Recruiting Insight from Drexel Head Coach Hannah Rudolff
Hannah Rudloff begins her third year at the head of the Drexel women’s lacrosse team (@DrexelWLax) in 2015-16 season. She was named the head women’s lacrosse coach in July of 2013 after putting in three admirable seasons as assistant coach from 2010-2013, in which she worked very closely to fine tune the Drexel attacking unit. Rudloff proved to be a strong head coach from the very start as she led the team to victory over Philadelphia’s rivals. Her teams have gone 4-1 against local rivals in her two years, including a perfect 2-0 mark against Villanova and La Salle in 2015.
Rudloff won her first game as a collegiate head coach in the Dragons’ opener in 2014, swiftly taking down George Washington 12-7. She would add victories over local rivals La Salle and Saint Joseph’s making a name for herself right from the beginning. Rudloff’s 9-8 win over Towson was just another highlight in her career to prove that she was the right choice for the head coach at Drexel. That victory handed the Tigers just their third regular season CAA loss in the past four seasons.
Rudloff has been responsible for coaching three All-CAA performers and an IWLCA All-Region honoree during her time as the Dragons’ head coach, and also played a huge part in mentoring 2014 Mary Semanik Award winner Amanda Norcini. Under Rudloff’s strong leadership during her time as an assistant, the women’s lacrosse team made notable strides in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons made the 2011 CAA Championship tournament for the first-time in program history, while in the next two years the Dragons continued to play in the post-season, after achieving the program’s most CAA wins with four.
In her previous years before becoming a huge impact at Drexel, Rudloff served as the assistant coach at Marist for the 2010 season for both the offensive and defensive units. She provided the team with strong insight about the game as well as her affective leadership. Rudloff helped the Red Foxes defeat Fairfield in the MAAC Championship Final to earn an NCAA Tournament entry.
Rudloff’s skills do not stop short at coaching as she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, where she fueled the Quakers to three undefeated Ivy League seasons. Rudloff and the Quakers moved on to the NCAA Final Four in each of her final three seasons at UPenn. This included reaching the NCAA championship game in her junior season. She attended nearby West Chester East High School where she earned First Team All-America selection in 2005.
My best advice is to think about why you’re really interested in playing Division I. It’s a big commitment, it’s fiercely competitive, and at the end of the day it will be the bulk of your college experience. Have a good answer for why you want to play DI as opposed to DII or DIII. If your focus is becoming the best individual lacrosse player you can be, and you are excited by the prospect of working extremely hard to help your team win championships, then you’re on the right track. I love it when a recruit comes into my office and isn’t afraid to say that they are willing to do what it takes to win a championship.
2) What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
All college coaches get emails all the time, but the best way to get on my radar is to include two things in the body of the email – 1) A specific reason why they are interested in my school and program. It could be that we offer a certain major, it could be location, it could be that you are excited by the schedule we play. This piece shows effort on your part and shows us that we’re not just getting a blast email. But more importantly it tells me that I wouldn’t be wasting my time if I choose to recruit you, because you genuinely already have thought about why you’d want to attend my school. 2) Include a short highlight video. Stats can only tell so much. If I can watch a couple minutes on you, that will at least give me a baseline of your athletic ability – speed, agility, awareness, etc.
3) What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
We like to recruit a mix of players that are raw athletes and players that are refined in their skills. There are a lot of roles to be filled on the field, and there are a huge variety of types of players that can fill those roles.
4) What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?
I’d focus on the mental side of the game as early as you can. Can you push through the last rep of a tough workout? Can you make a great play to get the ball back after you turn it over? Can you understand the flow of a game and make decisions appropriately on the field? These are skills that are vital at the highest level of the game, and ones that take the longest to develop, so we as coaches definitely look for signs that you are mentally tough and focused as we watch you play.
5) How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
I think the accelerated recruiting timelines have lead us to do a lot more homework before we become invested in a player. A player might look flashy early on, but we want to know if she’s playing other sports, if she has the work ethic to keep improving over her high school career, if she’s applying herself in school. We talk to their club coaches, their high school coaches, anyone who knows the player. The kids that have had the most success coming through our program are ones that their coaches can’t stop talking about, and so we really take that into consideration early in the process.
6) Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?
As much as coaches like to think we’re in control of the process, we aren’t. You hold the keys to the car. Take as much time as YOU want to make a college decision. It’s human nature to want to keep up with teammates who may be making commitments, but if you (or your daughter) hasn’t found a fantastic fit for her yet, don’t stop looking. If you can’t picture yourself at the school if lacrosse wasn’t in the picture, or if there was a different coach, you should really think hard about whether that school is the right place for you.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by the Drexel University or Hannah Rudloff.