Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Female Athlete of the Year: Molly Ford

Sometimes, if you work hard enough and you want it bad enough, you can exceed even your own expectations.

That is certainly the case for junior attack Molly Ford of the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team – The Hoya’s selection for Female Athlete of the Year.

Entering the 2009 season, the Reisterstown, Md., native was expected to be one of the Hoyas’ main offensive weapons after an impressive 2008 campaign in which she was second on the team in points, goals and assists. Little did she know, she was on her way to becoming a star on the national level.

“I did not see [the Tewaaraton Trophy nomination] coming,” Ford said of the award that is presented to the country’s top lacrosse player. “I was so honored by it and so happy about it. It was definitely one of my goals.”

Ford was actually one of two Georgetown nominees – the other being junior midfielder Ashby Kaestner – for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which has been likened to the Heisman Trophy of college football, although neither of them were selected as finalists. Still, Ford’s production was worthy of recognition, as she led the Hoyas in both points (72) and goals (55). The Notre Dame Prep graduate’s goal tally, which included six game-winners, was good for 19th in the nation and her point total ranked 24th in the country.

Yet despite strong individual performances by Ford and many of her teammates all season long, the Hoyas were unable to get past Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. Unfortunately for Georgetown, its patented second-half magic did not make the trip to New Jersey.

“I guess we were all banking on making a run in the second half,” the 5-foot-6 junior said of her team’s 15-9 loss. “Everyone thought we would have gotten it done, but things didn’t go our way.”

Even with an early exit from the tournament, Ford will look back on the 2009 season with fond memories.

“We had a great season, definitely one of the best I’ve ever been a part of,” she said. “Our seniors were incredible, and we’re such a tight-knit team. We would have loved to go further, but we fell short.”

Looking forward, Ford will return for her senior year as one of the centerpieces of the Hoyas’ attack. The team is set to graduate just five seniors, so the Blue and Gray will be bringing back an experienced unit. And even though Ford stepped forward this season as one of the nation’s premier offensive players, she still sees room for improvement.

“I need to get my shooting percentage up,” she said. “I need to be in the 50 to 60 percent range, but other than that, just come back in shape and do better than this year.”

Ford has improved from the first day she set foot on Georgetown’s campus. She played sparingly as a freshman before taking a significant step up in production during her second year. Now, as a likely member of the 2010 Tewaaraton watch list, it is time for her to become one of the Hoyas’ leaders.

“My first year, I got a taste of the Georgetown experience,” Ford said. “With the senior leadership, I could really see the passion of Georgetown reflected in every captain. We have a unique team – the bar has been set high and we try to set it even higher every day at practice. It’s up to whoever the captains are next year to try and keep the bar high.”

In fact, Head Coach Ricky Fried already sees his offensive orchestrator as a key part of the 2010 team’s senior leadership.

“She has great stick work, visibility and an ability to run an offense,” he said earlier this season, before adding: “We are going to ask more of her next year [as a senior]. She can improve upon her leadership.”

If not for Fried, Ford might not have decided to bring her lacrosse skills to the Hilltop. Once a soft-spoken freshman, she credits her coach as the main reason for her choice of schools.

“[Georgetown] was most attractive because of Ricky,” she said. “There was also the prestige of being able to compete for a national title.”

Competing for a national championship is something the Hoyas have done in recent years. Winning one, however, is not. When Ford and her teammates look to change that next season, it will be with a battle-tested corps of attacks and midfielders and a relatively unseasoned group of defenders.

“Next year, we’re pretty much all set for attack,” she said. “On defense, we’re young and athletic, and I’m sure we’ll bring in some talented freshmen.”

While expectations of her may rise again next year, Ford’s teammates and coaches can count on her to meet them – or even rise above them.

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