Fifth in a series of blog entries on’s quarter-century of covering lacrosse.

Inasmuch as the world of Division I women’s lacrosse has seen great players on a number of different teams in different roles, there has always been one constant: the center midfielder for the University of Maryland. There has been an unbroken line of great draw-takers who have been in the center circle for the Terps the last 30 years, from Kelly Amonte to Quinn Carney to Acacia Walker to Dana Dobbie to Erin Collins and Katie Schwartzmann to Karri Ellen Johnson to Taylor Cummings to Zoe Stukenberg to Kali Hartshorn to Lizzie Colson to Shaylan Ahearn.

That’s a lot of current and/or future Hall-of-Famers in that list.

One of these midfielders was memorable above and beyond her role as draw-taker. For me, Taylor Cummings is the greatest all-around midfield player I have ever seen at the college level. She also authored the first definitive “Tewaaraton Moment,” a play which would cement her being awarded the 2015 award for being the best college lacrosse player.

The scene: Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md. The game was a Division I semifinal against a good Syracuse side. While Maryland was on the front foot to start the game, Syracuse was mounting a comeback that was interrupted by a TV timeout. And, as it turns out, Cummings.

She took the next draw after the media timeout against SU’s Kailah Kempney. She popped the ball into the air, leapt, caught the ball, and, like a knight on a horse, galloped towards the goal. Her goal just eight seconds after the break wrested the momentum away from Syracuse, allowing the Terps to pull away for the win.

But was Cummings the best player of all time? I’m still of the opinion that the first Tewaaraton Trophy winner, Maryland’s Jen Adams, was the finest women’s lacrosse player to ever walk the face of the earth. She authored a number of scoring records and was the talismanic forward who would get the telling goal for Maryland during her four years in College Park. She didn’t do anything fancy; she just got the job done without flash, flair, or self-aggrandizement.

One recent player who has created a body of work worthy of being considered as being the best-ever player has to be Charlotte North. The former Boston College and Duke attacker gained a following during and after the COVID-19 pandemic through her social media videos. And she had the opportunity and green light to use her considerable skills in games.

In terms of goaltending, my favorites over the last 35 years are players who are unconventional.

My first impression from 1989 of how a goalie should play came from watching Gina Carey, who started her college career playing field hockey at Ohio State, but became a game-changer as a goalie at Trenton State College. Offensive teams playing against the Lions in those years found Carey to be more like a spider than a human: she would use her goalie stick to smartly intercept loose passes around the crease, making some passing attacks have to think twice.

There have been few people who played defense like her. At least until Devon Wills came along. The former Dartmouth star and U.S. women’s national team player thought nothing of double-teaming the ball whenever a defense took the ball into the office. You might not think it would be terribly effective leaving the goal cage unattended, but the tactic was effective.

Also using that tactic on the national-team level was Gussie Johns, who played at USC after prepping at Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.). While a lot of eyes and publicity were fixed on the offensive end of the field while Carly Reed and Besser Dyson were part of one of the best partnerships ever seen on the attack end, Johns was learning from playing against that attack in order to make the U.S. team.

The excellence of girls’ and women’s lacrosse has also begun to span the nation in the last 10 years, as non-traditional areas like Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Georgia have yielded some amazing players. One of the best was Caitlyn Wurzburger. She authored an astounding resume at Delray American Heritage (Fla.), playing varsity for six years (allowable under Florida rules), as well as accounting for 1,027 scoring plays, as either the finisher or provider of the final pass.

Wurzburger, while rewriting the record book, was also responsible for the rewriting of a section of the NCAA rulebook. As a recruit, she received more than her share of attention when she committed to Syracuse in 2016 as an eighth-graderr. She also received equal attention when she de-committed from Syracuse to attend North Carolina two years later. The current recruiting rules limiting contact from coaches and when a formal commitment can be declared came in large part because of this episode.

Wurzburger came into her college career with a lot of expectations. She was the leading scorer for the United States U-19 national team at the 2019 World Cup. In videos and in all-star games, she showed the ability to find a teammate by hitting a spot the size of a milk carton from 40 yards. She also helped the UNC team win the national championship her freshman season.

There are other players who showed extremely well when given the chance to play in the free-flowing professional game, whether it was for the original United Women’s Lacrosse, the competing Professional Women’s Lacrosse League, or the current iteration, Athletes Unlimited.

Cummings, of course, shone brilliantly the first year of Athletes Unlimited, winning the individual award for the league. But the last couple of years, the story of AU has surrounded two players: attacker Sam Apuzzo and goalie Taylor Moreno. The last two years, Moreno has outpointed Apuzzo by less than 20 points, necessitating a recount at one point in 2022.

But I also saw former Northwestern star Kara Mupo, James Madison graduate Elena Romsburg, and Cummings play extremely well in UWLX play. But for me, one of the best players in the post-graduate scene was Dana Dobbie. She authored several highlight-reel type plays when she played in the UWLX and continued them. She scored a number of creative and imaginative goals not only for her pro teams, but for the Canadian national team. In 2022, Team Canada won silver in the World Lacrosse World Cup of 2022, as well as the gold medal in the 2022 World Games in Alabama.


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