June 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 46°F


Controlling the leaderboards: Junior shatters program record for draw controls

Breaking records has become more and more common in sports, but breaking records in a fraction of the time it took the previous holder to accomplish is quite rare. Despite only being a junior, midfielder Caroline Wise recently broke the Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team’s career draw control record.

In women’s lacrosse, a draw occurs at the beginning of each quarter and again after every goal. At the center circle of the field, one player from each team lines up with the back of their sticks together in the air and the ball placed between them. From there, the referee blows the whistle and each player makes the attempt to pitch the ball to open space in hopes of scooping it up and getting their team possession. 

Alongside the draw taker are two midfielders from each team positioned around the center circle. If the draw taker can use her teammates effectively and pitch the ball to them, that provides a huge advantage in the possession game.

The previous record was held by Reid Simoncini ’19, who was a member of the program from 2016–19 and amassed an impressive 230 draw controls over 76 games. However, in only 28 games, Wise has notched an unbelievable 292 draw controls, surpassing Simoncini’s record in just under a third of the time. In her 23rd career game at the college against the University of Scranton on March 8, Wise earned 13 draw controls on the contest to end the game with a career total of 236, beating the record in 53 fewer games.

Wise’s lacrosse prowess was felt immediately after she transferred from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the 2022 season, as she not only dominates the draw control circle but also has proved she can be lethal on the offensive end. She is tied for second on the team in points with 28 over nine games — including 21 goals and seven assists — and has proven she can lead the team with her outstanding play and leadership.

Although Wise’s individual impact on the field seems effortless, she said she spends plenty of time off the field preparing for games. The chemistry needed between Wise and the other members of the draw control circle squad are critical to the team’s success.

“I typically do scout work outside of practice to try and prepare myself for games,” Wise said. “Me and the girls spend lots of time communicating to try and formulate the best strategy during games. We are always on the same page.” 

With great success comes a positive and motivated attitude, which Wise said she always brings to practice.

“At the end of the day, there are no athletic scholarships tied to us playing, which means we all come every day because we want to be here,” Wise said. “I think that’s really cool.”

Junior midfielder Sydney Phillips, another member of the draw control circle squad, said that the program truly has something special in Wise.

“Every year winning draws is important, but this year we have such a strong, prominent draw taker like Caroline who has made winning draws such a big part of our game,” Phillips said. “Caroline just has an ability to analyze the draw situation and create a plan that’s really unique.” 

Phillips, who ranks third on the team in draw controls behind junior midfielder Lexi Kellish with whom she shares the draw circle, said that consistently winning the draw has been vital to the Bombers’ success.

“In my eyes, lacrosse is a game of possession, so obviously when you have the ball and the other team doesn’t, it’s huge,” Phillips said. “It really just elevates everyone’s play on the field along with [Wise’s] which I think is incredible.”

Head coach Karrie Moore said it is incredible that not only has Wise broken the record, but the speed at which it was broken is jaw-dropping. 

“I think for her, breaking this record was a really cool thing,” Moore said. “I think the thing that’s crazy impressive about it is that she did it in not even a season and a half, which means the draws won per game is absolutely off the charts.” 

Moore, who has now coached all but three of the nine players on the program’s career draw control leaderboard, said she is thrilled to see Wise being recognized for her undeniable impact on the field.

“[Wise is] so hardworking and skilled, and seeing these kinds of stats is a really cool way to reward Caroline and our team for all of the hard work,” Moore said.

Moore said that Wise’s ability as a leader is arguably more critical to her team’s success than her individual skills.

“The impact she has on the team, I just think as a leader is huge,” Moore said. “Caroline is an excellent student and she really epitomizes the student-athlete mentality which helps her show our underclassmen what game preparation is like.”

Moore said that outside of her work ethic, a big reason for all of Wise’s success at the draw circle has been her mother.

“Her mom happens to be a coach, so I think she kind of grew up with that coaching mentality at home and that’s how she approaches the game,” Moore said.

Moore said that, overall, Wise’s hard work and determination to be the best is largely what has her excelling through the leaderboards.

“She is obviously incredibly skilled and there are lots of technical pieces that go into winning draws, but I do really think it’s her preparation that separates her from everyone else,” Moore said.

Despite Phillips being an outstanding player herself, the respect she has for Wise is obvious; Phillips said she thinks looking up to Wise is a key for the team to grow.

“Her ability is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Phillips said. “I’ve just never seen somebody so analytical and so honestly smart when it comes to draw-taking as she is. … [Caroline is] the glue that has brought us together.”

Staff writer Tobiah Zboray contributed reporting to this story.