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March 16, 2018 — Preseason Statwatch for 2018

Hi, everyone. This year, we’re continuing our tradition of compiling girls’ lacrosse statistics from across the nation with a feature called Statwatch.

As you can see below, however, we have only a skeleton’s worth of returning players because last year’s tallies were very much senior-laden. That will change when the weekly compilations start getting published once most of the nation starts their seasons.

Below are some of the key stats from last year, from information partners such as, NJ Advance Media, The Harrisburg Patriot-News,, The Providence Journal, The Albany Times-Union, Long Island Newsday, The Worcester Telegram, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch,, the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MSG Varsity, the Ann-Arbor News, and The Washington Post:


312 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)

368 Braelie Kempney, Carthage (N.Y.)

177 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

746 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
534 Deanna Knobloch, Moorestown (N.J.)



March 15, 2018 — The real reason behind an industry downfall

After 70 years in business, the Toys R Us toy chain is slated to shut down in mere weeks, a circumstance necessitated by high debt, low sales, and competition from other sales outlets.

Well, that’s what the pundits on cable might tell you, but I think there’s one over-arching reason that the last big-box toy retailer is going out of business: toys, as a consumer good, are not what they used to be.

How? Just go to almost any American household the evening after Christmas morning. Long after the paper is ripped into and the boxes opened, are the children still playing with their new toys? Odds are, the answer is “no.” The average new toy, according to one survey, holds the attention of the average child from anywhere between five and seven hours.

HOURS. Not days or weeks.

Gone are the days of generic playthings like plain dolls, little red wagons, or small die-cast cars, where kids make up their own stories and dialogue around them.

These days, every toy has to have a backstory that is played out on a cartoon show or movie. And, as such, these toys are focus-grouped to death, and it is the Madison Avenue marketers — not real kids — who determine, nine months to a year ahead of time, what the “hot” toy is going to be.

Indeed, in the marketing of action figures for the movie “The Force Awakens,” the marketers completely blew a chance to capitalize on the popularity of Daisy Ridley, who plays the central character Rey. There were not enough Rey items in the pipeline when the movie opened, continuing the criticisms that women are marginalized in both science fiction and in Hollywood.

In terms of playthings, large and slow-footed corporations are less and less able to meet consumer demand. When, for example, the “fidget spinner” started becoming popular around April 2017, big-box stores had no clue what these things were. But as Google searches spiked in May 2017, cheap imports from China found their way into independent shops.

Toys R Us is the latest major toy outlet to close, falling after the likes of Kiddie City, Kay-Bee Toys, and Hammacher Schlemmer (although it is hanging on by a thread through its retail offerings).

To me, I think it will be very difficult for the likes of Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart to pick up the slack in the toy business. Kids want to try out toys in a toy store; curb appeal is very much an inspiration to get parents to part with their hard-earned money.

But then again, perhaps the closing of Toys R Us is an opportunity to reframe the very idea of recreation and play. Instead of buying a $75 gee-whiz-bang toy that shoots lasers and speaks in a certain way, why not buy your kid a $5 ball?

It allows him or her to play for hours, getting neighborhood children involved, and perhaps getting them to play their own games.

Fancy that.

March 14, 2018 — An apology

Your Founder has agreed to re-transmit a Twitter statement to attribute to Charlotte de Vries, a student and junior national field hockey team member who touched off an Internet firestorm last week because of her part in an Instagram Live video. Here it is:

I am deeply ashamed for using racist language, and there is no excuse for using such language in public or private. I realize that such words are offensive, uncalled for and, regardless of the situation, I should have known better. I take full responsibility and I apologize from the bottom of my heart to anyone and everyone who I have offended.

I have begun to have conversations about how to move forward, and how to develop better sensitivity and understanding of the experiences and feelings of others. I will do whatever is necessary, including having as many conversations as necessary, to show that I am sincere in my desire to truly learn and grow from this experience.

This has been a painful lesson for me. I had no right hurting people. I truly hope that my thoughtlessness is a lesson for others, as it has been for me, that words do matter and that they can be hurtful.

Charlotte de Vries

It is hoped and expected that this statement will help put this matter to rest.

March 13, 2018 — The national preseason Top 10

Some girls’ lacrosse Top 10 lists are done through meticulous research. Others by gut feeling.

As usual, this one is done off the back of a napkin, which is just short of throwing darts when it comes to choosing teams.

As per usual, however, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) has a great senior class and a tradition that is continuing under interim head coach Nancy Love and her staff.

Here goes:

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 22-0
2. Pittsford (N.Y.) 20-1
3. Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 17-2
4. Glenelg (Md.) 20-0
5. Garden City (N.Y.) 20-1
6. Baltimore Roland Park (Md.) 10-7
7. Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.) 19-5
8. San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) 23-0
9. Ridgewood (N.J.) 21-1
10. Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 18-2
And bear in mind: Novato (Calif.) 25-1, Darien (Conn.) 20-3, Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 15-2, Sykesville Century (Md.) 16-3, Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 14-6, Westwood (Mass.) 18-4, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 21-5, Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.) 21-5, Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 24-1, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 27-2

In a couple of weeks, when (more or less) everyone has started up, we’ll do weekly Top 10s every Tuesday. Stay tuned and bookmark this space.

March 12, 2018 — The latest in a long line

Davis & Elkins. Philadelphia University. Rhode Island. The University of Maryland at Baltimore County. Radford. Missouri State.

And today, Siena College, the small liberal-arts college in Loudonville, N.Y., announced that it was joining the aforelisted teams in shuttering its varsity field hockey team.

For a sport which has added teams in Brooklyn, Arkansas, and South Carolina over the last two decades, the erosion of field teams at the collegiate level has given the impression of a sport on a treadmill when it comes to growth.

Thing is, as far as I know, none of the teams that were jettisoned ever came back, even in this era of petitions and GoFundMe pages. And even after a momentary insurrection of the UMBC team back in 2007, there is currently no organized team that is part of the National Field Hockey League.

What we do know is that a 40-year tradition of women’s sports at Siena has been jettisoned.

And for the 17 student-athletes on the team and those who might have been considering the university, it’s one less outlet for the sport in this country.

March 11, 2018 — Business as usual, Part II

Since Syracuse started fielding a women’s lacrosse team in the mid-1990s, it has always tried to emulate and follow the best. And, of course, test each other on the field of play.

But when it comes to the Orange and the University of Maryland, the rivalry has been decidedly one-sided.

And with today’s 18-11 win by the Terrapins, the overall ledger in this rivalry is one win for Syracuse, and 22 wins for Maryland. The only time Syracuse has ever beaten Maryland was March 10, 2012 — six years ago yesterday. That was a game when Maryland outshot Syracuse 30-20, but goalie Alyssa Constantino had a remarkable game and Michelle Tumolo majestically controlled the midfield.

But in today’s game at the Carrier Dome, the Terps got good performances from several players. Kali Hartshorn was her usual excellent self in the draw circle (and occasionally on the wing), winning seven draws. Taylor Hensh had five goals, and Caroline Steele added four.

Megan Whittle, the senior attacker, had three goals, two assists, and five draw controls. She also extended what could prove to be a record-breaking statistic by the end of the season. She went 2-for-3 on 8-meter free position chances and is a stellar 18-for-22 (82 percent) on the season.

Now, I don’t know when NCAA teams started regularly capturing free position conversion rates in StatTracker-esque software, but I’m pretty sure that, with the improvements in both the quality of goalie and in terms of tactics by defenders on free-position opportunities, that you might have to go back to the wooden-stick era in order to find someone making as many as four out of five free-position opportunities for a season.

March 10, 2018 — Business as usual

Today, a series of friendlies were played at W. Boulton Dixon Field in Owings Mills, Md. featuring the likes of Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.), Bel Air C. Milton Wright (Md.), and Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.).

But for the host institution, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.), it was business as usual. All you had to do was watch the opening sequence to each possession at the center draw. Operating in the draw circle was senior Maddie Jenner, who was already in midseason form. She won draws to herself. She won them to areas. On a couple of occasions, she won them directly to teammates who were all by their lonesome on the edge of the circle.

McDonogh outpointed their visitors in the 50 minutes your Founder witnessed, and, that should not be surprising. The team culture that has authored a 177-game win streak is surviving the change on the touchline with Nancy Love on the sidelines instead of Chris and Scott Robinson.

And it also helps that distinguished alumna Taylor Cummings is helping the team out.

The team leaves late next week for its annual Florida road trip, playing against Vero Beach (Fla.), Novato (Calif.) and the superprep team from Vaughn Hill Academy (Ont.). From thence, a truer indication of the Eagles’ form will emerge.