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Archive for May, 2017

May 31, 2017 — A special guest

I don’t know exactly when the notion or imperative came in to extend and overlap college sports seasons so that it is nearly impossible to play more than one sport today.

Perhaps part of it came from the fact that the college bowls are always played during the traditional months of the winter sports seasons, and have been since the first Rose Bowl was played in 1901. And where there was only one bowl game in 1930, there are more than 30 of them today, hindering the chances of a college athlete to play basketball, wrestle, swim, or place ice hockey during the winter.

This is what made Kenzie Kent’s last month for the Boston College women’s lacrosse team such a surprise and delight. Kent came to B.C. primarily to place ice hockey, although you might get an argument from some people on this. Kent’s mother, Jennifer, is an assistant coach for B.C., and Kent was on head coach Acacia Walker’s radar when she was just seven years old.

Kent’s major accomplishments thus far have been in ice hockey. She is an alumna of the world-famous Assabet Valley girls’ ice hockey program, and has been capped for the United States U-18 national team in a couple of major tournaments.

At B.C., Kent has helped her team to three NCAA Division I Final Fours under the guidance of head coach Katie King-Crowley, who was part of the Olympic gold medal-winning side at Nagano in 1998. Indeed, just last year, the Eagles took a 40-0 record into the national championship game, but dropped a 3-1 decision to a Wisconsin team coached by 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey legend Mark Johnson.

After the women’s hockey team ended its season, Kent came back to the lacrosse pitch and Boston College would win 11 out of its last 13 games. The Eagles had a certain bounce in their step, playing quicker and with deadlier intent. They were a different offense with her in the lineup, and the NCAA Tournament Committee noticed. Despite the fact that Boston College did not win the title this year, Kent was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for her five-goal, five-assist effort. It was the most points in a final since Maryland legend Jen Adams had 10 points — all in the second half — against Princeton in 2000.

Now, we don’t know whether Kenzie Kent’s future will be in the UWLX or the NWHL, or with whichever athletic endeavor she is able to develop into that kind of transcendent figure. But we do know that her sister Addison is coming to The Heights for the fall of 2017. Her primary athletic choice: women’s lacrosse.

Watch out, people. With both Kent sisters and Sam Apuzzo on attack, you have to believe that Boston College is going to be an insider choice for the 2018 national title.

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May 30, 2017 — Top 10 for the week of May 28

The girls’ lacrosse season takes a turn this week, as sectional championships are determined in New Jersey, the Pennsylvania public-school teams hurtle towards their two title holders, and New York determines section winners.

Our honorary No. 11 Team of the Week is the Division III champion Gettysburg women’s lacrosse team. The Bullets won their second title in the last six years with a 6-5 win over The College of New Jersey.

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 22-0

Season complete: Beat Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 12-9 in IAAM Class “A” championship game; win streak now at 177 games

2. Ridgewood (N.J.) 21-0

Maroons will take on Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) in Group IV semifinal tomorrow

3. Glenelg (Md.) 20-0

Season complete: Gladiators beat Bel Air C. Milton Wright (Md.) in MPSSAA Class 3A/2A final

4. Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 14-2

Mustangs play Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) today in NYSPHSAA Section XI Class C final

5. San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) 23-0

Season complete: Beat a very good Poway (Calif.) side in the CIF San Diego Open Division championship

6. Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 17-2

Season complete: Blazers had momentum in the first half and the lead until McDonogh went on a 7-0 run to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 10-4 lead

7. Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.) 21-5

Season complete: Beat Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 14-7 in PAISAA final

8. Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.) 19-5

Season complete: Cardinals got the ball in overtime and overcame a late comeback in the VISL title match against Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)

9. Northport (N.Y.) 13-4

Northport meets Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.) in the NYSPHSAA Section XI Class A final today

10. Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.) 15-3

The co-op team featuring Newfield and Centereach have a major obstacle to the Section XI title today against Northport

11. Gettysburg 21-3

After taking the lead with under three minutes to go, the Bullets were able to stall the ball the rest of the way, something usually found in the TCNJ playbook

Who’s out: East Setauket Ward Melville (N.Y.) 8-7 loss to Northport (N.Y.); Brighton (N.Y.) 8-6 loss to Webster Thomas (N.Y.)

And bear in mind: Darien (Conn.) 16-3, Orlando Bishop Moore (Fla.) 20-4, Milton (Ga.) 19-4, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 19-4, Moorestown (N.J.) 19-2, Fayettteville-Manlius (N.Y.) 15-3, Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) 15-3, Garden City (N.Y.) 16-1, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) 18-2, Massilon Jackson (Ohio) 20-0, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 20-2, Wilson West Lawn (Pa.) 22-1, Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 20-1, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 27-2

May 29, 2017 — Frank Deford, 1938-2017

Frank Deford was a multimedia sports figure before people figured out what it was. He was an enterprise writer for Sports Illustrated for five decades, often penning the long-form pieces in the back of the weekly. He did radio commentary for National Public Radio, in a sense taking the crown of must-hear radio from Howard Cosell after the discontinuation of “Speaking of Sports” in 1992.

Deford was also afforded long-form video reporting as part of the team of journalists on HBO’s Real Sports, where his incisive interviews of Olympic officials unveiled the sewer of corruption inherent in the Olympics.

But Deford’s greatest triumph may have been found in the rubble of his greatest failure.

From February 1990 to June 1991, Deford was the managing editor of The National Sports Daily, a national tabloid newspaper which promised a daily dose of sports news, plus a long-form enterprise feature every single day in the centerfold.

The National struggled against competition from local and national print media. It also struggled to overcome obstacles in the distribution network. To be as current a paper as possible, it wanted to have dozens of print centers where late-night box scores could be inserted for a 2 a.m. print run.

Close to the end, The National wanted to start distributing its content in a different format: a dial-in entertainment and news service called CompuServe.

A quarter of a century later, the Internet distributes most sports news and related content. Many of The National’s alumni have gone over to television.

But a lot of the good writing has gone to the Internet, with sites like SportsJones, Grantland, and Deadspin pushing the bounds of the journalistic craft.

I don’t think, towards the end of his life, Frank Deford liked seeing the corporate ownership of the news media, with ESPN: The Magazine reflecting the network’s programming (an oversaturation of football, little or no hockey or auto racing, and women are seen but not heard).

I also wonder what he thought of his beloved Sports Illustrated, which seemingly gets thinner and thinner every month.

Deford, like his compatriots Howard Cosell and Tony Kornheiser, all made their mark in multiple media outlets. And as such, he was successful at most of them.

May 28, 2017 — Maryland 16, Boston College 13

POSTGAME That’s all for now; thanks for reading

POSTGAME Maryland got great performances today from Caroline Steele and freshman Kali Hartshorn and took advantage of a couple of breaks in order to win the game. Hartshorn has three more years, and it will be extremely interesting to see how she is able to add to her all-around game in the next three years

POSTGAME Boston College, with Kenzie Kent in the lineup, is scary good. They are as good as the Northwestern attack when it features both Selena Lasota and Danita Stroup. The box skills in the small spaces as well as the rapid-fire passing wreaked havoc with the Maryland close defense. Kent just won the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament, as she should

POSTGAME Full marks to Boston College, who fed off Kenzie Kent’s abilities in tight spaces in order to keep competitive even after Maryland’s four-minute spurt in the first minutes of the second half

FULL TIME It is Maryland’s 13th national title but it is the first time since 2001 since Maryland finished off an undefeated season with a win in the title game; the Terps have not had the best luck in championship games when coming in unbeaten, having lost four times in finals when presumably the overwhelming favorite

FULL TIME And the final horn goes with Maryland winning the game 16-13

59:56 BC YELLOW Kent is off for dissent

59:14 BC YELLOW Elizabeth Miller is off for two minutes for the check to the head

59:00 But the Eagles throw it away in turn; not what you want at this point of the match, either

58:34 Eagles win the draw but turn it over to Whittle, who goes to goal and misses the cage! Eagles back it up and get possession off that 10-man ride

58:28 BC GOAL Apuzzo with her own rebound and the Eagles are down just 16-13

57:56 Whittle holds the ball on the end line but the umpire calls her out of bounds; with the goalie out of the cage, this isn’t what you want at this stage of the game

57:34 TIMEOUT MARYLAND

57:09 It’s a four-goal game but it could be just a two-possession game here with the time on the clock

57:09 BC GOAL Kent with a trail check and finds Apuzzo on the left side for the low finish; Maryland leads 16-12

55:53 Lauren Daly is back in the goal cage for Boston College

55:53 TIMEOUT BOSTON COLLEGE

55:53 UMD GOAL Hensh storms up the right wing and scores! Wow! Terps lead 16-11

54:01 UMD GOAL Nadine Hadnagy gets the ground ball in the defensive end and passes up the easy dumpoff to Whittle and chooses Caroline Steele on the right wing; Steele rewards Hadnagy with the goal and the Terrapins lead 15-11

52:50 Ochoa saves Giles’ shot on the man-up! Key stop in this situation

52:02 BC YELLOW Arsenault is off for the check to the head; her first, team’s second

51:20 UMD GOAL Hartshorn, the freshman, is left wide open on the crease and Giles finds her! Terps lead 14-11

50:30 BC GOAL Kent runs in, cradles with one hand, and bounces it under Taylor while falling on the goal crease line; is that legal? The umpires let it stand and Maryland leads 13-11

50:04 The next few minutes is where this game is going to be won or lost

50:04 TV TIMEOUT

50:04 UMD FP and GOAL Hensh, from the right hash, makes B.C. pay for the mental error and the Terps lead 13-10

50:00 Taylor Hensh takes it into the arc, loses it, but a B.C. defender crosse-checks her even as the ball it not in possession. If the player takes the ball rather than the opponent, it would be Eagle ball

47:56 UMD GOAL Caroline Wannen comes from behind the cage, leaves her defender on the ground, beats Ochoa! Maryland leads 12-10

47:20 Boston College goes for goal but mishandles it and Taylor cleans it up

46:05 Hartshorn wins the draw, but the first pass out of the double-team is on the ground and Boston College gets possession

46:00 BC GOAL Kent finds Dempsey Arsenault wide open on the crease, and she won’t miss from there. Maryland’s lead is 11-10

45:30 Kaileen Hart hits the crossbar with the shot!

42:28 BC GOAL Kent cuts in from the right, brings it low to high, finds net! Maryland still leads 11-9

41:19 TV TIMEOUT

41:19 UMD GOAL Whittle with the speed move, Terps up 11-8. The genesis of this possession is Colson, who came up with the ground ball as B.C. was making some fancy attack in the eight

39:34 BC GOAL Kent simply goes 1-on-1 with an overhand bouncer! Boston College is down 10-8

38:19 B.C. manages to reset the clock with a shot on the goalie; Maryland’s Hadnagy is clothned by a B.C. defender on the ground ball, no call?

38:15 BC FP Kayla O’Connor whips it wide

36:37 BC GOAL Kent is able to split two Maryland defenders and scores while being hit from two sides; Maryland still leads by three

35:04 TV TIMEOUT

35:04 BC GOAL Weeks with the cut, receives the Kent pass and finishes low again on Taylor! It’s 10-6 Maryland

34:29 Ochoa is back in the goal cage now for the Eagles

34:29 UMD FP and GOAL Giles strikes from the center-right hash! Terps lead 10-5 and they’re threatening to run away with it

33:57 Daly is still in the goal cage; Ochoa is on the sideline but she has not taken her helmet off, interestingly

33:57 TIMEOUT, BOSTON COLLEGE

33:57 UMD GOAL Jen Giles gets a wide-open lane along the right wing and she beats Daly; Terps lead 9-5

33:15 UMD GOAL Steele takes the rebound of a Giles shot and buries it; Maryland leads 8-5 and Daly has barely touched the ball. That first Whittle goal was the absolute worst outcome that could have happened for the Eagles

32:30 Boston College wins the next draw but drops the ball at the arc; Terps gladly scoop up the groundball

31:57 UMD GOAL Whittle finds Steele who cuts and dribbles it off Daly’s leg; Maryland up 7-5

30:19 UMD GOAL Stukenberg finds a wide-open Whittle, who shoots over Daly; Maryland leads 6-5

HALFTIME Boston College has been going with rotating goalies all year; Zoe Ochoa was super in the first half; will Meghan Daly follow on with the same kind of effort?

HALFTIME Credit Boston College’s defense with standing up tall against the Maryland offense and exploiting tendencies. The Eagles are shutting off Stukenberg and are allowing Whittle room to try to make a highlight-reel move

HALFTIME Neither side is particularly shooting well; these are teams which can score five goals in under five minutes under concentrated effort

29:57 Maryland awarded the ball off the scrum and are content to end the half with the score tied 5-5

29:47 BC FP From the extreme left hash, Apuzzo gets triple-teamed

26:59 Stukenberg awarded the ball just outside the arc, but with just one second on the possession clock. Ochoa swallows up the angled shot

26:55 With the shot clock winding down, there is a fight for possession

23:25 UMD FP Jen Giles fires it right at Ochoa and Boston College wins the ground ball

23:03 BC FP O’Connor fires it wide of the cage into Taylor’s goal stick

21:09 UMD FP With Stukenberg at top-dead canter, Maryland with an encroachment! A mental error leads to the turnover

19:59 BC FP and GOAL Laura Frankenfield, from the center-left hash, powers it in! We’re tied 5-5!

18:28 BC GOAL Kate Weeks catches Kent’s pass and backhands it in! Eagles within a goal!

16:27 BC FP and GOAL From the right-center hash, Kent finds net under Taylor; Maryland still leads 5-3

16:24 Kenzie Kent is loose on the right wing and makes a diving shot attempt reminiscent of a Gary Gait or a Casey Powell. Kent is fortunate to get the call and the free position

13:49 TIMEOUT, BOSTON COLLEGE

13:49 UMD GOAL Caroline Steele is the beneficiary of a neat four-way passing play. Huge call to Maryland freshman Lizzie Colson, who made a one-handed catch of Taylor’s outlet pass, outran the B.C. ride, then got the ball to the right spot for the pass play to begin; Maryland leads 5-2

11:22 Whittle is open on the left wing and has her shot blocked; she can’t buy a goal these days

10:30 UMD wins the draw again; that’s 6 of 7, albeit two were awarded rather than earned

10:25 TV TIMEOUT

10:25 UMD FP and GOAL Pass low onto the crease to Steele, who fakes Ochoa and scores! Maryland leads 4-2

9:39 BC YELLOW Brooke Troy is off for two minutes for the crosse-check

8:27 UMD GOAL Hartshorn finds Caroline Steele , who is decked, but fires through two other players to give Maryland a 3-2 lead

7:30 BC GOAL Sam Apuzzo makes a nice cut into the circle and fires it under Taylor! Wow! Game tied 2-2!

6:30 UMD PC Megan Whittle tries to beat four players; Ochoa makes the stop

4:45 Boston College playing three players high to pressure the ball and give up a three-second call. Now that three-seconds is a minor foul, the Eagles will be willing up to give up that foul all day long

4:03 BC GOAL BC GOAL Kenzie Kent with a nice flip to a cutting Sam Apuzzo; the Eagles are within one

3:00 Boston College rushes one with plenty of time on the possession clock; Megan Taylor eats up the long shot

1:52 UMD GOAL Taylor Hensh follows her shot after having the initial attempt saved by Ochoa and finishes! Maryland leads 2-0

0:44 Wannen hits the post with the shot!

0:10 And because of the foul, Maryland gets the draw again; can Boston College afford more of these?

0:10 UMD GOAL Hartshorn, playing the wall pass with Zoe Stukenberg, scores while being fouled; Maryland leads 1-0

0:00 Boston College is late getting its players on the pitch and the ball goes to Kali Hartshorn, the Maryland center. Wow; the table official is getting involved real early here

PREGAME Boston College is in the all-maroon with gold trim; Maryland is in the white with red numbers and shoulder trim reminiscent of the Maryland flag

PREGAME All that being said, Maryland should win this game. But there’s every reason to believe that Boston College can overcome Maryland’s talent on the pitch

PREGAME This crowd is going to be an early-riser, but definitely a pro-Boston College crowd. That could make a difference, especially if the game is close late

PREGAME Given the lack of flexibility coaches have shown in letting student-athletes play two sports, I cannot remember any time in the last 20 years when a single player from another sport has changed the fortune of a top women’s lacrosse team in any of the NCAA’s three divisions

PREGAME A huge talking point in this game is going to be the play of Boston College junior Kenzie Kent. Since the end of the women’s ice hockey season a few weeks ago, her presence on the women’s lacrosse team has resulted in a change in the Eagles’ fortunes. Boston College has scored 16 or more goals in nine of their last 11 games. Coincidence?

PREGAME Maryland is 22-0 on the season; Boston College is 17-6

PREGAME Welcome to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. for the 38th NCAA Division I women’s national title match featuring Big Ten champion Maryland and ACC at-large berth winner Boston College

May 27, 2017 — USA vs. Ireland: what we’ve learned

The U.S. senior women’s field hockey team, on the cusp of trying to qualify for its first World League Final as well and hosting the 2017 Pan Am Cup, trotted out a very new and inexperienced lineup for a three-game Test series against Ireland at Spooky Nook last week.

From watching the video and noticing a couple of other things about the States’ lineups the last three games, here are a few things we should be taking away from this tournament:

  1. The back foot. The United States fell into a counterattacking style of play, rather than the “first tackle, first foul, first shot, first goal” ethic that has marked their play for most of the last decade. It therefore took a while for the States to get going in a couple of their games.
  2. Back to “square one” on corners. The retirement of Lauren Crandall and Rachel Dawson means the loss of two of the States’ primary dragflick options. The U.S. tried straight strikes from Melissa Gonzalez, Ashley Hoffman, and Kat Sharkey as well as different options on pass plays. Julia Reinprecht’s retirement meant the loss of an excellent corner flyer, but Gonzalez was able to fill that role admirably.
  3. The young Americans. Six players made their international debuts in the first game of the series. Add to that the players who debuted during the Hawke’s Bay Tournament earlier in the spring, and this is truly a team in transition.
  4. With arrivals come departures. USA Field Hockey has announced a number of player retirements over the last few months. But other departures have been quieter, such as the first-person story by Paige Selenski and the move of Kelsey Kolojejchick to Syracuse’s coaching staff.
  5. And then there are departures. If you look at the revised U.S. women’s national team roster as updated April 27th, there is one name missing, and her number reassigned to another player. And that player is Katie Bam, the only American field hockey player to ever win an “Athlete of the Year” award from a major sports or media organization when she won the team-sport honor from the Women’s Sports Foundation. The last we saw of her, she went down injured from a severe foul tackle from a German player in the Olympic quarterfinals nearly a year ago. In the unsentimental and unforgiving world of international sport, even the great ones have an end to their careers. I’m hoping I’m reading too much into the roster change.

May 26, 2017 — Friday Statwatch for games played through May 24

One of the more unexpected aspects of this job is discovery.

We’ve been seeing a lot of this recently, especially given how uneven the statistical gathering is across America. Its hoped that this feature of the website will get teams, schools, leagues, or state governing bodies to adopt the easy-to-use MaxPreps.com platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams to enter their information there as well as whichever is your local news site, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

I’d like to see this occur especially in suburban Boston, where we were only able to find statistical icons through some extraordinary effort. Last year, for example, we saw Sophia Turchetta, a senior from Harvard Bromfield (Mass.) who wound up with 785 combined goals and assists, far and away the highest total for any high-school career.

But this week saw the end of the career for senior Taylor Pinzone of Waltham (Mass.). In a 22-16 win over Boston (Mass.) Latin, she scored 17 goals to bring her career total to 520. But more extraordinary is that she brought her combined goals and assists total to 667, a higher figure than Turchetta recorded in her last four years of high school.

What you see below are compiled from, amongst others, MaxPreps.com, 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, MassLive.com, the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MSG Varsity, the Ann-Arbor News, and The Washington Post:

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
160 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
140 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
131 Camryn Rogers, Somerville (N.J.)
126 Brennan Dwyer, Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.)
124 Kaitlin Mead, Sparta (N.J.)
115 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
115 Elizabeth Murphy, Centreville (Va.)
111 Jordan Shugrue, Laurel St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)

109 Hailey Carroll, Fulton (N.Y.)
105 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
105 Abagail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
92 Victoria Tucci, North Brunswick (N.J.)
90 Allison Hunter, Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.)
83 Sydney Hogan, Branford (Conn.)

81 Madison Dunk, Durham (N.C.) Academy
81 Lea Cox, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
79 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
74 Sydney Roderick, Adams South Jefferson (N.Y.)
74 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
69 Allie Level, Novato (Calif.)

68 Madeline Hooks, Santa Ana Mater Dei (Calif.)
68 KateReagan Costello, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
520 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
472 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
381 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)

371 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
353 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
334 Ally Mastroianni, Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)
329 Lindsay Gerrato, Berkeley Heights Governor Livingston (N.J.)
313 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
312 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
305 Abigail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)

263 Jillian Girardi, Watertown (N.Y.)
265 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

250 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
242 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, CAREER
306 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL POINTS (COMBINED GOALS AND ASSISTS), CAREER
667 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
601 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
561 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)
577 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)

539 Ally Mastroianni, Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)
529 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
524 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)

466 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)
430 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
414 Jillian Girardi, Watertown (N.Y.)
409 Lindsay Gerrato, Berkeley Heights Governor Livingston (N.J.)

394 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
374 Abigail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)
367 Braelie Kempney, Carthage (N.Y.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
177 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

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

If you see something missing, 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 stopping by this site, and we’ll see you next week.

May 25, 2017 — Inside the NCAA Division I Final Four

Tomorrow, four Division I women’s lacrosse teams will enter the pitch at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Only one will leave Sunday morning with the championship. Here’s our inside look at the four competing sides:

MARYLAND
Record: 21-0
Against the Final Four (2-0): Beat Boston College 21-13, beat Penn State 16-14
Key Players: Megan Whittle (jr., a), Zoe Stukenberg (sr., m), Nadine Hadnagy (sr., d), Kali Hartshorn (fr., c), Jen Giles (so., a/m), Megan Taylor (so., g), Caroline Wannen (sr., a), Caroline Steele (so., a)
Intangibles: At times, the Terps have won with ease. At other times, such as in last week’s win over Stony Brook, they’ve made it hard on themselves. But last weekend’s adversity showed who would step up in the clutch. And those players were Giles, Steele, and Wannen on the attack end and Hartshorn on the draws.
The skinny: Maryland, on paper, is one of the two best teams in the country. Yet, as the TopOfTheCircle.com Third Law of Lacrosse says, “games aren’t played on paper.” After all, the other “best team on paper,” North Carolina, fell by the wayside last weekend. They should get it done this weekend, but they’ll have last year’s loss to UNC in the backs of their minds.

NAVY
Record: 18-4
Against the Final Four (0-1): Lost to Boston College 20-11
Key Players: Jenna Collins, (jr., m), Julia Collins, (jr., c), Kelly Larkin (fr., a), Marie Valenti (so., d/m), Ingrid Boyum (jr., g), Blake Smith (jr., d), Morgan Young (sr., a)
Intangibles: As a head coach, nobody has been to more NCAA women’s Final Fours than Cindy Timchal. She has known more about the little pressures that are put on a program, how to get her teams workout time and rest.
The skinny: Can the Navy defense pull together after losing top defender Meghan Hubley to a lower-body injury?

BOSTON COLLEGE
Record: 16-6
Against the Final Four (1-1): Beat Navy 20-11; lost to Maryland 21-13
Key Players: Sam Apuzzo (so., a), Kate Weeks (sr., a), Kaileen Hart (jr., a), Dempsey Arsenault (so., d/m), Zoe Ochoa (sr., g)
Intangibles: The biggest intangible on this team wears No. 4; that’s Kenzie Kent, a player who has only been in 10 games this season because she is also on the women’s ice hockey team. But she has more than fit in after her season on ice, contributing pace and skill.
The skinny: Did any of you have Boston College as the last ACC team standing this year? Neither did I. Yet, B.C. has always recruited well and has been on the edge of turning the corner. The Eagles also had the most unexpected result of the tournament when they beat Syracuse 21-10 in the octofinal round. This is a glorified home game for Boston College, and that cannot be discounted.

PENN STATE
Record: 17-3
Against the Final Four (0-1): Lost to Maryland 16-14
Key Players: Katie O’Donnell (jr., a), Steph Lazo, (sr., a), Madison Carter (so., a/m), Cat Rainone (sr., g)
Intangibles: Carter, just a sophomore, has scored 69 goals on the season, and has been stupendous on draws this year, winning 123. She should be getting more Tewaaraton and national team attention soon.
The skinny: Much has been made of the closed hegemony of women’s lacrosse; since Harvard won the title in 1990, exactly five schools have won the NCAA Division I championship. Penn State was the school winning the title immediately before that, and the Nittany Lions have had so many close calls despite having some enormous talent.