done what needs to get done," NDP coach Mary Bartel said. "If it's making that cut to create space, then that's what it is. There is certainly no need within her to have to be the one who scores the goal or makes the assist or has the check. She just wants to be on the field with the winning team."

She's just as successful in the classroom. With a 3.7 grade-point average in kinesiology, she was last season's ACC Women's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Still, she said she is ready to leave classes behind.

What's next? No surprise. She wants to coach college lacrosse.

Coming from a lacrosse family, she's never been far from the sport. Her parents both played in college and her mother coached at Maryvale and at Stevenson University. Brother Mickey is a high school senior playing at Loyola.

"I can't see my life without lacrosse. I think coaching has always been in the back of my mind. Coming into college I really wasn't sure but with working camps and everything, it just became something that I really wanted to do."

McFadden credited her mother, whom she helped coach club and camps, and Reese with fostering her ambition to coach.

"My only advice to her is to tell her to go for it," Mary Clare McFadden said."She's really good at explaining so that kids understand what she's talking about. She's a good teacher of the game. I'm impressed by how well she can break the finer points down so they're understandable to the kids."

Caitlyn McFadden, who said she has applied for a few coaching positions, knows it will be a challenge to make the transition, but many great players have, including Reese and Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, both former All-Americans at Maryland.

"I think it's going to be hard, because I'm going to want to get out there and be on the field," McFadden said with a laugh, "but you can't. You're stuck on the sideline, so I think it will be an interesting change."

Even after her Terps career ends, her mom might need yet another scrapbook, because McFadden isn't quite finished playing. She plans to stick with the U.S. national team, looking forward to the next World Cup in 2013, and she will cherish every additional clip.

"It's nice to look back at those memories," Caitlyn McFadden said, hoping to add a few more pages to the scrapbook in the next week.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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