Mollison powering Terps women's offense

Senior attacker, nicknamed 'Smalls,' has come up big for Maryland

May 26, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

A few years ago, one of Sarah Mollison's Maryland teammates squished her name together and ever since the 5-foot-5 senior attacker has had the nickname "Smalls." Her contributions, however, have been anything but.

Mollison, an All-American and 2011 Tewaaraton finalist, became only the sixth player in Maryland history to contribute 100 goals and 100 assists in her career. She ranks fifth on the Terps all-time points list (268) and fourth in assists (119).

The Terrapins' playmaker leads the team in assists with 45, but has done a little bit more finishing recently and ranks second in goals with 52. In the 15-6 quarterfinal win over Princeton, she had four goals – three of them within 30 seconds.

"She's a real leader," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "One of the things that sets her apart from a lot of people is she works so hard at everything she does. She works hard to make the people around her better. One of the great qualities about her as a leader is no matter what she's doing, she's giving everything she has."

Cats kick into playoff mode

Making its seventh straight appearance in the final four, Northwestern knows how to kick its game up a notch in post season. Top scorer and Tewaaraton finalist Shannon Smith has scored five goals in each the past four games, including the American Lacrosse Conference tournament, and the Wildcats have allowed just 5.6 goals in their last five outings, including the final regular-season game, an 8-4 win over Virginia.

The Wildcats lost two games this season for the first time since 2004, but they tend to play their best in the NCAAs, posting the best winning percentage in tournament history at .794. Since 2002, the Wildcats are 26-2 in the tournament. They won five straight titles before falling to Maryland in last year's final.

ACC asserts itself

With Maryland, Duke and North Carolina all in the final four, the Atlantic Coast Conference continues its NCAA tournament dominance. This is the third time since 1998 the ACC has put three teams in the semifinals and it has had at least one ever year since 1990.

"I think that speaks volumes to the competitiveness of our conference," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said of this year's tournament field. "Our conference games throughout the season are hard fought and they're very intense games no matter who it is that's competing."

Since 1997, when the tournament field was expanded to eight, ACC teams have made 22 appearances in the semifinals while teams from all other conferences or independents have made 30. ACC teams have won 13 of the 29 championships played since the NCAA took over women's lacrosse – 10 by Maryland and three by Virginia.

Donohoe aims to ice career

Corey Donohoe became the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina women's lacrosse history this spring, but the North Harford graduate would like to add some icing on her career with the Tar Heels' first national championship.

The senior attacker and the 2007 All-Metro Player of the Year, has 191 goals and 253 points and currently leads the Tar Heels with 51 goals – the third 50-goal season of her career.

"It's an honor to have broken the scoring record, but at the same time," she said, "it's more of a team award than anything, because it's my teammates who push me every day to do better and because we share the ball on offense."

North Carolina coach Jenny Levy was disappointed Donohoe did not make the list of five finalists for the Tewaaraton trophy: "Corey's one of the best attackers that I've coached and that we've had in our program. She's a big key to the success we've had the past three years in the NCAA tournament."

Duke trying to race to the top

Duke senior Christie Kaestner has been blogging about the team's experiences this season and in her latest installment on the Duke women's lacrosse web site, she writes about the competitive nature of her team – and herself – heading into the final four.

"The Duke women's lacrosse team is a competitive bunch: parking spots, Dairy Queen lines, stick checks and stretching lines – you name it, we're trying to be first. I know I used to break a sweat racing my siblings to the car for the front seat … and still do," wrote the senior from Trappe, Md.

If the Blue Devils are to beat Maryland for the first time since they knocked the Terps out in the tournament quarterfinal three years ago, Kaestner likely will be one of the reasons. She had two goals and three assists in the 18-11 loss to the Terps in February.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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