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Archive for April 5, 2018

BULLETIN: April 6, 2018 — The career NCAA goals record has fallen

This afternoon, in a 21-3 win over Hartford, Stony Brook University senior attacker Courtney Murphy scored five goals to break the previous NCAA Division I scoring mark of 289 goals, which was set by Temple’s Gail Cummings between 1985-1988.

I’ve found it interesting that, with the panoply of truly great talent in collegiate women’s lacrosse teams over the last 30 years, that nobody else had broken Cummings’ record. That’s because the game has changed so much over the last 30 years when Cummings was playing for the legendary Tina Sloan Green.

Back then, Temple and the rest of Division I played a much different game. The only markers on a women’s lacrosse field were the arc, fan, crease, and the goal lines, placed anywhere from 90 to 100 yards apart.

There was no possession clock, no restraining line, and not even coaching boxes. Members from both coaching staffs were allowed to patrol both ends of the field, shouting plays and encouragement to their players.

The pace of play, back in the day, was dictated by the offense. Though teams would keep seven or maybe eight in the attack zone, there would be times when a quick-thinking third man would swoop in from the defensive end, beat the opposing third home down the field, and score on a quick-stick.

Cummings also scored her goals in an era when she was holding a stick made out of wood, made the traditional way with leather and gut strings. She also played in an era when women’s lacrosse players were multi-sport athletes, not single-sport specialists.

Murphy’s background is as unassuming as her run to the record. She was a multi-sport athlete from Shirley William Floyd (N.Y.), a school which has never had a sniff of a state title. But evidently, Joe Spallina saw something in her that has allowed her to be one of the leaders of the top women’s lacrosse team in the current national polling.

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April 5, 2018 — Grudging incrementalism

In a world of satellites, driverless cars, and viral video, the Augusta National Golf Club is driving a horse and cart.

The club, which runs the Masters golf tournament, only admitted its first female members this decade, and this week announced that it would allow women to play a tournament on the course.

But, in the kind of incrementalism that frustrates many people in the sports world but for those who advocate for women’s equality, the tournament is going to be an amateur championship, with two rounds held at the nearby Champions Retreat course, with only the top 30 playing the final round at the hallowed greens of Augusta National.

The tournament is being held the same weekend as the ANA Inspiration, the tournament formerly known as the Dinah Shore, so LPGA schedulers in the future will have a Hobson’s choice to make. Will the LPGA take the opportunity to push for a full LPGA event that weekend? And if so, what happens to the Inspiration tournament?

Too, what is going to happen to the “major” status of the current five women’s golf majors? I can’t see the powers-that-be demoting the Women’s PGA Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, or the Women’s British Open, which leaves the Inspiration and the Evian Invitational in France as the other two majors.

I can’t see women’s golf — or any sport — with six major championships on its calendar. That, frankly, devalues the concept.

Somehow, I see a licensed Women’s Masters coming along, with perhaps the Inspiration, the Lorena Ochoa Match Play tournament, and the Evian being part of a World Golf Championship-like circuit.

How about it, LPGA?