Maryland women off to 10th straight national lacrosse semifinal

Maryland goalkeeper Megan Taylor (34) celebrates with teammates after they defeated Boston College to win the NCAA college Division 1 lacrosse championship final, Sunday, May 28, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Maryland women’s lacrosse team is in the Final Four — again. Ten straight appearances in the national semifinals means that, bear with me here, that not only has every senior been on four straight Final Four teams — no senior has played with anyone who played with anyone at Maryland who was on a Terps team that didn’t make the Final Four.

That’s no easy task. Just like winning a second straight national title this weekend will be no easy task, as they battle Boston College in the Semifinals Friday at 7:30 p.m., one year after beating the Eagles in the National Championship Game.

The seeds to this year’s senior class were planted more than 10 years ago.

“The coolest thing about my class — there’s seven of us now — is that we’re all from Maryland and four of us played on the same club team together, since we were eight or nine,” said senior attacker Megan Whittle.

The addition of transfer Kathy Rudkin from Syracuse bolstered a defense that lost plenty of talent to graduation and gives the Terps eight seniors who contribute on and off the field.

“I’m just fortunate and blessed to have a team full of amazing women,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “They’re all just terrific people and that’s what it’s all about.”

From Whittle, who leads the team with 83 goals, to Emma Moss who saw action in just four games this year, Reese’s senior class and team is more than a collection of talent but a group of teammates.

“What Cathy’s been able to do is bring 37 girls together, get everybody on the same page, and focused toward the same goal, and have everyone love every moment of it,” Whittle said. “And that is something that is very hard to do — especially with 37 girls of college age.”

This year’s senior class leaves College Park with a 47-0 home record, setting the standard while also laying the groundwork for the 2019 and 2020 teams.

“They mean the world (to me),” said junior goalie Megan Taylor. “I’ve actually been playing with Megan Whittle since Rec (league) — and Taylor Hensh I grew up playing COBRA (travel lacrosse) with. Just being able to watch them grow and watch them become the leaders that they are, it’s really something special.”

But the mood around campus is not one of celebration this week — it’s one of focus.

“This senior class has had such an impressive ride and accomplishment, but it’s important that we don’t take anything for granted,” said Reese. “It took a lot of work to get here and there’s a lot of work still to be done going into this weekend.”

That’s exactly where Whittle wanted to be, and she gets to be there one more weekend in her playing career.

“When I was 15 years old and decided to commit to Maryland, that’s what I signed up for,” Whittle said. “And here it is, happening. But the coolest part is that is isn’t over yet.”

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