Lacrosse Star Becomes Team's All-Time Scoring Leader For The Love Of The Game Silent on success: Sure, Jenn Ward is the best women's lacrosse player in Hopkins history. Just don't ask her about it. Kevin Smokler --------------------------- Special to The Gazette Lacrosse star Jenn Ward laughs when telling the "fuse box" story. Last summer, Hopkins' star women's lacrosse player discovered the source of her Poltergeist-esque computer trouble was her apartment building's main fuse box right outside her window, which sent off electromagnetic fields of roughly 100 times the strength of normal household appliances. If she walked the computer away from the window, the curse was lifted. "It was really strange but also very interesting," the senior from Wilton, Conn. says. "And I only needed one credit to graduation, so I decided to check it out." So, while many students spend their Intersession relaxing, Jenn Ward completed an independent study of the effects of EMFs in the home. "I got really into it and was always running from the Welsh Library to MSE [the Milton S. Eisenhower Library] and back," she said. "I'd say it ended up taking every waking moment of my time." The story is Jenn Ward in both metaphor and practice. Her athletic ability can perhaps be described as an EMF--a vast reserve of potential energy punctuated by an electric-shock aggression on the field. Pair that with a work ethic that means turning a passing curiosity into an academic project or training regularly before and after practice and you have one of the most skilled players in the program's 20-year history. "She's definitely a hard-core athlete," says head coach Janine Tucker. "Intense, very competitive and cool under pressure. She seems to play better when something is on the line." Adds assistant coach Rick Fried, "She absolutely in the most phenomenal shape of any athlete I've ever seen." According to Hopkins' Office of Sports Information, Ward is Hopkins all-time leading scorer with 179 goals and is tied with fellow attack Francine Brennan for most points this season with 32. On April 2 against Swarthmore, when she passed Rebecca Savage's mark of 177, the game was stopped and an announcement made. "Jenn was a little bit irritated about that," says Coach Tucker. "Her attitude was, 'let's just get back to the game.'" As her teammates and coach will attest, getting Ward to comment on her success is like trying to get the ball away from her during a game. Expect a lot of tail chasing. "I've always just loved to play," says Ward, who was an accomplished high school LAXer and has two younger brothers who play collegiately. "I love to train, I love the competition and try and do the best I can." Ask her to elaborate and you get a shrug. There isn't anything else. "She leads by example," says Tracey Brady, her roommate and teammate. "When younger players see Jenn out early, running or working on shooting, they learn from that." "Jenn doesn't need to embarrass or yell at anybody," says Kate Bradbury, a freshman teammate and close friend. "Some captains are very vocal and will get in your face. Jenn's basically a quiet person." Maintaining Ward's level of ability and respect is a full-time job. She admits she "can't even begin to count" how many hours she spends on lacrosse each week. "I guess you could say she's the hardest on herself," says Coach Fried. "She's become a much more dimensional player since she started as a freshman." True to form, Ward quickly attributes her improvement to Tucker and Fried's innovative coaching techniques. "They coach this team like a men's team," she says. "In most women's sports, there's a few players that are faster and stronger than the rest and it's just a matter of defending against them. The coaches divide the field in half so attacks focus on scoring, like men's teams, instead of a lot of end-long runs, like most women's teams." When away from the game, Ward spends the majority of her time studying. A psychology major, she is currently in her first round of interviews at several investment banking firms. "I'm not sure it's what I want to end up doing, but I have friends in securities and it sounds right for me," she says, laughing. "You know, intense, competitive, long hours." And for fun? "Yes, I get out every now and then," Ward says in mock frustration. She professes to a fondness for dancing and reading Irving Stone's historical novels. Several freshmen smile when recalling rides to Fells Point clubs in Ward's car and being forced to listen to the achingly pass‚ New Edition. "When Jenn and I are together, we're never bored," says Brady. "I wouldn't call her a silly person, but she has a great sense of humor when you get to know her." In the future, Ward plans to stick with lacrosse either on a club team or in coaching. The game that now dominates her schedule will become hobby. A pro-lacrosse career, she says, is not why she came to college. "Down the road when I look back, lacrosse is what I'll remember," says Ward. "But that's later. We've got nine more games to go."
Go to Gazette Homepage