Local lacrosse fans have seen these Elizabeth Landry moves for three seasons …
The UC Davis midfielder collects the draw, blazes toward the opponent’s goal, dekes a couple of defenders and — whoosh! — her powerful shot shakes the net.
Landry, only a junior, has spent much of 2014 climbing the Aggie record-book ladder and has become the No. 1 problem for UCD foes.
But, according to Aggie coach Kate Henwood, the Acalanes High product continues to evolve.
“This is the first year she has blossomed as a leader,” Henwood told The Enterprise. “She has always been a phenomenal player (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Freshman of the Year in 2012). She has bought into the new coaching staff’s philosophies from day one.
“She really has high expectations for herself, which then translates to expectations she has for her teammates and the program — in which she competes every, single day.”
While UCD stands at 6-8 overall, the locals find themselves at 1-6 in the rugged MPSF with only two home games remaining.
Henwood and Landry agree that the Aggies’ best lacrosse is down the road, but being up against No. 13 Stanford and No. 20 (and front-running) Denver has been good experience.
In fact, in 2013, UCD beat the nationally ranked Cardinal, 15-14 in overtime, to finish strong at 3-5 in conference and 6-9 overall.
“Everyone is getting more competitive as the years go on and the sport grows,” Henwood explains. “It’s just a matter of … coaches getting all the right kids in the right places at the right times and this conference is really going to explode.”
Among those “right-player, right-place” women is Landry.
After finishing third in Aggie goals (24) last year, Landry’s 36 tallies lead UCD scorers this spring. Her 51 draws controlled in 14 games moved her past former teammate Hannah Mizra (2010-13) as the program’s all-time leader with 184. Mizra had 164.
As exciting as it is to watch Landry control, weave and score, she is no one-trick pony.
Now, when Landry starts a goalward charge, she draws a crowd. With two or three defenders attending to the speedy 5-foot-11 Aggie, options have opened for Landry.
“One of the great things to watch about her is her selflessness,” Henwood says. “She has become a great playmaker as well.
“When it’s absolutely necessary, she’ll put her team on her back. But she’s even better at running our system.”
To wit, Landry has a career-high and team-best 14 assists.
She scored five goals in a 13-2 victory at Detroit on March 27 and then scored four more two days later at Michigan (a 13-12 double-overtime loss). Earlier this year, during UCD’s five-game win streak to open the season, Landry showed her versatility with six assists in a 12-6 win at Old Dominion in Virginia.
“She is one of the fastest, one of the strongest, most skilled athletes that there is in all of college sports right now,” Henwood says of Landry.
Carrying a double major in international relations and Spanish, Landry says she came to UCD for many reasons.
“First I thought the program was changing for the better,” Landry explains. “I thought it had a lot of potential. I like the distance it is from home (Lafayette). When I came on campus, it just felt right. I visited other schools and didn’t feel as comfortable as I did here.
“It was the whole package.”
While Landry’s current focus is on getting wins in the season’s final two home games (Friday, 4 p.m., against Fresno State and April 25, 7 p.m., with St. Mary’s), she tells up-and-coming club and prep lacrosse players to buckle down in the classroom:
“You need to keep your grades up. That’s the big thing, because if you don’t have the GPA to get into school, then (coaches) can’t help you.
“And if you love the sport, just keep working hard it, join a club team and go to tournaments, because that’s where the college coaches will be.”
So, with this season winding down, what does Landry think will put her Aggies over the top — in a position to compete for MPSF honors, and beyond?
“Everyone’s commitment and dedication is getting better and better,” the San Francisco-born standout believes. “Everyone works really, really hard and eventually, it will all just come together and we’ll show in games (what we show) in practice every day.”
Notes: Landry’s sister Chloe is headed to Cal next season. A draw specialist and midfielder like Elizabeth, Chloe will get to clack sticks with Big Sis when the Aggies head to Berkeley for an MPSF game. On March 8, UCD beat the Golden Bears, 8-7. How did that go over in the Landry household? The discussion was “more friendly,” said Elizabeth. For now, that is. … Landry’s dad Jim is a print broker and mom Christine is in marketing at GAP. Brother Jake is 13. … Landry broke into UCD’s top 10 career scoring ranks this spring. She stands at 10th with 98 goals. Katie McMahon (2004-08) leads with 252.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.