Wood put DU on CAA radar | The Triangle

Wood put DU on CAA radar

Junior Charlotte Wood cradled the ball to the net during Drexel’s away game against Old Dominion University April 15. Although they fought hard, the Dragons lost 9-8.
The 2011 season has been historic for the Drexel women’s lacrosse team, and Charlotte Wood has been a big reason why. The junior attacker has enjoyed a season that featured a number of first-time achievements for her Dragons, many of them thanks to her.

A few weeks ago, April 12, it was announced that Wood had been added to the Tewaaraton Award watch list. The Tewaaraton Award is awarded annually to the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s lacrosse players of the year. It was the first time a Dragon from the women’s lacrosse team had ever been named to the watch list for the prestigious award. Many players are considered as the watch list for the award consists of athletes from all three collegiate divisions. She was initially surprised by the announcement that she was on the watch list, but after a few weeks, was able to acknowledge what the recognition meant.

“I was really shocked; there are so many great players,” Wood said. “I feel very honored, because I’ve worked really hard.”

Her numbers and offensive production this season hardly make the recognition shocking at all. Wood has been the top offensive player for the team this season, scoring 44 goals to lead the team and adding six assists for a total of 50 points, which also leads the team. She played in all 16 games of the season’s schedule. Perhaps her most important statistic is the three game-winning goals she has netted this season.

Wood describes the season as being “really great,” in a year in which she has really stepped up. With the top two scorers from last season graduating, Wood identified the need and the opportunity for someone to step up.  She has taken advantage of that opportunity to become perhaps the top player on the team, and is now receiving attention nationally.

“I felt like I could step up for the team,” she said. “We needed someone to step up. I’ve worked really hard, I’m healthy, and I’m ready to go.”

Being healthy is important, as Wood has torn her ACL twice. Those injuries have been part of what she described as her ups and downs — which has included many ups. After being redshirted her freshman year in 2008, she came on strong in 2009, in what was her first season playing. In her rookie year, she was named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s all-rookie team after scoring 33 goals and recording 40 points, which both ranked second on the team. She followed up on the rookie year with a strong campaign in 2010, in which she scored 26 goals in 12 games.

With all this being said, Wood’s personal success, achievements and recognition have not been the highlight of the season for her — it is what the team has accomplished. Drexel will be competing in its first ever CAA championship May 5-7. This is the biggest accomplishment this season for Wood, and winning a championship will be much more fulfilling for her than any personal achievement, including the Tewaaraton Award, which is described as the Heisman Trophy of lacrosse.

“I want a CAA championship more than anything else,” she declared.

Wood said all of this while on the bus ride down to Towson University, the host of the CAA tournament — a ride led primarily by Wood. She led the team to a 9-7 record, 3-4 in CAA play and to a berth to compete for the championship. It is the most successful season in the history of the program, being the first ever CAA championship berth.

“I’m really proud of my whole team; it’s really a team effort,” she explained. “Everyone is proud of the hard work, and making history there.”

She led Drexel into a semi-final matchup against the Towson Tigers May 5. Towson earned the top seed in the tournament, going 6-1 in CAA play. The Dragons are two wins away from a CAA title, and Wood and the team were confident in their chances of winning it all.

“I’m really confident about the CAA,” Wood said. “I think everyone’s really excited and feel like we have a chance.”

Wood had reason to be confident. Towson’s only CAA loss was to Wood and the Dragons at Towson, the same site and opponent for their semi-final matchup. Consistent with the theme of the season in accomplishing first-time feats for Drexel women’s lacrosse, this was the first time Drexel ever beat the Tigers at Towson.

Unfortunately for Wood and the Dragons, the dream will have to wait another year as Towson topped Drexel 10-8 in that CAA matchup May 5. However, the Dragons are still confident that they will perform successfully in the 2011-12 season.