Terrapins women’s lacrosse midfielder Taylor Cummings said her senior season would be “one last ride.” That ride got off to a fast start Sunday.
The Terps star posted four goals, two assists, four ground balls and a career-high five caused turnovers in the No. 1 Terps’ 19-7 season-opening win over William & Mary. The performance earned her a spot on the Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week ballot.
But Sunday wasn’t just about Cummings’ personal achievements. She made a point to make sure the rookies got involved early, and they reaped the benefits.
“The thing I’m going to work on is to try and include the freshmen,” Cummings said. “I want to make them feel as much a part of the team as I want them to feel.”
In addition to the freshmen, five returning players made their first career starts against the Tribe. Plus, rookie defender Julia Braig and midfielder Caroline Steele cracked the starting lineup in their first career games.
Less than seven minutes into the game, Cummings found Steele for a score. It was one of the freshman’s two goals. In the second half, Kesley Cummings, Taylor’s younger sister, scored her first career goal.
“We saw everyone contribute,” coach Cathy Reese said. “It wasn’t just one person doing all the work. There were obviously some hiccups, but everyone played tough.”
To complement the multiple freshmen who received playing time against the Tribe, the Terps bench was effective. Junior midfielder Theo Kwas tallied a pair of goals in the final six minutes and freshman midfielder Jen Giles added a goal.
“It was a great win for everyone coming in,” attacker Megan Whittle said. “We all played fast and played smart. We have to take the opportunities when we have them but also make sure we can settle down and not get too ahead of ourselves.”
Taylor Cummings didn’t score for the first time until there were just more than eight minutes remaining in the first period. While integrating new faces into the lineup for the first time, Reese was pleased to see players around Cummings also have success.
“She’s fighting all over the field,” Reese said. “She’s defending hard and fighting for ground balls. Taylor is obviously crucial to our team’s success.”
Steele, a member of the Terps’ No. 2 recruiting class, opposed Cummings when Severn matched up with Cummings’ alma mater, McDonogh. She’s not surprised Cummings set a new career mark in the season opener.
“I’ve looked up to her the last three years, just watching her,” Steele said. “She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with, so seeing she [set a] career high in caused turnovers doesn’t surprise me at all.”
The Terps will face 10 ranked teams before May, starting with a rematch of the 2015 national championship against North Carolina in two weeks. Reese acknowledged she will turn to Cummings to lead the squad. But Sunday, she was pleased with the way the team got new faces involved early.
“It wasn’t even just freshmen, it was a lot of returners who don’t have a lot of game experience,” Reese said. “Everyone contributed, and that was really great to see.”