When the Owls traveled to play University of Maryland-Baltimore County on March 5, senior attacker Rachel Schwaab felt right at home.
UMBC Stadium is a five minute drive from her childhood home in Baltimore and Catonsville High School, her alma mater.
Playing against one of her best friends, fellow Catonsville graduate and Retriever’s freshman midfielder Lauren McDonald, Schwaab scored four goals and collected a ground ball in the Owls’ 19-9 victory with her family and friends in the stands.
“That’s pretty much where I grew up, so I had a huge group of support,” Schwaab said. “I played one of my best friends so that was fun.”
Through nine games this season, Schwaab leads the team with 19 goals, 12 assists and 31 total points.
The 5-foot-8-inch attacker has surpassed her 2015 goal and points totals with eight regular-season games remaining, and her 3.44 points per game ranks third among Big East players.
“Just speaking with her throughout the summertime, she worked a lot on her game,” senior attacker Brenda McDermott said. “Last year she just kind of took on the whole feeding, but this year she’s been doing both and she’s been doing both a lot.”
Schwaab has been playing offense from the area behind the net for most of her lacrosse career, especially after her high school coach Becky Clipp emphasized it during her junior and senior seasons.
This season, she facilitates the Owls’ offense from the X position with McDermott, allowing her to pass to players cutting toward the net and score goals on crease rolls.
“I think we work really well together and I think that’s why it’s so easy to play with each other,” McDermott said. “And just like our ability to grow … I don’t think we’ve hit a plateau on our play yet so we’re always coming up with new ideas, things to do, different things to work on.”
Schwaab said she started playing lacrosse when she was 5 or 6 years old and progressed to play in summer, fall and indoor leagues on club teams. She played alongside Cincinnati senior midfielder Sarah Del Bene and Marquette University senior midfielder Kenzie Brown on the 2012 TLC Lacrosse Red club team.
Schwaab’s six goals and two assists helped Catonsville defeat Brown and Del Bene’s Dulaney High School team to win the Baltimore County title in her senior year. Her 38 assists and 76 goals earned her second-team All-Metro honors. She earned 2012 Catonsville Times co-Athlete of the Year honors for her performance on the lacrosse field, along with her work on the volleyball and basketball court.
“I kind of wanted to get out of Maryland,” Schwaab said. “I wanted to go far away, but Temple was the perfect fit for me. I wanted to be in the city and [liked] the commitment to academics from our coaching staff and the school in general. I wanted to pursue engineering and they gave me that opportunity.”
Though Schwaab initially wanted to go far away for college, being a two-hour drive from home allows her parents Val and Eric, grandmother Janice and sister Madison, a sophomore at Temple, to make trips to Geasey Field.
“My parents come up pretty much every game and recently my grandma has been to most of the games this season,” Schwaab said. “So it’s really nice. They’re kind of the perfect distance to be able to come up just for the day.”
Evan Easterling can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.