Baltimore’s Belle Martire thriving in sweetened role for William & Mary | COLLEGE LACROSSE NOTES

After Belle Martire and the William & Mary women’s lacrosse team tangle with No. 18 Towson on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium, the junior attacker from Baltimore is hoping to see her parents, one of her two younger brothers (the other is at college), her grandparents and some uncles and aunts. She is particularly keen on meeting her grandmother for one of her signature baked goods: a strawberry pie.

“It’s my favorite that she makes,” Martire said with a laugh. “Whenever somebody would traditionally think of a pie, immediately you go for apple or pecan. No one ever thinks of strawberry, and it’s so special. There’s a lot of strawberries and whipped cream, and the crust is what makes it extremely special. … It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t looking forward to it.”

Martire has provided the sweetness this spring. Although the Tribe (3-5, 0-1 Colonial Athletic Association) have dropped two straight games, Martire leads the team in goals (29), free-position goals (15), free-position chances (17), assists (nine), points (38) and draw controls (36).

Martire has already set a career high in draw controls and is on pace to establish personal bests in assists, points and ground balls. Martire credited coach Colleen Dawson, who succeeded Hillary Fratzke after the 2019 season, with expanding her repertoire as a player.

“They put a lot of pressure on Belle in terms of getting the ball and driving hard to the cage, which she obviously is very capable of doing,” Dawson said of Martire, who is tied for 20th in program history with 102 career goals. “But we wanted her to be a well-rounded player kind of doing everything. I think this year has really shown that she’s been able to do that. She has goals, she has assists, she has draw controls, she has ground balls, she has caused turnovers. I think we’ve really pushed her and rode her pretty hard last year to get her to be that complete player, and she’s risen to that occasion.”

Martire, who graduated from The Kinkaid School in Houston, said she has never given much weight to her label as a goal scorer.

“I focus on my first label of being a teammate and a member of William & Mary lacrosse,” she said. “It’s nice to be a goal scorer, but at the end of the day, I don’t have Martire on the back. I have William & Mary. I don’t want to be known just as a goal scorer. I want to be a playmaker, a threat on the draw, and a threat everywhere on the field. So I’ve been trying to grow my repertoire this season as a better teammate, leader and lacrosse player.”

Johns Hopkins men tinkering on offense

The decision to not start junior attackman Joey Epstein for the first time this season and go with senior Luke Shilling in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to Michigan was just the latest change the Blue Jays (2-5, 2-5 Big Ten) have made on offense.

In the past two games, graduate student Cole Williams (Loyola Blakefield) has started at his familiar position on attack after lining up with the first midfield in the first five games. Williams has replaced freshman Brendan Grimes (Boys’ Latin), who has been shifted to the second midfield. And junior Garrett Degnon has joined senior Jack Keogh and sophomore Jacob Angelus in the first midfield in an attempt to add more firepower to a unit that ranks 38th in the country in scoring (10.3 goals per game).

“We’re trying to find the right combo,” coach Peter Milliman said. “We’re still trying to mix things up, we’re trying to find guys that are playing consistently well and doing the right things and making good decisions, guys that are not costing us opportunities, guys that are helping us. It’s a pretty simple formula.”

One more go for two Maryland women’s starters

Terps coach Cathy Reese announced Wednesday morning that two senior starters in midfielder Grace Griffin and defender Tori Barretta will return for the 2022 season, using an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in response to the coronavirus pandemic canceling spring sports a year ago.

Griffin, a Sykesville resident and Liberty graduate, entered Thursday’s game against Rutgers leading No. 11 Maryland (5-3, 5-3 Big Ten) in assists (11) and ranking second in points (26) and third in ground balls (11). Barretta ranks third in caused turnovers (seven) and sixth in ground balls (eight).

“I honestly thought it was an easy decision,” said Griffin, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in kinesiology and will pursue a second degree in sociology. “When everything happened with COVID, it kind of just put everything into perspective of how much it means to play when your season gets taken from you and how I don’t want it to end. So having another year to come back and make up for that lost time means a lot.”

Notes

>>While senior attackman Jared Bernhardt garnered much of the spotlight after the No. 2 Maryland men’s 17-10 thumping of Penn State on Saturday, senior attackman Logan Wisnauskas raised his career points total to 202, becoming the seventh player in program history to accumulate at least 200 points. The Sykesville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate has 123 goals to rank ninth in school history.

>>The UMBC men and women swept Goalkeeper of the Week awards in the America East. Senior Tommy Lingner made 11 saves, including three in the final 6:04, in Saturday’s 10-8 upset of then-No. 13 Vermont. He now has 310 career stops to move into ninth on the program’s all-time saves list. Senior Lexie Roberts, a Baldwin resident and Fallston graduate, stopped a season-high 15 shots in Saturday’s 16-11 win against UMass Lowell. She made the most saves by an America East goalie this spring.

>>And Retrievers freshman attacker Dymin Gerow was named the conference’s Rookie of the Week after totaling three goals and a career-best six draw controls.

>>TJ Haley, a Shady Side resident and freshman attackman, was named the Big East’s Freshman of the Week after accruing six assists in the No. 10 Georgetown men’s 20-7 romp at St. John’s on Saturday. Haley is the first player in Hoyas history to register at least six assists in three different games and leads the nation in total assists with 33.