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Archive for May 31, 2007

May 31, 2007 — Hitting the lottery

Over the weekend, the U.S. Lacrosse Women’s Division Tournament was played. As per usual, champions were determined in several age groups, and individual awards were presented to outstanding players.

One award, the Heather Leigh Albert Award, has gone to the top player in the high-school division. It is an award which has been a predictor of great things for its winner over the years: luminaries such as Katie Chrest, Lauren Aumiller, and Sheehan Stanwick have won it.

But over the years, it started to go to rising seniors or younger, not to players who have already been signed and sealed and headed off to college.

That is, until a senior-only division of the Women’s Division Tournament was formed. With it, a new award — the Beth Stone Award — was created for the top player in the senior tournament.

The odd thing is that the winner of the trophy, Mary Dean, is going to a school which doesn’t even have a lacrosse team … yet.

Dean, a senior at Cheltenham (Pa.), is committed to the University of Louisville, which is planning on a full-time Big East schedule in 2009.

For Kellie Young, the former James Madison head coach, being able to attract Dean in her initial recuriting class of 22 women is like hitting a women’s lacrosse lottery. How often does a brand new team in any field of sport get to start off its history with the best available personnel?

Heck, some pro sports in North America don’t let expansion teams have the first pick in the draft anymore; of the expansion teams in men’s pro sports since 2000, only Major League Soccer and the National Football League have allowed brand new teams the first overall selection.

Of all the new teams coming on line the next few years — Georgia, Florida, Miami, South Carolina — the most interesting could very well be Louisville. Keep an eye on them.