They have the most dominant record in the history of women’s lacrosse with ten national championships to their name and more NCAA tournament victories than any other program. And yet remarkably, since 2001, the most storied program in all of women’s lacrosse had been in a national championship drought. A Final Four appearance in 2009 was as close as they had come to bringing the national championship trophy back to College Park. Instead, a new power had emerged…Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse had won the last five consecutive national championships.
This year, the Terps began their season with a fresh approach. After hearing Icebox Athlete President Spencer Wood speak on “clutch poise and focus” at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association National Convention in Rhode Island, Head Coach Cathy Reese invited Wood to work with the team throughout the season to work on their mental toughness, big game mental preparation and poise.
Spencer Wood commented: “I was delighted to receive the invite from Cathy and assistant coaches Quinn, Brian and Kennis, to work with the Terps. They had fallen short the previous year in the NCAA Semi’s by not playing to their full potential and failing to rise to the occasion…a mistake they did not want to repeat this year. Working with the team was an absolute pleasure because they were so hungry for success, had great chemistry and followed through to practice and work on every toughness trait, skill and concept we had discussed.”
Wood worked with the Terps during the pre-season and before critical games during the season and post-season, including directly before the elite 8 game against the University of Pennsylvania, the semi-final game against Syracuse, and again just hours before the national championship game against five time defending national champions Northwestern.
Wood continued: “I believe you do not have to be perfect to play to your potential, because great athletes aren’t great because they are perfect, they are great because they often have the perfect reaction to their mistakes. The early part of the game was a perfect example of this. Dip (Brittany Dipper – the goalie) was playing with the sun directly in her eyes and had a tough time locating the ball as the Terps went 6-0 down, yet she maintained her poise and focus and had a spectacular second half. The defense also tightened up, the offensive found some momentum and the entire team displayed as much poise, grit and confidence under pressure as I have seen in any team I have worked with this year. And now they are national champions. I am so very happy for this team.”
Congratulations to the Maryland Terps’ Women’s Lacrosse Team from everyone at Icebox!
“This mental toughness training was very important for our team and helped us win a national championship. Spencer worked with the team on things like poise, confidence and mistake management, all things that we needed and used during our championship journey. Working on and perfecting your mental skills are just as important as working on your fundamentals and lacrosse skills. We worked on both every day and the results speak for themselves.”
Cathy Reese Head Coach
“The mental game is just as, if not more, important than the physical game. Our work with Spencer is a direct reflection of that. He had an immediate impact with skills and practices we could work on everyday and they absolutely had a hand in the end result of our season. We definitely had the talent, but after working on mistake management and clutch performance, we were much harder to stop! It was so important for our girls to learn not only that they didn’t have to be perfect, but how to react when they weren’t. The tools Spencer taught us aren’t just bandaids for a problem, but a skills set that help the girls to keep on succeeding.”
Quinn Carney Assistant Coach