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Archive for May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018 — Were the 2018 seedings for the NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse championship uncannily clairvoyant?

Back about 30 years ago when working in the dailies, I was assigned to cover a tennis tournament at an indoor facility in northern New Jersey.

The format for the state tournament for the state’s private schools was based on the individual performances in five separate tournaments. There were three tournaments for the individual singles players and two tournaments for the two doubles teams representing each school.

I arrived a little late and was wondering what I had missed when I walked into the tennis center. But when I looked at all five of the brackets for the five tournaments, all five had the No. 1 seed (as chosen by the coaches) against the No. 2 seed (also chosen by the coaches).

And, in all five competitions, the No. 1 seed beat the No. 2 seed. Every time.

It felt that way yesterday when it came to the NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse championship. The Final Four will have the top four seeds, just like the tournament selection committee decreed when they set up the tournament back on Selection Sunday.

But it wasn’t easy, not by a long shot. Both Maryland and Boston College were on upset alert into the second half, with Navy having taken a 12-9 lead on the Terps in the 34th minute, and with Stony Brook taking an 11-8 lead on the Eagles in the 44th.

In both of these games, however, both Navy and Stony Brook managed to fritter away their leads. Navy did so through an unusual accumulation of caution cards. The Mids committed eight bookable offenses during the game, including one sequence in which they got two cards in two seconds of game play, leading to a 7-on-5 extra-woman opportunity.

Stony Brook was extremely careless with the ball in the final 16 minutes of regulation. The Seawolves committed seven turnovers and managed only two shots on the goal frame. Too, Stony Brook committed a pair of ill-timed cardable offenses. I guess, when it comes to championships, the lacrosse gods have a way of having their say as to who plays for them.

And frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is not a new winner of the title holding up the trophy at the end of the final next Sunday; only five universities have won the NCAA Division I championship since Harvard won the title in 1990. And Maryland and North Carolina looked the most in-form yesterday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on the pitch a week from today.