April 30, 2010

By Amy Farnum

As the old saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  That is certainly true in the case of Georgetown women’s lacrosse player Molly Ford.

Ford’s father, Mac, was a two-time All-American lacrosse player and the 1985 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year at the University of North Carolina, and went on to win a gold medal as a member of the world team.  

Molly inherited her dad’s talent for the game, which he helped develop as her recreation league and club team coach when she began competing at nine years old.
“I remember my dad coaching me in recreation league and going in the back yard about three times a week and him trying to get me to use my left hand,” said Ford.  “He said if I used my left hand that he would buy me a lacrosse stick bag, which was the cool thing back then.”

Ford’s four siblings also caught the lacrosse bug, and her younger sister Abby – the second oldest -- is a sophomore on the Stony Brook University squad.  

“All five of us would be out with my dad throwing the ball around,” said Ford.  “It was always a big group.  We’re a big lacrosse family.”

The senior attacker from Reisterstown, Md., paces the Hoyas with 41 goals and 24 assists for 65 points this season, and was a first-team All-BIG EAST selection in 2009.

“Molly is a very skilled player and very smooth with the ball,” said Georgetown head coach Ricky Fried.  “I think what separates her from other players is two things.  One is her work ethic is tireless.  Second is her mental aspect of the game and that is probably where her dad has played the biggest influence.  He has ingrained in her a thought process about the game as opposed to just the skill piece.  She’s a pretty cerebral player, and because of her growth and evolution in college, we’ve given her the green light to call the offense.”

Maybe even more important than the lacrosse skills Ford’s father taught her were his lessons in positivity.  

“Whenever I get down on myself he’s always the one I can talk to,” said Ford.  “He always puts something in a positive light and gives me that extra boost of confidence when I’m feeling down.  He’s not overbearing at all and I respect what he says.  After games, he’ll give me little tips.  It’s a great relationship that we have and have built over the years.”

That lesson was put to very good use at the beginning of the Hoyas’ season.  With an incredibly tough schedule that included games against four Top 5 teams, Georgetown began the year with a disappointing 2-4 mark. At that point, it would have been easy for a team with high expectations to throw in the towel, but Ford listened to some fatherly advice instead.

“He said keep going,” said Ford.  “You have the BIG EAST ahead of you, and can’t just drop everything and concentrate on the past – you have to move forward.”

That’s exactly what Ford and the Hoyas did.  Since the troubling start, Georgetown has reeled off seven straight victories and compiled a perfect 7-0 mark in BIG EAST play.  

“It was a big component of how we’ve done,” said Fried.  “How all of the seniors, Molly especially, reacted to that was how the team was going to react.  The morale stayed high and everyone understood while it may have been nice to win a couple of those games, it did prepare us both mentally and physically to play our conference schedule.”

After claiming a 13-12 overtime victory against No. 13 Loyola on April 28, the Hoyas a looking to close out the regular season with a flawless BIG EAST record with a win at No. 9 Syracuse on May 1. The Orange is in second place in the league standings with a 6-1 mark. Georgetown can capture an outright BIG EAST regular season title with a win against Syracuse.

“We lost to some big teams,” said Ford. “This week, we need to win those big games so we can make up for the losses in the past.”  

The Georgetown-Syracuse game is set for 1 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports.