Schumar seeing success after buying into facilitator role

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(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

At the age 10 or 11, Mary Schumar never had the thought of playing lacrosse at the Division I level. In fact, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native had her eyes set on playing basketball at the next level.

However, that dream would soon be discovered to be unreachable.

“As I got older I realized that it wouldn’t be an option,” Schumar said.

The now-junior on the Marquette women’s lacrosse team said her high school lacrosse coach, Richard Axtell, was the part of reason why she chose to pursue the sport that played on grass instead of the one that calls the hardwood home.

“(He) kind of told me in eighth grade that I should go on the lacrosse route for college (and) ever since then I kind of just listened to it,” Schumar said.

During Schumar’s high school career, she said she did not have the type of facilitator role that she has now with the Golden Eagles. She said the role came on more during her transition from high school to college.

“I have embraced it more. I really wasn’t a big feeder in high school, but I’ve come to like it a lot,” Schumar said. “I still like to dodge and stuff but I think feeding just gives you a whole different excitement because you get to see the person’s reacting after they score and it’s so fun because you helped them score.”

Schumar started out her junior campaign in the blue and gold strong, racking up 14 assists in the team’s first five game which placed her third in the nation.

“(I) thought it was cool,” Schumar said. “It makes me happy that I can help others score goals, I think that is really exciting.”

As of March 21 Schumar is ranked 10th in the country with 19 assists through nine games.

Graduate student attacker Kyra Lamotte said her and her teammates were not surprised to see this early success out of Schumar.

“When we saw that, we were all so ecstatic for her,” Lamotte said. “It’s such a huge accomplishment especially because we’re about halfway through the season and we can only go up from there with helping her get higher on that list.”

Like Lamotte, associate head coach Caitlin Wolf said she was not shocked to see the attacker’s ability to be a strong playmaker on the field and be recognized on the national stage.

“As a staff, we saw this progression for Mary. Last year, we had a lot of great attackers but she didn’t get the time to really create and produce as much as she is this year. Now kind of being in spotlight, having more time on the field and having deeper connections with the attackers she is able to produce easily,” Wolf said. “She definitely has earned the top five for assists.”

Wolf said Schumar is someone who embodies a team first mentality.

“Mary is definitely team oriented. She’s a goofball which makes her play well on the field and she plays with a lot of passion,” Wolf said. “She is good to do whatever is best for the team and that is what is so great about her. It is never about her, it’s always about the team and how she can help.”

Wolf said while the coaching staff was looking at Schumar in high school at East Grand Rapids, one of the reasons that made her stand out was her lacrosse IQ both on and off the field.

“What we noticed about Mary right away was that she had really good stick skills, really quick hands and she is just really smart. She (also) sees the field really well,” Wolf said. “Immediately we kind of saw that potential and wanted to be able to maximize her talents …. Facilitating and creating plays for our team is something that just comes so natural for her.”

Schumar said teammates like LaMotte and junior attacker Hannah Greving have helped her grow as a player, leading to her recent success.

In the 10 games this season, Schumar has recorded four or more assists in three contests and has only has four games without recording an assist.

Lamotte said she is looking forward to seeing and being a part of what Schumar will do in the remainder of this season.

“I am super excited just seeing what she has done this year, I can only imagine how she is going to be next year and as the season continues, how she is going to flourish and it’s going to be awesome to watch next year and this year in our BIG EAST tournament play.” Lamotte said.

Looking ahead, Wolf said that the coaching staff is always pushing her to be better and be a triple threat on offense.

“We are always pushing her to be dynamic, so that’s being a great feeder, which she is naturally, a great driver and a great cutter,” Wolf said. “She is really good at all those things, but we are focusing on all three and that’s what we tell all our players.”

John Leuzzi contributed to this story.

This article was written by Kelly Reilly. She can be reached at kelly.reilly@marquette.edu or found on Twitter @kellyreillyyy.