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Could 14, 2022 — An appreciation: Janine Tucker, head coach, Johns Hopkins College

The circumstances of Janine Tucker’s closing recreation as the pinnacle coach of the Johns Hopkins College girls’s lacrosse staff had been replete with irony.

The loss in yesterday’s first-round recreation was a 17-12 defeat to the identical Duke College which ended Hopkins’ deepest-ever run within the NCAA Division I Match, a quarterfinal loss in 2007. That 2007 Duke staff would go on to squander a 10-goal result in Virginia within the Closing 4 in Philadelphia.

The location of yesterday’s swansong was the College of Maryland. The irony there’s that Hopkins’ finest participant from final yr, Aurora Cordingley, transferred there to make the most of a grad-school yr, and has been nominated for the Tewaaraton Trophy emblematic of the very best participant within the collegiate recreation.

Tucker has been by way of rather a lot the final 29 years as coach at Johns Hopkins, not the least of which was the transfer of your complete program from Division III to Division I, to be at an equal stage with the legendary males’s staff.

This site dropped in on a couple of Hop’s games in the first Division I season in the spring of 1999. What I acquired from Tucker is the sense of constructive reinforcement when it got here to her staff talks. There was some stern speak when it got here to how one can enhance, however the phrases had been by no means reducing or merciless. And no matter was stated was ended with a smile on her face.

This was twenty years earlier than Ted Lasso.

“It’s a alternative,” she stated after the loss to Duke yesterday. “I inform my staff, ‘It’s OK to be unhappy, it’s OK to be dissatisfied, however we’re not going to reside in that house.’ What we’re going to decide on to do is basically get pleasure from one another to the very bitter finish. We will nonetheless have these feelings as a result of they’re rivals and they’re fighters. However in addition they perceive that they’re going to offer one another the form of vitality to carry one another up versus this unbelievable despair or disappointment and produce one another down.”

Janine Tucker was not solely recognized for her teaching, however for her off-field efforts throughout the lacrosse neighborhood. When Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens waged a really public battle with mind most cancers between 1995 and 2003, Tucker was the individual organizing coaches and others for fundraising runs and different behind-the-scenes wants reminiscent of administering her memorial web site. She additionally delivered her former coach’s closing phrases at her funeral.

Instantly after that, Tucker steered Hopkins to its most profitable period. Paced by the mercurial attacker Mary Key, the Blue Jays made the NCAA Match the subsequent 4 seasons, and had been one recreation away from making the 2007 Closing 4, however had been stymied by Duke.

After that had been some lean years, however the staff has managed to get better. Johns Hopkins, during the last seven seasons, has been a dark-horse contender for NCAA honors. Nevertheless it should be stated that the silverware cupboard remains to be dwarfed by the lads’s staff — a males’s staff that has been taking part in for greater than 100 years, thoughts you. Tucker has solely received one main trophy for the staff: the 2001 ECAC Division I championship.

However you’ll be able to’t blame her or the Blue Jays for not attempting. Throughout her time in Division I, she’s been unlucky to should face the likes of Northwestern and Maryland (winners of 15 nationwide titles since 1999) throughout their membership within the American Lacrosse Convention or of their Massive Ten Convention video games.

Someway, I don’t assume she’d have it some other approach.

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