Loyola Women On Rebound With Adams Providing Spark
By Krystina Lucido
In the last several years, not much went right for the Loyola women's lacrosse program. Plagued with injuries, league changes and the hard-hitting loss of award-winning coach Diane Geppi-Aikens to cancer, the team had not had a winning season since 2004.
|Coach Jen Adams is already making her mark at Loyola.
The athletic department thought long and hard about what it would take to re-establish the Greyhounds as contenders in the lacrosse world while instilling confidence in downtrodden players.
Jen Adams came to mind.
"We have a great tradition of women's lacrosse at Loyola," associate athletic director Teddi Burns said. "We felt, in order for the lacrosse world to take us seriously, we needed to go out and find somebody who was going to be a dynamic person and somebody who, in the lacrosse world, would mean that we are serious about becoming competitive nationally.
"When you look around, Jen Adams is arguably one of the best players to ever play the game. We thought if we could get her, people would start taking us seriously again as a program."
There was a problem, however: Adams was happy serving as associate head coach for Cathy Reese at Maryland. Burns persisted, and after one visit to the Loyola campus Adams knew she was in the right place.
"I stepped on campus and just got a great feeling about the school and about the environment that surrounds the athletic department," Adams said. "I also had an opportunity to meet a bunch of the girls, which is really what sealed the deal for me. Their excitement, their enthusiasm, their want for a new coach -- just the areas that I knew I could help them out with. I was very excited to come on board and take that next step in my career."
Adams started playing lacrosse in Brighton, South Australia, where she grew up. She was recruited by Maryland after Terrapins coaches saw her play for the Australian World Cup team in Philadelphia. She was 15 at the time.
A few years later, she joined the team at College Park and set every scoring record for the Terps, numbers that still stand in her name. She led Maryland to four straight national championships and won the Tewaaraton Trophy her senior season.
"I always felt so fortunate because I was a part of this fantastic team and this great group of coaches," said Adams, the leading scorer in NCAA history. "I walked into a situation where every day my teammates made me look so good. … I always worked very hard individually on the outside, but it's being part of those teams that enabled me to get a lot of those individual records. I owe a lot to my teammates and my coaching staff at Maryland."
Adams' background on the field has only helped in her coaching endeavors. In fact, training with the players recently to prepare for the Australian World Cup in June has given Adams a different perspective and allowed her to relate more with players.
"It's giving me a side of coaching I didn't necessarily get to see at Maryland," Adams said. "Being in the weight room, working out with them, I think I have a new appreciation for their side of things. ... Being able to demonstrate, get out on the field and grab a stick and say this is what it should look like, as opposed to trying to just talk them through it."
Not only does Adams bring a unique perspective to the game from her time in Australia, she tries to instill in her players more than just skill and stick work.
"I think she's instilled a sense of confidence in the girls," Burns said. "We've had a rough couple of years, so it's exciting for them. They are learning new things, they are confident in their abilities and they are coming together as a team. She's patient with them and approaching things in a different way. The team is excited about the future again."
"I want us to learn and take something away from every game that we play, be it a win or a loss," Adams said. "Developing really good team chemistry is important to me and for the girls to enjoy coming out every day and being a part of Loyola lacrosse and having pride in that. That's something that's really important to me and doesn't always get reflected in wins and losses."
With a 3-1 record to start the regular season and already making it onto Inside Lacrosse's national ranking for the first time since 2005, the team is off to a good start.
Adams must be doing something right.
Issue 135: March 2009