Aust Next in Line of Great Maryland Attackers
|Maryland senior attacker Alex
Aust leads the Terrapins with 74 points, which is 26 more than the
next highest scorer on the team, reigining Tewaaraton winner Katie
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
Maryland senior attacker Alex Aust doesn't have an official goal celebration, but there is something she does whenever the No. 1 Terrapins score.
"Watching myself on film, both my hands go straight in the air when anyone scores. And then I run to someone and hug them. Kristen Lamon is my height — I'm 5-foot-9 — so usually she's the one I go to," Aust said.
If Aust did have a post-goal routine, even the most dedicated of Terps fans might be tired of it by now. The senior has scored 37 goals this year, and she's poured 37 assists on top of that total. She leads the team in both stats, and is a full 26 points ahead of the next highest scorer on the team, reigning Tewaaraton winner Katie Schwarzmann (48 points).
"I really honestly think I got a lot more confident in myself and in my game, being more comfortable in the position. I've always loved to feed the ball from behind the cage," Aust said. "With my teammates, like Taylor Cummings and Beth Glaros, almost anything you can throw to them, they can handle, and it makes my job easier. "
Most recently, she had a relatively modest two-assist outing in the Terps' 11-8 win over Towson on Tuesday. That's a satisfactory if not stellar day for most crease attackers. For Aust, it was actually a season low. She's had four games in which she scored at least nine points, led by her 11-point day against UMBC. Aust had four goals and set a single-game program record with seven assists in the Terps' 17-10 win over the Retrievers on March 5. She's currently fourth on Maryland's all-time career assist list with 114.
Like a lot of college attackers, Aust played midfield in high school at the Bullis (Md.) School before the Maryland coaching staff moved her down field. Her crease play is now an indelible part of the Terps offense, which averages 16.08 goals per game. Spending a few years learning from other great Maryland attackers like Kristy Black, Sarah Mollison and Kerri Ellen Johnson was an excellent apprenticeship.
"I really honestly want to make an impact on the field. I really missed playing midfield — it was so much fun in high school — but it just fell into place. Now I see myself as an attacker," Aust said.
The Terps' tough re-defending strategy gives her the chance to use some of that latent midfield speed. She's No. 2 on the team in caused turnovers (10), just one behind Schwarzmann and Cummings.
Aust credits her 2013 run to having such excellent sparring partners in practice with the Maryland defense. Her sister, Nicole Aust, is a sophomore defender on the team, and her roommate, Melissa Diepold, is Maryland's go-to crease defender. Senior goalie Kasey Howard, who is having something of a breakout season of her own as a first-time starter, was key in Aust's development.
"She's one of my best friends, and she's made me the shooter I am today. She's so active in the cage that we constantly battle each other. If she saves it, I get pissed," Aust said.
Howard may be the only goalie who gets stops on Aust these days; she has a .627 shooting percentage.
Aust says that playing for an undefeated, No. 1 is awesome, but she's not too caught up in where she — or the team — is right now.
"We're really not trying to focus on what we've accomplished. It doesn't mean anything right now. It matters who's on top at the end," she said.
Aust won a national championship in 2010 as a non-starting freshman with 12 points. She wants to do it again, this time as a major contributor.
"It's my senior year, so I don't want to leave with any regrets," she said, who is one of seven seniors on the team. "We've been through ups and downs, although it wasn't the outcome we wanted, it's what made us into the players we are. It leaves us with a bitter taste in our mouth, and we have another season to win it."