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Archive for April 11, 2019

April 11, 2019 — A two-stage game

There was a pretty good lacrosse game a’brewing on Lakeside Field on the campus of Northwestern University. Two teams which have had the lion’s share of NCAA Division I women’s titles since 1995 (18, to be exact) were in the midst of a tight match heading to 12 minutes to go when a lightning strike stopped the game.

Players, umpires, and supporters sought shelter.

And then, it was decided that the game would resume in Ryan Fieldhouse, the artificial grass practice facility shared by a number of teams on campus.

Maryland dealt with the hour-long delay and the change of venue a bit better, outscoring Northwestern 5-1 over the last 12 minutes of the game and winning 17-13.

The win clinched the regular-season title for Maryland, though given both teams’ strength of schedule and quality wins this season, both teams are locks for the NCAA Tournament a scant 3 1/2 weeks before Selection Sunday.

If there was one thing that I’m taking from this game, however, it’s the execution of individual players on long free-position shots.

Thirty years ago, a free-position shot used to mean a step and a throw. Years later, you had skilled players like Quinn Carney who could take five steps into the fan, fake the goalie, and dunk it over her head into the cage.

But because free-movement rules now allow defenses to take both the left and right hashmarks next to a player on the fan no matter the position of the play was before the foul, players have had to develop different countermeasures because it is a near-guarantee of a double-team if a player takes more than a couple of steps into the fan before shooting.

Kali Hartshorn, Caroline Steele, and Selena Lasota chose to dial up free-position shots from long range, and scored off them.

Should be interesting to see what happens come tournament time.