Maryland women’s lacrosse had lofty expectations to live up to following a 2022 season where it allowed the second-fewest goals per game in the nation. Armed with a defense that brought back nearly every piece and added several key players, the Terps still failed to fit the billing early on.

They’ve progressively grown throughout the season, though, and defensive progress has been one of the brightest spots of the year for Maryland.

Through the peaks and valleys, Brianna Lamoureux has given the Terps much-needed consistency with her energy, outlook and reliability. Time and time again, Lamoureux has put herself in the right places at the right times to make the right plays.

“She is the most consistent player I’ve ever played with. She’s always so level-headed and ready to perform, she has such a calm presence,” goalie Emily Sterling said. “I think she’s so underrated and doesn’t get enough attention because she’s not the person making those crazy plays, but she really is the backbone of our defense.”

Sterling called Lamoureux one of the team’s best one-on-one defenders and before the season started, Princeton transfer and 2022 All-American defender Marge Donovan called Lamoureux’s one-on-one defense “insane.”

Lamoureux started to earn the recognition of those outside of Maryland this year as well, as the senior defender earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and was named an All-American honorable mention by USA Lacrosse Magazine.

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Even in a loaded defensive room, Lamoureux was just one of two Maryland defenders to earn All-Big Ten or All-American distinctions.

While her one-on-one defense catches eyes, Lamoureux’s dependability and coordination might be even more important — particularly with new faces in the mix — as she’s played an important part in helping improve the defense’s cohesiveness throughout the season.

“I think the big thing [for] me stepping up was just trying to be better [with how I] communicate for the team,” Lamoureux said. “As the games went on I’ve definitely felt more comfortable with my role.”

That’s what stood out to coach Cathy Reese, who knows she can count on Lamoureux to both hold her own with her matchup while also being aware and communicative with her teammates.

“Bri is our stability on the defensive end,” Reese said. “She knows what to do, she’s smart, she’s stepped up and communicates a lot more now than she did a couple of years ago as she’s grown into this role.”

Lamoureux’s success is even more impressive considering she wasn’t even a defender when she entered College Park. Many freshmen enter college as midfielders like she did, but the Long Island native had lots of success on the attacking side of the field, too, tallying 259 points in her high school career.

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Some of her offensive skills from being a two-way midfielder remain impactful, though. Reese cited that Lamoureux helped clearing the ball, a department the team has succeeded in, notching the third-highest clear percentage in the country.

She played just one game in her COVID-shortened freshman year at Maryland and came off the bench as a midfielder as a sophomore, primarily playing on the defensive end.

As a junior, Lamoureux made the switch to defender and became a full-time starter for the Terps before taking another jump this year. She will use her extra year of COVID-19 eligibility to return to College Park for a fifth season.

Lamoureux’s well-rounded game has proved to be a valuable asset for Maryland’s defense. As the Terps enter the postseason, she feels the upward trajectory of the unit will continue.

“I think that us as a defensive unit coming together, trusting each other, [collectively] following the game plan definitely helped us [get] to where we are now,” Lamoureux said. “We’re all very confident in ourselves and each other as a defense and I definitely think we’re gonna get even better going into tournament time.”