Brooke Griffin has always played sports year-round. In addition to playing lacrosse, she starred in field hockey and swimming at Edgewater’s South River High School, earning All-County honors six times over two different sports in her four years there.
So when the midfielder tore her ACL in the fall before her freshman campaign with the Terrapins women’s lacrosse team in 2011, Griffin didn’t know what to do with herself. Forced to spend what would have been her rookie season on the sideline, she developed a new perspective.
“I learned that at any time, it could be taken away from you,” said Griffin, whose Terps will host No. 9 Penn State tomorrow. “You just got to work hard every minute.”
So when the redshirt sophomore netted her second hat trick of the 2013 campaign in a 17-10 win over UMBC on Tuesday, it served as a reminder of just how far Griffin has come.
Six games into the No. 1 Terps’ undefeated season, Griffin has served as one of the team’s most reliable scoring threats. Her 19 points rank No. 3 on the squad, her eight assists are tied for first among Terps midfielders and her .611 shooting percentage ranks third among players who have taken at least 15 shots.
After her first three-score game against Duke on Feb. 24, Griffin was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week. On Tuesday against the Retrievers, she did it again.
“She’s an excellent shooter,” coach Cathy Reese said. “She’s got good field sense, can read the plays, can see what’s going on. Because of that, she puts herself in the right place at the right time.”
Two of Griffin’s tallies on Tuesday came by way of Alex Aust. The attacker, whose seven assists against the Retrievers set a program record, has developed a unique bond with Griffin on the field.
The duo has worked together to score eight goals this year. Aust has found Griffin at least once in each of the Terps’ past four contests, and on the year, she has helped Griffin find the net for five of her 11 tallies.
“She contributes all over the field,” Aust said. “She hasn’t missed a beat. I can’t even imagine the team without her.”
Griffin’s success is nothing new for the Terps, as her 40 goals last season ranked No. 4 on the team. Still, the midfielder hasn’t taken her journey for granted.
After all, two years ago, she was forced to watch her teammates from the bench. After suffering the debilitating injury, Griffin wondered whether she would ever step on a collegiate lacrosse field.
“You think about that in the back of your head,” Griffin said. “But I have my coaches, everyone on this team. It was easy to come back.”
Griffin joins Katie Schwarzmann, Kelly McPartland and Taylor Cummings on a Terps midfield that has helped lead the team to an undefeated start to the season.
Schwarzmann and McPartland are members of the U.S. national team, and Cummings’ team-leading 30 draw controls have put her among the nation’s elite rookies. Griffin, cognizant of how lucky she is to be on the field, fits right in.
“She just loves to play,” Reese said. “She’s a competitor … just keeps getting better.”
Reese is happy the midfielder has returned to full strength. If anything, the injury has helped Griffin evolve into a more complete player, something she’ll hope to show off again tomorrow when the Terps (6-0) play the Nittany Lions (4-1).
“She wants to be out there,” Reese said. “With her being sidelined for a year, she’s learned a lot. It’s helped her in her overall game sense.”