By Greg Laudani, Staff Writer
Not many people can say they are the best at something. Laura McHoul can, but she’d rather not.
The UNH women’s lacrosse attacker is riding a record-breaking season this year. On April 18, the junior penciled her name into the program record books. McHoul notched three assists that day against Boston College, pushing her career total to 102 – the most of any player in school history.
McHoul gobbled up another pair of accolades during her stellar performance against the Eagles. She became the first woman in program history to record three seasons with 30-plus assists and the second to reach 100 career assists. Those numbers have put McHoul in the vote for America East Women’s Lacrosse Fans’ Choice of the Year award with six other women.
McHoul still has a full season ahead of her, and has already become one of the most decorated UNH players ever. However, the junior is not one to speak too highly of herself. When asked about her historic accomplishments, McHoul made it clear that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“Just to keep working, getting better and making the team better,” McHoul deflected. “Just holding the team to higher standards.”
Head coach Sarah Albrecht was quick to praise McHoul’s importance to the team.
“She’s a playmaker,” Albrecht said. “She’s made a huge impact for us and she definitely deserves the awards for the work she’s put in and for what she’s done for us on the field.”
In terms of playmaking, Albrecht said McHoul’s ability to dodge defenders and outstanding passing skills have made her a “huge threat” to opposing teams.
Now coaching her third season in Durham, Albrecht has been alongside McHoul since the beginning of the standout’s collegiate career. Albrecht said she has seen “a lot of growth” from McHoul since she arrived at campus as a freshman.
“Coming into her first season, she had a lot of potential,” Albrecht said. “She had a lot of good stick skills and some good dodges, as well. But I think over the past few years she’s really been able to develop and especially this year; she has really come into her own and found a way to get to the net.”
Albrecht continued, “I think she’s worked really hard at that and putting that together with the stick skills that she already had, she is really able to make a huge impact for us.”
Junior attacker Nicole Grote said McHoul is one of the team’s most popular players. Grote said that McHoul makes teammates her top priority.
“She has so many friends on the team that look up to her because her play is unbelievable and her personality is great,” Grote said. “She’s funny and outgoing and she will always care for our teammates. She’s a huge support for everyone on the team.”
McHoul has a way with words. The junior’s ability to find light and humor in difficult situations is something that Albrecht said lifts teammates spirits’ when morale is low.
“She can definitely keep the mood a little lighter,” Albrecht said. “She has a quick wit that I appreciate. She’s able to make her teammates smile when they’re down or when they need a little boost on the field.”
Albrecht also praised McHoul’s energy. The head coach said that McHoul is sparkplug on the field, energizing her teammates with emotional play.
“She’s also that excitement,” Albrecht said. “She plays with a lot of emotions. You can see her emotion and her intensity on the field. And I think that translates to her other counterparts.”
According to the program’s assist leader, team chemistry is the key to success. McHoul said that the Wildcats are a very close-knit team that knows one another extremely well. The Wildcat standout added that this connection between teammates is helpful in keeping one another either relaxed or zeroed in, depending on the situation.
“Since we are all such good friends with each other, we know when it’s a good time to crack a joke and keep things light at practice to keep it fun,” McHoul said. “But at the same time, we know when it’s time to work and get down to business and to compete with each other, not to take things personally on the field because what happens there is not going to translate off the field.”
Perhaps the most apparent example of chemistry between teammates is McHoul’s friendship with Grote. The two women have been friends since they met as freshmen at preseason training camp. Grote said that her and McHoul are attached at the hip and have a great relationship.
“Laura and I are best friends,” Grote said with a smile. “We’re best friends on and off the field; I can always go to her whenever I need anything.”
Speaking of McHoul and Grote being attached at the hip, their coach calls the pair “Tweedledee” and “Tweedledum” after characters from the 1999 film “Alice in Wonderland”. The names are famously given to a pair of individuals who often look and act in similar ways.
When asked about the title her coach gave her and McHoul, Grote jokingly replied, “She’s dumb” while referring to her best friend.
Albrecht said McHoul and Grote act like the two identical characters from “Alice in Wonderland”. The head coach said the two players have a similar sense of humor and they are a fun pair to be around.
“They just act like Tweedledee and Tweedledumm,” Albrecht said. “They are always together. They get along very well and are very good friends; they bounce off each other so well.”
At the team’s annual banquet last week, McHoul and Grote showcased their humor while roasting senior players. Albrecht called the comedy performance “absolutely hysterical.”
McHoul’s humor, coupled with her compassion for her teammates and skills on the field, have helped her emerge as a dependable leader for the Wildcats.