Cavalier Corner

June 2017

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22 ◆ CAVALIER CORNER BY GREG WATERS M UCH LIKE A TIP-OFF IN basketball or a face-off in ice hockey, every women's lacrosse game starts with the draw. Unlike hockey or basketball, the draw occurs not just at the start of a contest or period of play, draws in lacrosse occur after every score. Maggie Jackson is one of the top draw control and ground ball players in the At- lantic Coast Conference. Winning the draw or securing a loose ball means an offensive possession and a chance to control the game. "When you control the ball, you control the pace and flow of the game and gener- ate the looks you want," Virginia women's lacrosse head coach Julie Myers said. That's why Myers is very happy to have Jackson on her club. "She puts herself in the right position to be able to be the quickest, the strongest and the most skilled with the stick work, and that effort is going to be [successful] into those 50-50 battles," Myers said. Coming off a solid first-year campaign, Jackson took a huge leap forward in 2017. Last spring, the Alexandria, Va., native appeared in all 18 games and started 16 for the Hoos. She led the team with 39 draw controls and finished with 22 points on 16 goals and six assists. This year, the second-year midfielder garnered first-team All-ACC honors after finishing first in the conference in ground balls (57) and caused turnovers (33), fifth in assists (33) and sixth in points (74), while also leading Virginia with 71 draw controls. "I was just really surprised and honored because our team is so spread out and bal- anced," Jackson said of being named All- ACC. "Everyone on our attack and defense is such a force and can get the ball or score a goal. "It's something that is really cool to me, but also a surprise because I think anyone on our team could have gotten that." Jackson, who also received second-team IWLCA All-America accolades, suggests one of the big reasons for her improvement was that she realized she wasn't a first-year any longer and her responsibility on the team changed dramatically. "Coming in and playing as a first-year, I think my role was the role of a filler and doing what they needed me to do," Jackson explained. "Coming in this year, the first game was a wake-up call realizing we had different roles than we had last year. Realiz- ing as a team we were going to have to step up. I was no longer a first-year." Myers said Jackson's work ethic is in- credible and that contributed greatly to her emergence in 2017. "So much of her work comes in the sum- mertime and breaks when we're not together as a team," Myers said. "What Maggie does every day in the summer separates herself from 99 percent of her opponents. "She's the kid that gets up at 5:30 a.m. to drive 45 minutes to get in an extra speed, conditioning and strength workout with her trainer. She does it at an uncomfortable hour." But that seems to be what makes Jackson special. She's about hustle and determina- tion. She's the "extra effort" type of player. The smallest player on the basketball court, but the one that outrebounds everyone else. Maybe not the fastest or strongest player on the gridiron, but the one who leads the team in tackles. It's that "doing whatever it takes" attitude to be the best at what you're doing and to get the best results. That's what makes Jackson stellar at hustle and determination plays like draw control and ground balls. "I think that when I was younger one of my first coaches, he would tell me that the number one rule was to go hard and fast with the ball," Jackson recalled. "So I think that that is some- thing always ringing in my mind when I'm on draws or going after ground balls. "The ball is the number one job. Take care of the ball. Go after the ball hard. That is something that really motivates me and keeps me going." This is not something new — ap- parently Jackson has been pretty deter- mined to get her way since she was a little girl. "I have a twin brother," she noted. "My mom always joked, 'No one's getting that ball from you. You've been fighting your twin brother your whole life.'" Jackson knows what she wants and said she has a personality that drives her to go after it. "I have a really loud personality," she said. "I'm just like a loud person. People always tell me that I'm the loudest one in the room. So I think it's definitely part of who I am. "I don't think I'm one to sit back and not speak my mind. It's definitely part of my personality." Another part of Jackson's personality is her lifelong desire to attend the University of Virginia. "Since I was younger I wanted to go here," Jackson said. "In fifth grade, my club team had a clinic with the Virginia coaches, we visited the locker rooms and had a tour and everything. I think that's when I started to realize this is where I wanted to be. "I live in Northern Virginia so it was a good distance from home and I know a lot of people that came here from home. Then seeing the university, the prestige it has and the education is really impressive. That combination of athletics and academ- ics, I don't think you can get that anywhere else." ◆ IN CONTROL Maggie Jackson Put Together A Stellar Second-Year Campaign "What Maggie does every day in the summer separates herself from 99 percent of her opponents. She's the kid that gets up at 5:30 a.m. to drive 45 minutes to get in an extra speed, conditioning and strength workout with her trainer. She does it at an uncomfortable hour." HEAD COACH JULIE MYERS ON JACKSON Jackson, a second-year midfielder, earned first-team All-ACC and second-team IWLCA All-America accolades after rack- ing up a league-high 57 ground balls. PHOTO COURTESY UVA

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