The shutdown of spring sports not only ended the Maryland Women’s Lacrosse Team’s pursuit of a 12th-straight Final Four, but it may also affect the Terps in their pursuit of 2022 and 2023 championships.
The 2020 recruiting class is already signed and on their way to College Park this summer, and according to Inside Lacrosse‘s recruiting database eight “commitments” are headed to the school for next year (players can start signing National Letters of intent by mid-November).
But the groundwork for the following classes is still being established and faces multiple obstacles.
Successful recruiting is a combination of evaluating players correctly and then developing relationships with those players.
This year Maryland coach Cathy Reese and her staff have to do both while being limited by the coronavirus pandemic: There are no high school lacrosse games to evaluate and scout, and in-person contact with recruits is also not an option at this time.
“This is going to be an interesting summer as we prepare to watch the recruiting class,” Reese said.
“Without the spring season, there’s no lacrosse to watch. No high school season. There’s no progress to be made. No chance for coaches to work with players.”
While the spring high school season is a natural showcase, the summer is where the best lacrosse players gather for camps and tournaments — until this year.
“For us in lacrosse there’s a lot of summer play, a lot of summer tournaments where, as college coaches, we get to get out and watch players from all over the country play,” Reese said.
“At this point so far, all of our camps at Maryland have been canceled for the summer, so we’re not hosting anything.”
Reese still hopes there will be evaluation opportunities as the spring turns into summer.
“There’s so much that’s not known yet. We don’t know yet what’s going to happen with these tournaments,” Reese said.
“Everyone’s trying to scramble and find alternate dates.”
Still, the mother of four recognizes that as the nation deals with a pandemic, there are bigger concerns than recruiting logistics.
“We’re all kind of just in this holding pattern,” Reese said.
“Just waiting and seeing what happens and what the guidelines that come down from the president, the local state governments and the CDC.”
So while athletes and fans wait and wonder when or if sports will return and when stadiums and arenas will open again, the calendar still moves on.
And as the calendar moves, so does optimism — even if things don’t return to what they were immediately.
“We’re allowed to talk to kids who become juniors on Sept. 1,” Reese said.
“Hopefully at some point in the summer, we’ll all be able to get out and watch lacrosse and just kind of keep checking on kids who — yeah we’ve got our eye on some — but you know there’s a lot of people out there and a lot of lacrosse players who we would have had a chance to see this spring and summer.”
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