When the Towson women's lacrosse team played its first game in February, Ashleigh Rohrback wasn't sure she would get back on the field at all this season.
The Liberty graduate, who had redshirted her sophomore year after ankle surgery, couldn't shake the lingering effects of a concussion suffered during fall ball. She also had to wear a neck brace for a while to help tighten strained ligaments, but it was the concussion that worried her the most.
"I had never had a concussion before, so I never knew how it was going to go," Rohrback said. "You hear it usually takes a week, but after a week, I still had pretty bad symptoms. It really came to the point where I was scared I wasn't going to be able to play with my class. I was so close with them. I had another year, but they're seniors and they wouldn't be coming back. But I ended up only missing six games."
Looking back, Rohrback said, that seems like a lot of games, but it wasn't enough to keep her from becoming the Tigers' leading scorer heading into Friday's first-round NCAA tournament game against No. 9 Stony Brook at Maryland. Playing 12 games, she led the Tigers (10-8) with 49 points and 30 assists.
And they certainly needed her.
With last year's leading scorer, Andi Raymond, sidelined for the season and key midfielder Kelly Custer suffering a season-ending knee injury after eight games, the Tigers might not have won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and earned their automatic bid to the NCAA tournament without Rorhback's return.
In the CAA final, a 9-4 win over Hofstra, Rohrback had a first-half goal and assisted on the last four goals of the game. She also had three assists in an 8-7 semifinal win over Drexel.
"I think I bring that calmness to our settled attack that helps us in working together and doing our thing to win," Rohrback said. "The young girls are really talented, but it's hard to have them come in and take on that big role. Me having last year's experience and coming in and knowing the game a little more helps us have that composure on attack."
Greyhounds looking for better draw in NCAAs
If there's one stat Loyola would like to improve upon heading into its NCAA first-round, it's draw controls.
The No. 16 Greyhounds have been outdrawn in most games this season and have won just 10 more than their opponents, so they certainly would like to boost that differential in Friday's first-round game against High Point at North Carolina.
Midfielder Taryn VanThof, who leads the team with 68 draw controls, said it's all about communication between the three players inside the restraining line — herself, Marlee Paton and Katrina Geiger.
In recent games, they've gotten better at working together to win early possessions, which is so critical to creating scoring opportunities.
"The draw is key because possession is key," VanThof said. "If you're not coming up with the draw, you have to work that much harder to get possession. We've struggle a little bit more this year with getting the ball out of the circle. We've had some rough patches, but we've pulled through and we're getting better."
In their last game, a 16-14 loss to Georgetown in the Big East semifinal, the Greyhounds won 17 of 32 draws, including 12 of 19 in the second half. VanThof won eight in the game.