Archive for May 28, 2012
Here are a few thoughts from last night regarding the 2012 NCAA Division I championship, won by Northwestern 8-6 over a game Syracuse team:
1. Shannon Smith cannot be contained. Despite everything Syracuse threw at her, she still was able to regularly get the ball behind the goal cage and create havoc, finding teammates such as Erin Fitzgerald for quick goals. The greatest goal-scorer in National Federation history should now be prepared for a gala dinner at Hunt Valley sometime around November of 2023; her Hall-of-Fame plaque is already being carved.
2. Syracuse wound up playing Northwestern’s game on Sunday. After scoring 17 and 13 goals their last two games, the Orangewomen managed only six last night. Here’s the glaring stat, however: take the last 10 minutes of both halves, and Northwestern outscored Syracuse 5-0.
3. Another key statistic: Northwestern won 12 draws to Syracuse’s four.
4. The Orange didn’t help themselves with some untimely mental errors. Like Maryland on Friday night, Syracuse received multiple cards in the last five minute of play, resulting in a Northwestern a 7-on-5 extra-woman opportunity (EWO). It’s not the kind of thing you want to do if you’re already playing short.
5. Speaking of that yellow card, it was the culmination of a number of incidents which occurred at the 56:27 mark of the match. It all started when Northwestern’s Taylor Thornton fouled Katie Webster, making an aggressive move to goal despite the fact the Orange were playing short for two minutes. The umpire took an unusual amount of time replacing her held flag, making a number of observers think that she was ready to hand Thornton her second yellow card. But before Webster could take her shot, Northwestern called for a pocket check on SU’s Sarah Holden. The umpiring crew made everybody put down their lacrosse sticks for the pocket check, and Gait headed onto the field, seemingly to start coaching his team during a timeout that he said he called in postgame remarks. However, Holden’s stick was found to be illegal, negating a free-position shot that could have brought Syracuse to within one goal. A throw was called, and Gait was yellow-carded for being on the field.
6. Michelle Tumolo’s second yellow in the final two minutes of play was, seemingly a bit more than that. As the Tewaaraton nominee was leaving the pitch, she touched the game official and said something to her. The official scorebook shows a red card rather than a second yellow, which meant that even if the game was equalized, Syracuse would have to play 10-on-11 in overtime.
7. Since the start of national television coverage of the Division I final in 2003, the talent level in the broadcast booth has been, at best, inconsistent. But former Bowdoin college goalie Joe Beninati, the play-by-play voice of the Washington Capitals, hit the ball out of the park in the semis and in the final.