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Baltimore Native Courtney Martinez Connor Set For Next Challenge As Arizona State's First Women's Lacrosse Coach
Building a program isn't a new project for Courtney Martinez Connor, but as the first women's lacrosse coach in Arizona State history, the Baltimore native faces a unique challenge.
Martinez Connor was hired Nov. 5 to construct the new Sun Devils program -- which begins play in the spring of 2018 -- and she will draw on her experiences at Mount St. Mary's and UMBC to get Arizona State on the fast track.
"It was a fairly fast process," Martinez Connor said, "and I think that shows ASU's commitment to wanting to start things off in the right direction. ... I was lucky that they reached out to me, because I always envisioned getting back into coaching. But if I was going to get back into coaching ... it had to be at the right place."
Martinez Connor and the Sun Devils appear to be quite the match, as the five-time national champion player at Maryland from 1997-2001 brings a wealth of success and knowledge from the country's lacrosse hotbed.
The 37-year-old presided over the Mount from 2001-05, immediately after her standout collegiate career for the Terps, and led the school to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances during her final two seasons. She parlayed her run as Mount St. Mary's all-time winningest coach into a four-year stint with the Golden Retrievers, during which she led the program to its first America East conference title in 2006.
"To see what it was like winning at a place like Mount St. Mary's, then going to UMBC and seeing how things were done a little bit different, I think each college had their positives and negatives," Martinez Connor said. "So I think both of those stops really helped prepare me for the position I am in now."
Martinez Connor compiled a 73-67 combined mark during her time at Mount St. Mary's and UMBC. After UMBC did not renew her contract in 2010, however, Martinez Connor took a hiatus from coaching and spent several years working as an analyst for Big Ten Network, ESPN and Inside Lacrosse.
It wasn't until Martinez Connor mentored the St. Paul's School for Girls' varsity program in 2014 that she realized just how much she missed coaching. From that point, she knew a return to the collegiate ranks was inevitable.
Click here to read the full story.
Q&A: Broad Run Lacrosse Attacker Kyle Brickerd
Coming into the Broad Run boys' lacrosse program as a freshman in 2013-14, Kyle Brickerd had a lot of hype and expectations to fulfill.
Before he even played a minute in high school, Brickerd, an attacker, gave his commitment to the University of Maryland coaching staff, spurning offers from perennial powers Johns Hopkins and Syracuse, among others. The added attention didn't seem to faze the 6-foot-2, 191-pounder, however, as he hit the ground running almost immediately for the Spartans.
Last season, Brickerd earned numerous accolades and honors after leading the Ashburn, Va., school in scoring with 57 goals and 27 assists en route to the team's 11-6 finish. He earned Virginia High School League Group 5A first-team recognition and took part in the Under Armour All-American Game as part of the Washington, D.C., boys' underclass team.
Individual numbers aside, Brickerd wasn't completely satisfied with how Broad Run's season ended after the team lost to Stone Bridge, 12-6, in the Conference 14 boys' lacrosse championship game. In 2016, the reigning conference Offensive Player of the Year is making it his focus to lead Broad Run past the Bulldogs and what he hopes culminates with an appearance in the VHSL 5A lacrosse state championship.
Brickerd, who stars for the Spartans' football team at quarterback during the fall, spoke with PressBox about the improvements he's made this offseason and the hopes for his junior campaign.
PressBox: How did you first get involved playing lacrosse?
Kyle Brickerd: I got into lacrosse when I was going into fourth grade. The reason I did was because my neighbor played it, so I quit soccer. I started to become really good at it, and my club coach started to tell me about playing college lacrosse.
PB: You had a strong season in 2015, scoring 57 goals and tallying 27 assists. What were some of the reasons for your success, and how did everything come together the way it did?
KB: My sophomore season was a big one for me due to my teammates and coaches. I worked a lot in the offseason on my shot and passing. I had good players all around me, which helped me make plays.
PB: As you continue preparing for the upcoming season, what have you been working on?
KB: I've been working on turning the corner and my feeding skills. I hurt my leg during the football season, so that's kind of put my offseason work on hold. But I plan to come back strong this year.
PB: Speaking of the 2016 season, how do you think the team stacks up compared to last season's squad?
KB: This year's team is going to be really dominant. We lost our goalie, but we have another one coming in who is just as good. Also, we have a lot of returning players at each position, which is really positive for us.
PB: What's one thing you haven't accomplished at Broad Run that would you would like to before graduating in 2017?
KB: One thing I haven't accomplished is winning a conference championship in lacrosse. We've played Stone Bridge the last two years in the playoffs, and we lost both times. I feel like if we won, it'd be huge for our program and me. After losing two years in a row and finally winning, it would show a lot of improvement for our team.
For more from Brickerd, including his decision to commit to Maryland and his experience at the Under Armour All-American Game, check out the full interview here.
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