TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

March 11, 2016 — United, and going forward

The countdown can now begin: the United Women’s Lacrosse League will now begin in 78 days with a doubleheader at Lehigh University.

The four teams — Philadelphia, Boston, Long Island, and Baltimore — don’t yet have rosters, colors, or nicknames. But at least fans know where to find the matches.

May 28 — Baltimore vs. Long Island at Lehigh University, 3:15 p.m.
May 28 — Philadelphia vs. Boston at Lehigh University, 5 p.m.
June 10 — Boston vs. Baltimore at UMass-Amherst, 6 p.m.
June 11 — Long Island vs. Philadelphia at UMass-Amherst, 2 p.m.
June 18 — Philadelphia vs. Baltimore at Marlton Cherokee (N.J.), 11 a.m.
June 18 — Long Island vs. Boston at Marlton Cherokee (N.J.), 2 p.m.
June 24 — Philadelphia vs. Long Island at Lehigh University, 2 p.m.
June 24 — Boston vs. Baltimore at Lehigh University, 5 p.m.
June 25 — Philadelphia vs. Boston at Lehigh University, 2 p.m.
June 25 — Baltimore vs. Long Island at Lehigh University, 5 p.m.
July 9 — Batimore vs. Philadelphia at Westtown (Pa.) School, 2 p.m.
July 9 — Boston vs. Long Island at Westtown (Pa.) School, 5 p.m.
July 15 — Baltimore vs. Boston at River City Sportsplex, Richmond, Va., 2 p.m.
July 15 — Long Island vs. Philadelphia at River City Sportsplex, Richmond, Va., 4 p.m.
July 16 — Boston vs. Philadelphia at River City Sportsplex, Richmond, Va., 2 p.m.
July 16 — Baltimore vs. Long Island at River City Sportsplex, Richmond, Va., 3 p.m.
July 29 — Semifinals at Baltimore or Owings Mills, Md. 2 and 5 p.m.
July 30 — Final at Baltimore or Owings Mills, Md., 1 p.m.

It’s interesting how the structure of the team runs; it reminds me of the way this site envisioned a national field hockey league, with all teams playing multiple games on weekends at the same site.

The locales for each match weekend vary, but are linked to various national lacrosse tournaments such as the National Draw and the Capital Cup. Despite the team monikers, no game will be played on Long Island, and Baltimore won’t see action until the championship final, which will either be held at the lacrosse stadia at either Stevenson University or Loyola.

Two of the regular-season match weekends have two matchdays rather than one. These weekends could very well jumble the four-team standings, especially the final weekend held in Richmond. A team with a two-game lead in the standings could wilt in the typical July heat of Virginia.

The league offers a bit of FIFA-esque scheduling, overlapping the final matches at the River City SportsPlex so to deter collusion on results, but allowing fans to watch the start of the Boston-Philadelphia game and the end of the Baltimore-Long Island game.

Bear in mind, when you’re saving dates, that a handful of matches are going to be held on Friday, which might not make for optimal viewership unless you’re part of the lacrosse event to which the match weekend is linked.

The UWLX is a concept whose time has come, especially as an outlet for lacrosse players of all stripes. Some 200 applications have been received for roster slots for the four planned teams, meaning that the planned rosters may have to expand.

The new league will also be an incubator for new rules packages. It’s been announced that the 90-second possession clock will be in use for the new league, and there could be minor alterations to U.S. Lacrosse rules.

I’m hoping this works out well for all involved, and that this could help boost the profile of the sport amongst adult players. And it might teach the field hockey people a thing or two.

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