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May 28, 2018 — Context and perspective from the 2018 NCAA women’s lacrosse championships

It’s all been going on when it comes to the three divisions of the NCAA championships as they have been crowning championships. Here are a few thoughts from this space:

  1. Last weekend, LeMoyne College won the NCAA Division II championship, bringing a national women’s championship to the city of Syracuse, N.Y. Wonder who thought that LeMoyne would bring a championship to Central New York before Syracuse University did?
  2. Speaking of Syracuse, the Orange may have had a mighty struggle to get into the bracket, but a few miles away from the site of the Division I final, the future of the Orange program seems to be rounding into focus. The U.S. Lacrosse National  Tournament yielded seven champions, including the third-highest division, the Oneida. In that tournament, South Florida thumped the Philadelphia 3 team by a score of 16-7, led principally by Caitlyn Wurzburger, who won the Heather Leigh Albert Award as a sophomore and gave her verbal to Syracuse in middle school.
  3. The NCAA Division III final between Middlebury and Gettysburg was postponed from yesterday due to torrential rain. I do not remember that ever happening before.
  4. A couple of interesting debates are going to begin anew after the tournament, and they surround a team which didn’t even make the national semifinal. The first question: was Stony Brook disrespected when it came to their seeding in the national tournament? Second, where do Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy fit into the history of women’s lacrosse? Should they be on lacrosse’s Mount Rushmore alongside legends like Jen Adams and Sue Heether and Cherie Greer and Taylor Cummings?
  5. By the same token, there is going to be an interesting debate in College Park, Md. over the next few years: where does Megan Whittle fit into Maryland women’s lacrosse history? The explosively brilliant forward has the career record for goals in the history of the program, but only has half the rings that Jen Adams did during her career. The difficulty of winning titles has increased between 2001 and today, for certain, with the number of teams in Division I and the level of competition has increased off the East Coast with the rise of Northwestern.
  6. As you might expect, one of the new rules played into the proceedings. In the second half, Boston College had just put in a shot from in close, but was called for a crease violation. James Madison self-started and was fouled immediately twice on the BC ride. About a half-minute later, Boston College committed a third foul in the midfield before JMU had a chance to get the ball into the final third, so a green card was duly called.
  7. James Madison, despite not having one of its defenders available for the last 24 minutes of the game, was able to make the plays in order to win. I think there will be a number of teams looking to get religion when it comes to defensive fundamentals in their recruiting.

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