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April 11, 2021 — One of the longest win streaks in scholastic field hockey comes to an end

The field hockey team at North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) had gone undefeated in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 season, a total of 58 games.

The first two matches of the season, the Wolverines continued their form, beating LaVerne Bonita (Calif.) and West Hills Chaminade (Calif.). But with a 2-0 loss to Huntington Beach (Calif.) on Thursday night, the team’s winning and unbeaten streaks ended at 60.

Let’s put this into perspective; the Harvard-Westlake win streak is the 20th longest that we have ever seen for a scholastic team, tied with the 60 games that Concord (N.H.) had between 1986 and 1989.

The win streak translates into a tie for 29th for all-time unbeaten streaks. Three schools — Harvard-Westlake, Concord, and Garden City (N.Y.) — all were unbeaten in 60 games.

Here’s a little more perspective: that Garden City team, playing from 1998-2000, also had a 32-game shutout streak, an amazing achievement.

Now, there are some of you out there that may consider central California an inferior competitive area compared to other regions and/or leagues. But Harvard-Westlake has not been averse to finding better competition over the years, traveling to St. Louis to play in the Gateway Classic on a number of occasions.

But the way I see it, a streak is a streak. And a hearty “Well-played!” from this corner.

April 10, 2021 — Who will join UNC in that ACC AQ game?

This afternoon, the eyes of the women’s sports world is likely to be on ACC women’s lacrosse, as two Top 10 matchups — UNC-Notre Dame and Syracuse-Virginia — are taking place.

But in field hockey, there are two enormous games in the ACC this afternoon which are likely to determine the identity of the team which will be playing the Carolina field hockey stickwomen in the one-game playoff to determine the automatic qualifier for the conference for the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Carolina, the ACC Tournament champions from last fall, will play the ACC team which has the best conference record in spring play.

Through games of yesterday, there is a logjam of teams looking to quality for that AQ match. As you can see, no team has been mathematically eliminated from the qualifier match, although one of the teams may be de facto eliminated already (more on that later):

TeamRecordGB
x-North Carolina3-0
Wake Forest3-11/2
Louisville2-21 1/2
Syracuse1-11 1/2
Boston College1-22
Duke1-22
Virginia1-32 1/2
x-Clinched berth in ACC AQ game

The two games, both at 1 p.m. today, feature Syracuse at Boston College and Louisville at Duke.

The Syracuse-BC match, I think, is going to be particularly intense. Both of these teams have had numerous matches postponed or cancelled because of COVID-19 protocols, and both have to feel as though a loss in this game will eliminate them entirely from contention for the AQ game.

You might say the same for Louisville-Duke, given the fact that these two sides are a half-game apart in the spring standings. Louisville was the team which is the only team that has been able to beat North Carolina during the 2020-2021 campaign, and even with their performance in the fall, that may not mean much to the NCAA Tournament Committee when they start assembling a bracket in a few weeks.

Now, even though Wake Forest is 6-9 overall, the Demon Deacons have been playing splendid and inspired hockey this spring, and now hold the No. 2 ranking in the ACC for spring play. However, Wake only has one more chance to improve on the record unless its April 2 game against Syracuse is rescheduled.

The rescheduling of that game could also give life to Virginia. You see, the best the Wahoos can do in spring conference play is 3-3. If Wake loses its last scheduled game and loses a rescheduled game with Syracuse, the Deacs will be 3-3 as well.

You get the idea: there is the possibility of a tie in the standings which could involve multiple teams. Let’s see how this all sorts out in the nation’s most prominent field hockey conference.

April 9, 2021 — Friday Monthly Statwatch for games played through April 7

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Statwatch, our monthly look at the numbers that tie field hockey’s present to the past, allowing comparisons along the continuum of time.

We didn’t want to go for too long without recognizing a significant coaching milestone that took place recently. With a 4-1 win over Worcester St. Paul’s Diocesan (Mass.), Patty Provost, the long-time head coach at Worcester Notre Dame Academy (Mass.) picked up her 600th career victory. She becomes the 18th known member of the 600-Win Club.

As usual, this is our smattering of American scholastic field hockey statistics from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Advance Media. We rely quite a bit on MaxPreps, which we believe is an easy platform for people to record their team’s data — so much so that it is now becoming a standard tool for playoff seeding in at least three states. I encourage coaches and managers to register for the MaxPreps.com platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams as well as perhaps your conference, league, or your state governing body to enter field hockey information there, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

GOALS
90 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
74 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
49 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
47 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
37 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary Academy (N.J.)
37 Courtney Farren, Woodbury Heights Gateway (N.J.)
34 Alaina McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwenedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
34 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
33 Kierra Ettere, Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
33 Rylie Wollerson, Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa.)
33 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
32 Julianne Kopec, Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic
32 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
32 Brynn Crouse, Dillsburg Northern York (Pa.)
32 Marita Johnson, Hudson (Ohio)
31 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
30 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
30 Maci Bradford, Delmar (Del.)

ASSISTS
35 Dylan Breier, Louisville DuPont Manual (Ky.)
28 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
28 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
27 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
25 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
25 Gianna Puorro, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
23 Grace Hughes, Oletangy Liberty (Ohio)
22 Kayla Kiwak, Exeter Wyoming Area (Pa.)
21 Alexis Kociban, Emmaus (Pa.)
21 Maddie Epke, Guilford (Conn.)
21 Kathrine McLean, Glen Gardner Voorhees (N.J.)
20 Carli Servis, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)

CAREER GOALS
233 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
198 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
141 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
141 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
135 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
131 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
115 Courtney Farren, Woodbury Heights Gateway (N.J.)
108** Elizabeth Yeager, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.)
105 Abby Hartwell, Franklinville Delsea (N.J.)
102 Kate Herlihy, Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.)
102 Alaina McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
97 Stevie Drum, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.)
96 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
**–five-year total

CAREER ASSISTS
136 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
110 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
91 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
77 Delmar (Del.)
60 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
44 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)

CONSECUTIVE UNBEATEN
77 Delmar (Del.)
60 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
44 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
41 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

While California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Illinois, and the United X League of Pennsylvania are all playing this spring, we could use your help. If you see a figure or total that needs an addition or correction, feel free to send us an email at TopOfTheCircle.com. Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

Thanks for dropping in, and we’ll be back in a month with field hockey’s Statwatch.

April 8, 2021 — And now, the wait

This afternoon, with a sit-down behind a white curtain in a pharmacy near the apartment, your Founder received the latest of nearly 3/4 of a billion worldwide injections of a Coronavirus vaccine.

As such, I’m expecting any one of a number of symptoms to hit me anytime over the next one to five days. Friends of mine have reported various side effects from body aches to headaches to fatigue. And at least one vaccine in current use is linked to the formation of blood clots in the brain, albeit it is a 1 in 250,000 chance.

But as my sister told me last weekend in a phone conversation, a small chance of a vaccine side effect is better than getting COVID-19, which can be lethal if left untreated. There are already nearly three million people worldwide who have died from the virus. While more than half a million are Americans, there are rising numbers in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) as well as the European Union.

As such, this pandemic is not only taking a horrific human toll, but an economic one. The United States, E.U., and the four developing BRIC nations are the world engines of manufacturing, and account for 3/4 of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.

Even though most present vaccines have proven to be effective in tests and have proven effective in a real-world application, there are still enough people around the world who won’t get the vaccine, which is a public health predicament of the highest order.

Some people are likely not to get the vaccine because of the lack of public health infrastructure in second- or third-world nations. Other people may choose not to receive vaccines because of suspicion or superstition. Still others are anti-vaccination because of political ideology.

Thing is, our world has eradicated pandemic disease before. World health agencies have declared victory over smallpox and rinderpest, and we’re nearly there when it comes to polio.

Why is this important? If enough people are vaccinated in a given population, a pathogen will not be able to spread, and will eventually die off.

Of course, given the fact that COVID-19 has at least five variants, the massive vaccination effort in the United States isn’t going to be enough yet.

But I’m doing my part. I hope each of you do the same if able.

April 7, 2021 — Yet another facet of game play affected by COVID-19

The field hockey community has been stricken hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve seen thus far:

  • States like New Jersey and New York truncating state tournaments to play down to sectional champions
  • States like Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Maryland having parts of their states playing either in the fall or in the spring
  • The ACC playing a fall and a spring season, with a winner-take-all game on April 23rd for the conference’s automatic qualifier bid
  • The NCAA cutting down the Division I bracket to a mere 12 teams, with only two at-large bids
  • The NCAA cancelling Division II and III tournaments altogether
  • The continued postponement of the U.S. women’s national team’s participation in the FIH Pro League, with no end yet in sight
  • California having to wait two months to start its season because of slow advice from the California Department of Health
  • Massachusetts playing under two different sets of rules in the fall and the spring, chiefly dealing with penalty corners
  • Massachusetts further playing under a completely different set of rules from everyone else, mandating 7-on-7 for the entire game

But wait, there’s more.

The Virginia High School League postseason is already under way with teams in 14 brackets playing down to four championships all scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 24th at home sites.

Now, the Class 4A, 5A, and 6A brackets all will have something that the 3A brackets will not have: a “tipping point” game which sees both regional semifinal winners advancing to the state semifinals, whether or not they win the regional crown. These regional semifinals are often some of the tensest and most competitive games of the entire season because the stakes are so high.

But in each of the 4A, 5A, and 6A brackets, only the winner advances; there is no eight-team state tournament in the VHSL this spring.

The bracket to watch amongst the 14 sub-tournaments is definitely the Class 5A Region A bracket. The bracket is seeded solely by district, meaning that long-time rivals Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) and Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) are going to meet April 12th at the National Training Center — in the octofinal round. These, remember, are the two teams which met for the Class 6A final in 2018 in what this site awarded as the No. 2 Game of the Year.

Looming on the other side of the bracket is a Gloucester team which has not played nearly the caliber of opponents that Cox and FC have, but is of no lesser quality. The Dukes have, as far as we can tell, shut out every opponent this season, so the April 14th semifinal match against the winner of Chesapeake Hickory (Va.) and Chesapeake Deep Creek (Va.) will be an interesting indicator, seeing as Gloucester will have had two weeks off between its last regular-season game and the 5A Region A semifinal.

Stay tuned. There are going to be some fireworks in Virginia over the next few weeks.

April 6, 2021 — Top 10 field hockey teams for games played through April 4

I hope you all didn’t blink last month, or you would have missed a lot of the Fall 2 regular season games, especially in California and Virginia. Though you had some good hockey last fall, there are some teams out there this spring who are finding an absurdly rich seam of form, and are handling up some good opponents.

Our RightToRightIsRight.com No. 11 Team of the Month is Coker University, which won the South Atlantic Conference Carolinas championship last weekend with a 2-1 win over Queens University of Charlotte. Coker is a small Division II college that plays out of Hartsville, S.C., and plies its trade in the South Atlantic Conference Carolinas, the alliance of two conferences that currently represent the sum total of all Division II field hockey this spring, seeing as the Northeast-10 and the PSAC didn’t play this academic year.

1. Delmar (Del.) 15-0
Season complete: Wildcats beat Bear Caravel Academy (Del.) 4-1 to win their fifth consecutive state championship. The stateliners yielded exactly two goals during the season whilst crafting a number of artful goals on the attack end

2. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 14-0
Season complete: Vikings got by Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.Y.) 9-0 to win NJSIAA Southwest D sectional championship

3. Emmaus (Pa.) 11-0
Season complete: Solid team effort gave the Hornets a 4-0 state championship win against Harrisburg Central Dauphin in the PIAA AAA final

4. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 14-0-1
Season complete: Beat Summit Kent Place (N.J.) 3-0 in NJSIAA Central-East E sectional final

5. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 17-0
Season complete: Beat Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.) 3-0 to win PIAA Class A final

6. Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) 0-0
Season complete:
 Sacred Heart has finished its playdays and did not have a timed, scored, and umpired game during the open week of competition in November

7. St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 14-0
Season complete: 
Won Midwest Field Hockey Association championship with a 1-0 overtime win over St. Louis John Burroughs (Mo.) on a backhand golazo by Taryn Tkachuk

8. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 8-0
Falcons have been dominant; outscored their last three opponents by a combined 36-0; first VHSL playoff match is next Monday against rival Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) in a game which almost certainly should be the Class 5A grand final like it was in 2019

9. San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) 11-0
Season complete:
The Falcons’ month-long season (no CIF postseason) included signature wins over Serra and Scripps ranch, and the team survived a player who moved away as well as another who is playing lacrosse in the spring

10. Cohasset (Mass.) 13-0
Season complete: Dominated all comers in the South Shore League; it’s an open question how they would have done in the MIAA state tournament bracket

11. Coker University 6-2
Season complete: Cobras didn’t have it easy this season; the last seven games of their season were one-goal games

And bear in mind:  San Diego Serra (Calif.) 9-1, Glastonbury (Conn.) 14-0, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.) 2-0, Longmeadow (Mass.) 6-0, Walpole (Mass.) 8-0-1, Franklin (Mass.) 11-0-2, Andover (Mass.) 6-0, Dexter (Mich.) 16-0-1, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 12-0-1, Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 13-1, Charlotte Providence Day School (N.C.) 12-0, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) 7-1, Columbus Bishop Watterson (Ohio) 18-3, Palmyra (Pa.) 15-2, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.) 16-2, Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 6-0, East Greenwich (R.I.) 9-0, Vienna James Madison (Va.) 10-0, Gloucester (Va.) 6-0

April 5, 2021 — A major change in American soccer

This morning, it was announced that a number of soccer leagues in the United States, including the NWSL, MLS, the National Independent Soccer Association, and the United Soccer Leagues, will be participating in a pilot program to manage in-competition head injuries.

Under the rules, teams will still be allowed to substitute up to five players in three distinct windows. But the rules here in the U.S. will allow up to two concussion substitutions for players suspected of having received a concussion.

These two substitutes are can occur whenever a concussion occurs or is suspected, even after a player has been assessed and has returned to the field of play (similar to the James Rodriguez situation during the 2014 World Cup).

Under the regulations, whenever a concussion substitute is used by one team, the opposing team is allowed an additional substitute in addition to its original five.

Concussions have become a going concern in worldwide soccer because of not only some high-profile players having received them in World Cup tournaments, but also because of repeated head traumas by former players who have died from dementia brought on by chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

The players who have come out as having post-concussion syndrome, such as former England internationals Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles, played soccer with a heavy leather ball and, until the mid-60s, no substitutes except for an injury to a goalkeeper.

Today’s game comes with a much lighter soccer ball, but one which goes faster. Too, the caliber of athlete contesting for header is a lot better, meaning that any collision between players is likely to be more injurious to the heads of the players. I have seen players running headlong into goalposts, players lowering their heads for a header only to be met by an opposing boot. and players jumping into each other for headers, all of which have led to some nasty injuries.

The new substitution rule is a great idea for pro teams to manage head injuries. Let’s see how quickly these become written into the universal Laws of the Game.

April 4, 2021 — Towards a parallel resurrection?

When my parents died, one of the things I inherited was the only new car they ever had, a 2000 Ford.

It was a car which I used to transport Papa to visit Mama when she was in rehabilitation after that awful sepsis infection in 2010, and I would drive him to various and sundry places like the diner, the doctor, and the day I had to go up to the hospital to spring him after he was found with a golf club, mismatched socks and shoes, and a box of buttons.

At about the same time, my sister would often borrow the Ford to go from place to place whenever one of her cars had to go to the shop. She kept a plastic box of ashes (not hers, but a few ounces of ashes from the barbecue we held in her honor after her funeral) in the rear compartment. These ashes — an outward sign of an inward grace — remain there to this day.

The Ford became a link to my parents in a deep, deep way.

When I was a teenager, Papa would sometimes ask me, “When you get older, will you drive me around in your little car?” This was before I ever started driving classes. But when he lost his vision and his ability to drive in his mid-70s, the prophesy came true. Whenever I came home, I drove him to many places.

I would also help Mama with the groceries, also unloading them even during that terrible day when she almost fell down on the lawn because she was trying to walk on the uneven grass.

This past week, the Ford’s check-engine light went on. I have an appointment scheduled this week with a Ford technician, but, after 21 years of service, I think it is about time to let go.

I’ve felt a range of thoughts and emotions, which are magnified by the fact that I have been very much isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic for the last year.

Look, I know it’s just a car. But it’s so much more — a tangible link to the past.

And perhaps, time to let go.

April 3, 2021 — A game of runs, a season defined by runs

Lacrosse is a game which begins its action with a draw, a process designed to create a 50-50 ball in the midfield. As such lacrosse is very much a game of runs — phases of play where teams can score many consecutive goals.

In the last month, NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse has seen three of the most dominant phases of play we’ve seen in a third of a century observing the game.

On March 6, Boston College was playing even with a North Carolina team which was the consensus preseason No. 1 team. In the final 90 seconds of the first half, Charlotte North scored a goal to cut BC’s deficit to three. Seconds later, UNC got a penalty card and had to play short for two minutes.

Boston College did not score in the last minute of the first half, then lost the draw to open the second, which allowed UNC to bleed away the rest of the power play. North Carolina then went to work. In the first 11 minutes of the second half, the Tar Heels went on a 7-0 run that set off the running clock.

Last Monday, Northwestern played the second of a two-game series against the University of Maryland. The game came two days after Maryland yielded the most goals in a game since the varsity program began in 1974. Maryland, to its credit, made adjustments and played the Wildcats even in the first half.

Northwestern, however, scored a buzzer-beater to end the first half. The goal seemed to change both teams, because, over the next 15 minutes, the Wildcats scored 10 straight times. It was an 11-goal barrage which set off the running clock and led to an eventual 20-10 win.

Today, the ACC league match between Syracuse and North Carolina — a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game which had been anticipated for weeks — had a similar run. Though Syracuse had taken the initiative in the first few minutes of play, running out a 4-1 lead, North Carolina still had a senior-laden lineup supplemented by not only some otherworldly talented underclasswomen, but a defense which had to go against that offense every day in practice.

North Carolina, from the 20th minute to the 36th, outscored Syracuse 10-0. The Carolina defense held Syracuse to just two goals in the second half. That’s something which is completely unheard of in the possession-clock era of women’s lacrosse.

So, we’ve seen these three dominant runs — all amongst elite teams which were in the Top 15 of the national polls. These three runs rival what happened in the 2007 national semifinals when Virginia outscored Duke 10-0 to end the game. But remember: Duke was running a stall in the second half, taking the Blue Devils out of their rhythm. As a result, the perception was that the result was not a product of Virginia’s domination on the attack end, but more of Duke’s passivity.

What do you think about the three multi-goal runs in the NCAA in the last month? I have a Twitter poll up on this subject. If you’re on the microblogging site, feel free to add your two cents here.

April 2, 2021 — Preview: Syracuse vs. North Carolina

Tomorrow, the top two NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse teams meet up in what could be a signature game of the 2021 season. Here’s our fearless preview of the contest:

THE SIDES: Syracuse (6-0, 4-0 ACC); North Carolina (10-4, 4-0 ACC)

AT STAKE: In truth, not much except for the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. Both of these teams are locks for the NCAA Tournament, no matter what happens in this game or how they play in the conference tournament.

But intrinsically, this could very well be a bellweather game to see how these players do under the pressure of an excellent opposition, a national cable audience, and knowing that the teams could meet three times … one regular season, once in the ACC Tournament, and once in the NCAA bracket.

WHEN SYRACUSE HAS THE BALL: Credit the Syracuse offense for sheltering the load evenly after the season-ending injury to attacker Emily Hawryschuk. The junior attackers Megan Carney and Meaghan Tyrrell have been splendid, with 42 goals between them.

Key defenders for the Tar Heels are going to be Caroline Wakefield, Emily Nalls, and Catie Woodruff. Watch also for Elizabeth Hillman and Emma Trenchard on the back end; these two defense wings are capable of swooping in and scoring.

WHEN NORTH CAROLINA HAS THE BALL: Jamie Ortega (43 goals) and Katie Hoeg (31 assists) are having championship-level seasons. Scottie-Rose Growney (27 goals) and Tayler Warehime (21) are equally good options. Trying to go against this high-level offense are Orange defenders Ella Simkins, Sarah Cooper, and Kerry Defliese.

I think the key is going to be if the Syracuse defense can cut the cord between Hoeg and Ortega. But as we’ve seen in the sport over the years, that is easier said than done.

KEY MATCHUP: I think the key matchup is going to be within the four players who collapse on draw controls after the centers pull back on the ball. Ella Simkins of Syracuse and Kerrigan Miller of UNC are going to be very busy in this regard. Keep track on how many ground-ball pickups are won in between the 35s rather than which of the two centers win the draws to each other.

THE X-FACTOR: Goaltending, which always seems to happen in high-level games. Syracuse’s Asa Goldstock, after having four sometimes shaky seasons, has gotten a lot more consistent this year. Check our her year-by-year save percentage numbers:

2017: ,412
2018: .438
2019; .420
2020: .481
2021: .536

In a sport where a 55 percent save percentage almost guarantees you a spot in the Hall of Fame, the improvement is remarkable.

On the other end of the pitch, UNC’s Taylor Moreno has always played at a high level, and, frankly, could have a Tewaaraton moment this game on the level of Megan Taylor during the 2019 title match.

THE SKINNY: Syracuse has played the No. 1 women’s team in the ILWCA polls 27 times since the program was started in the 1990s. The Orange, however, are only 2-25 in those games, including not only a 12-9 win over UNC in 2014, but also a 2012 NCAA semifinal match whose denouement, involving a pocket check, changed lacrosse forever. The incident led to the institution of the rule which requires that a goal-scorer drop her stick for an immediate pocket check by the umpiring crew.

North Carolina, as a team which is incredibly loaded on the attack end of the field, has been expected to be the 2021 champions. Because of this “championship or bust” perception, I think all of the pressure is on the UNC team. But I’ll remind you that Boston College played UNC tough earlier this season, but scored 11 straight goals in the 12 minutes surrounding halftime.