September 24, 2010

This article appears in the September issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.


Fab Five: LM's Freshmen to Watch

by Joel Censer | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Censer Archive

Here are five freshmen to watch in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse college ranks during fall ball and in 2011.

KAITLYN BROSCO

Pos.: M
College: Notre Dame
High School: Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.)

Why You Should Know Her: A tour de force in Suffolk County prep ball since making the SWR varsity squad in the eighth grade, Brosco was a staple for a Wildcat team that has won four straight New York Class C state championships. During that time, the 5’2” midfielder racked up four all-county awards, three US Lacrosse All-America awards and became the second all-time scorer in school history with 320 points. Brosco also put her goal-scoring prowess on full display at the Champion High School Showcase and the Under Armour All-America Classic, racking up six goals and MVP honors in the latter.

Notre Dame Head Coach Tracy Coyne Says: “Kaitlyn’s just an amazing competitor. When you watch her play, she just naturally catches your eye. She’ll come up with a key ground ball, a key draw control or score a big goal. She’s going to find a spot.”

Bottom Line: Don’t let her diminutive stature fool you. Brosco’s a lethal finisher who is as effective off the dodge as she is off the ball. This is good news for a Notre Dame squad that in 2010, a year after graduating offensive star Jillian Byers, often struggled to generate offense. Expect Brosco to contribute immediately to a talented Irish midfield that returns almost everyone from last year — most notably senior veterans Shaylyn Blaney and Kailene Abt and promising sophomore Jenny Granger.

BROOKE GRIFFIN

Pos.: M
College: Maryland
High School: South River (Md.)

Why You Should Know Her: Whether she was averaging nine points a game during the Maryland state playoffs (including a six-goal, two-assist game to lead South River past C. Milton Wright in the Maryland 4A-3A state final) or finishing a crease feed by going behind her back in the Under Armour All-America Classic, no prep player turned more heads than Griffin this past season. For her efforts, the electric midfielder was named a US Lacrosse All-American, Under Armour All-American, The Washington Post’s Player of the Year and The Baltimore Sun’s Player of the Year.

Maryland Head Coach Cathy Reese Says: “I think Brooke’s going to be an impact player from the start. She’s a great teammate, a great leader and really supportive. She stands out because she works so hard on the field. She’s hustling, giving her all every time she competes.”

Bottom Line: Dominant midfield play fueled Maryland’s 2010 national championship run, giving the school its first title since Jen Adams donned the Terrapin red nearly a decade ago. And while losing Tewaaraton winner Caitlyn McFadden to graduation certainly hurts, the Terps still have a stable full of dynamic and skilled midfielders including reigning ACC Rookie of the Year Katie Schwarzman, native Brit Laura Merrifield and Californian Brandi Jones. Still, it’s hard to imagine Griffin kept on ice for her first year or two. The Edgewater, Md., native’s end-to-end athleticism, field vision, stick fakes and ability to create her own shot make her a natural fit for a Terrapin offense which values ball movement, unselfishness and creativity.

MOLLY QUIRKE

Pos.: M
College: Duke
High School: New Trier (Ill.)

Why You Should Know Her: Chicago may not have the same rich lacrosse history as Baltimore or Long Island, but that doesn’t mean there’s no talent in the Windy City. Buoyed by the success of the Northwestern women’s team and competitive club teams like Wildcat Elite, the city has begun producing a number of Division I players, the best of whom may be Quirke, a prodigious athlete who is as good on the defensive end as she is at finding an open teammate in settled offense. This past season, the two-time US Lacrosse All-American and Under Armour All-American led the Trevians to the state final.

Duke Head Coach Kerstin Kimel Says: “Molly’s a well-rounded two-way midfielder who is great between the 30s, on defense, in transition and at moving the ball on offense. She’s so consistent from one end to the other. She’s got as good an opportunity as any to contribute.”

Bottom Line: The Blue Devils return a whole host of talented midfielders including All-America candidate Sarah Bullard and senior Emma Hamm, who missed all of last season while recovering from an injury. But with a couple middies potentially moving down low to shore up an inexperienced defense, expect Quirke to get thrown into the fire sooner rather than later. And while the ACC certainly isn’t the Central Suburban League, Quirke’s athleticism (she was third-team all-state as a shooting guard in basketball) could give the methodical Blue Devils a different look in the middle of the field.

BRE HUDGINS

Pos.: M
College: Brown
High School: West Genesee (N.Y.)

Why You Should Know Her: An explosive athlete with a knack for getting to the goal, Hudgins was the best high school player in upstate New York in 2010. Despite missing four games with an injury, the senior captain registered 32 goals and 13 dimes all while leading the Wildcats to an 18-2 record (including three wins against archrival Fayetteville-Manlius) and another Section 3 title. Hudgins finished her career as a two-time US Lacrosse All-American, an Under Armour All American and the 2010 Central New York Player of the Year, and she had a very strong performance at the Champion High School Showcase.

Brown Head Coach Keely McDonald Says: “Bre’s a strong athletic kid who was really relied on in clutch situations in high school. She’s very explosive. Definitely needs to be around the cage. Her meshing with our returning scorers could be really exciting.”

Bottom Line: For Hudgins, playing for a Brown squad that went 7-8 and lost to Penn, Princeton and Duke by double digits won’t be the same experience as wearing West Genny’s storied navy blue, white and gold. But the Bears have been steadily improving, and Hudgins, who should contribute immediately, represents a serious coup for the program. If she can transition quickly to the college game and mesh with Brown’s returning offensive talent — specifically junior attacker Kaela McGilloway and senior midfielder Paris Waterman — watch for the Bears to be a potential spoiler in the Ivy League.

HANNAH FRANKLIN

Pos.: A/M
College:
Georgetown
High School:
McDonogh (Md.)

Why You Should Know Her: The most consistent offensive threat for a dominant 20-0 McDonogh squad, Franklin scored 51 goals and dished out 17 assists for the IAAM champion Eagles this year. Her most notable game came against D.C.-area power Good Counsel, where Franklin led the 20-9 trashing by exploding for six goals and an assist. Franklin was named first-team All-IAAM, an Under Armour All American, and first-team All-Metro by The Baltimore Sun.

Georgetown Head Coach Ricky Fried Says: “Hannah has a great combination of athleticism and intelligence, works well without the ball and gets everyone involved. Coming in, I expect her to be on one of the first two midfields. It’s a pretty big jump though.”

Bottom Line: Last year, Georgetown got off to a sluggish start, going 3-5 in their first eight games with losses to Northwestern, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Princeton. The Hoyas eventually righted the ship, rattling off 10 straight wins (including a 13-11 victory against Syracuse in the Big East Championship) before falling to the Orange in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. But having graduated Molly Ford and Ashby Kaestner — their top two scorers from last year — the Hoyas will need some gifted youths to step up. Enter Franklin, who, if she can successfully transition from attack to midfield and adapt to the speed of the college game, has the skills, offensive polish, IQ and mental fortitude to immediately bolster a Hoya squad trying to claw its way back into the nation’s elite.


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