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Archive for June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017 — Stepping into the limelight

It wasn’t too long ago when Zoe Stukenberg was more than content to play the supporting role for the Maryland women’s lacrosse team. She deferred to her teammates, letting them string a few goals together before getting one for herself. Indeed, if you look at the run of play for the last three years, it was usually one of Stukenberg’s goals that would make opposing coaches call a timeout.

But this past lacrosse season, Stukenberg was handed the mantle of leader. She still wasn’t the most comfortable in leading the Terps’ attack, as she did not wind up being the team’s leader in goals, assists, or combined goals and assists. However, Zoe Stukenberg did all the little things right. She won groundballs in the midfield, especially as freshman Kali Hartshorn expertly spread the draws into places where only her teammates could get them.

Your Founder first met Stukenberg five years ago at the Maryland-New York Challenge. The tournament fell on a weekend, and her Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) team had the weekend off, but Stukenberg came to watch some of her future college rivals and future teammates during the two days of competition.

Even back then, she was relentlessly positive, enjoying the game from the sideline and greeting everyone in the pressbox with a smile.

She kept that smile and positivity after matriculating to College Park, greeting young fans after every game and signing posters and shirts until everyone was satisfied.

That smile was once again on display last week as Zoe Stukenberg picked up the Tewaaraton Award emblematic of the finest female collegiate lacrosse player in the United States.

That the award went to a member of Maryland Terrapins should come as little surprise; a member of that stalwart varsity program has won the award for six straight seasons, and seven of the last eight.

But Stukenberg’s excellence is quiet and reserved, jumping into a leadership role when warranted. Such was the case in the NCAA final when she took the draws at the start of the second half in relief of freshman Kali Hartshorn. The result: a five-goal run that turned a 5-5 nailbiter into a 10-5 rout.

It was a quiet contribution and a winning one.

And very appropriate.