Taylor Cummings

Taylor Cummings (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim Hairston / May 31, 2012)

Before the Maryland women played Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Sunday, Terps freshman midfielder Taylor Cummings had a serious case of stage fright, but that’s nothing new.

“My mom said I looked like I was about to throw up before the Syracuse game, which I was,” Cummings said. “Every game, I get nervous whether it’s fall ball, practice or a big game, but the second that whistle blows, my teammates make me feel comfortable and I just think about lacrosse and that’s it.”

The butterflies disappeared quickly against Syracuse. Cummings snatched the first draw and took it straight to goal to start then-No. 4 Maryland on its way to a 19-11 upset of then-No. 2 Syracuse.

Cummings, a two-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year from McDonogh, went on to score five goals and win six draws against the Orange. She ranks third in scoring among the Terps (2-0) with seven goals and an assist behind senior All-Americans Katie Schwarzmann (10, 2) and Alex Aust (8, 2). She ranks first in draw controls with 11 of the team’s 34.

As a midfielder, Cummings plays both ends of the field, but her ability to handle the draw is a big asset to the Terps after graduating Karri Ellen Johnson, who took the draw and won a team-high 78 last season.

“Syracuse’s draw people have had a lot of success and Taylor pretty much dominated the draw in the first half,” Terps coach Cathy Reese said. “She was coming up with the draw to herself and being able to control the ball and get possession for us. She had a great shooting day as well. She was finding her openings and taking good looks, which I was impressed with because sometimes you get in there and people get really excited just to shoot. She’s making smart decisions on the offensive end.”

Cummings’ transition from being the No. 1 player on the No. 1 high school team in the country last season to being a starter on a second-ranked Maryland team aiming for a national champion has been fairly seamless. Cummings said she just wants to keep learning and contributing.

“Right now, my goal is just to mesh in with our offense and our defense and play like I’ve always played and really be confident," she said. "My coaches and my teammates give me a lot of confidence and have a lot of faith in me, so that makes it easier. We don’t need anyone to come in and be a star, because we already have so many stars, it’s just come in and be a team player.”