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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Draw control specialists provide split-second impacts

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Josie Kropp (11) is Marquette’s primary draw control specialist. She holds the program record for draw controls in a single season.

There’s a common phrase in the lacrosse world: ‘when you win the draw, you win the game.’

While draw control specialists are only on the field for a short amount of time, the importance of their role cannot be overstated.

“A draw only lasts one second, but so much goes into that second,” associate head coach Caitlin Wolf said. “So much movement, strategy and scouting. It’s like a puzzle.”

Marquette’s women’s lacrosse has put extensive work into building its draw specialists, which is evident by their No. 7 overall ranking in the country averaging 17.67 draw controls per game.

The Golden Eagles’ leading draw control specialist senior Josie Kropp was originally recruited as a midfielder.

As a first-year, she started taking the draw to see playing time. As a sophomore, she continued to develop the skill, and ended up ranking fourth on the squad with 43 draw controls, which cemented her position as Marquette’s draw control specialist.

“I was always the second string. I still played, but I wasn’t the go-to girl,” Kropp said. “The coaches and I eventually came to the decision I would be best served focusing on this and that it would be the best way to serve the team in terms of making plays and stats.

“I wanted to make an impact and help the team in any way I could, so if that meant not staying on the field for very long, then I would do it.”

Kropp is the third specialist that Marquette has ever had. And she has learned from the ones before her, like former specialist Mary Blee, who ranks fifth in program history in draw controls with 167.

“In the past seven years of our program, we’ve really been developing this draw specialist position,” Wolf said. “Josie had a really great draw specialist ahead, Mary Blee. Mary started, but it was like having All-American on the bench with Josie.”

Kropp has had a breakout senior season. In her first year as a starter, she now ranks No. 10 in the nation for draw controls averaging 8.14 per game.

It’s not surprising to me that she broke records right away because she’s always been such a stud. For her to come into her senior year and be dominant in so many games for us is really incredible,” Wolf said.

“The advantage with Josie is she wins the ball to herself. Some drawers we’ve had in the past will send the ball to somebody else, so with Josie, it’s more of a sure win.”

She also became the third player in program history to have 200+ career draw controls and broke the record for draw controls in a season (120) in the Golden Eagles’ 18-11 loss to Georgetown.

“It’s super exciting, I’m very grateful for the season I’ve been able to have,” Kropp said after the game. “I’ll say it a hundred times over, but it’s all my teammates.

“They push me to do better every day and they give me confidence which is something that’s not easy to have, especially going into Big East play like this.”

Although Kropp has played a huge role in the team’s success, Wolf said it is crucial to develop a strong draw team as a whole.

“Even though Josie has the most draws and the other two are playing a supporting role, their role is still super important. They’re keeping defenders out of Josie’s way, making it as easy as possible for her to retrieve that ball and get our offense started,” Wolf said.

Putting up record-breaking statistics and continuing to build a strong draw control program means constantly working. From scouting what the opposing drawer is good at to planning where they want to place the ball, Kropp and her “circle girls” are always looking to improve.

“In the past four years, we’ve had such success as a draw unit in terms of stats and how well we work together,” Kropp said. “We hold ourselves to a higher standard and pride ourselves on being a team that’s heavily scouted. If you don’t win the draw, you usually don’t win the game.”

To continue to uphold this standard, the program has continued to build their draw control specialists, and Kropp said she will do everything she can to help maintain the legacy after she leaves.

“We have multiple options, I’m not ‘it’,” Kropp said. “We groom each other to take over these roles, so I’m super confident leaving it in other people’s hands.

“Stepping into a role is really tough, but as the girls before me told me, ‘you’re going to do just fine, you’ve earned this.’ I’m going to say the same things to them and they’re probably going to do better than me.”

Success is in the details, even in one that lasts a second.

Marquette has developed its draw control program into a dominant factor of its team and ensured success through specialists like Kropp.

“It’s really fun to see achievements and get recognition,” Kropp said. “But being able to contribute and make my teammates feel proud and to feel the trust they have in me when I step up to take a draw is really special.”

This story was written by Sofie Hanrahan. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @SofieHanrahanMU.

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About the Contributors
Sofie Hanrahan
Sofie Hanrahan, Sports Reporter
Sofie Hanrahan is a first-year from Naperville, Illinois joining the Wire as a sports reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. She is studying digital media and film and media studies. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys watching soccer and movies. Sofie is looking forward to developing her writing skills and making connections in the sports community.
Forster Goodrich
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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