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Hanover High graduate, lacrosse standout adjusting well on field with Duke

  • Hanover High graduate Maddie McCorkle (28) runs onto the field for her Duke women's lacrosse game with High Point at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., on March 11, 2021. McCorkle is a freshman midfielder for the Blue Devils and is seeing her first game action since losing her senior high school year to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Former Hanover High standout Maddie McCorkle has seen limited game time in her freshman season with the Duke women's lacrosse team.

  • Maddie McCorkle, of Hanover, comes up with the ball after a brief loss of possession while challenged by Marina McMahon, of ConVal, in Hanover, N.H., Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Hanover won 17-6. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2021 10:05:48 PM
Modified: 4/7/2021 10:05:45 PM

Despite the pandemic-induced cancellation of her senior girls lacrosse season at Hanover High, Maddie McCorkle didn’t feel like she missed out on much.

McCorkle broke her foot during an NHIAA Division II girls basketball semifinal against Lebanon High in early March last year. Because of COVID-19’s impact on hospitals and healthcare, she was unable to have her surgery until late April. And given her recovery timeline from the procedure, she would have missed her entire Hanover lacrosse season with the injury, even without the pandemic.

Even though she couldn’t put any weight on her broken foot, she kept her lacrosse and her conditioning fresh through whatever means possible. She continued stickwork and found ways to condition and stay in shape that accommodated her injury. She rode a stationary bike, worked with ropes and even rode her scooter around her neighborhood for exercise.

McCorkle was heading to Duke University for women’s lacrosse in the fall and knew she couldn’t fall behind.

“Knowing that what was ahead for me, I needed to be in the best shape I could be coming here, so that motivated me,” McCorkle said. “My dad (Sammy, a Dartmouth College assistant football coach) helped me. We found some pretty interesting ways to keep in shape, because I can’t just sit at home all day. It’s really hard for me. I was trying to get cardio on the scooter, doing all these crazy things, because I knew that I had to be prepared coming here.”

McCorkle was unable to put weight on her foot until late May or early June, when she started wearing a boot. She recovered, was out of the boot over the summer and continued her preparation with the Blue Devils.

COVID-19 wiping out McCorkle and her Duke freshman teammates’ final high school seasons affected their transition to the next level. But that wasn’t the only impact the pandemic had on the freshmen.

While the Blue Devils were able to practice normally in the fall, the offseason was abnormal because of COVID. Normally, Duke would play several scrimmages against other teams, a good opportunity for freshmen to get acclimated to the speed and skill level of college lacrosse. Those games didn’t happen this year.

Duke women’s lacrosse head coach Kerstin Kimel said missing those scrimmages had a bigger effect on her freshmen than missing their senior high school seasons did.

“We had quite a few intra-squad scrimmages where we brought officials in, so it could feel as real as possible,” Kimel said. “But the reality is there’s just no replicating going out on the field and playing against another team, someone wearing a different jersey. Those scrimmages were good and valuable, and I thought that our freshmen did very well in them. It’s just different when you can’t play against another team.”

With the injury well behind her, McCorkle settled in at Duke.

There was a learning curve early on, but she felt the work she put in during and after her injury prepared her for it. She credited her teammates and coaches for helping her adapt.

But she’s still undergoing the same adjustment in time management that many first-year college athletes experience.

She said the time management in the offseason at Duke compared to in-season required its own adjustment as well.

“Now that we’re in the season, we have meetings before practice, you have recovery because you’re practicing so much, you have film, and practice is extra long, so it’s definitely more of a time commitment,” McCorkle said. “I’ve definitely had to get even better at (time management) in the spring, because your days are just so scheduled out, like every single minute between class and practice.”

McCorkle has played in two games for the Blue Devils this season. Her main role is on Duke’s scout team, helping the team prepare for upcoming opponents during practice.

Going from a standout player in high school to scout team in college is a big change, but McCorkle has embraced her role. She takes pride in pushing her teammates in practice and making each other better. She was recently recognized by teammates as scout team player of the week.

Kimel emphasizes to her freshmen the opportunity to try different things on the field and improve their own games while helping the team prepare with what the scout team provides.

She’s pleased with the way McCorkle grasped that role.

“Maddie has done a great job,” Kimel said. “I think her multi-sport background, as well as being the daughter of a coach, has really helped her to perform well. Is it translating to meaningful time in games yet? It’s not, but she’s making really great progress.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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