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Archive for April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019 — A forensic Final Third

Yesterday, I was hoping to do another Final Third whiparound women’s lacrosse broadcast, featuring games between Stony Brook and Southern California, Notre Dame and Duke, and James Madison and Hofstra.

That is, before the sinus infection I got last week due to pollen. But even though I haven’t been able to talk over the weekend, I still have plenty to say through my fingers.

I saw the Stony Brook-USC game as a last best chance for both teams to improve their non-conference resumes; and I thought this was especially important for Stony Brook, as this side had been the No. 1 team in the country a year ago. But credit the Seawolves for pulling out a 12-10 win, which could be a critical one for the NCAA Tournament Committee.

The Duke-Notre Dame game was one that I saw as a matchup of contenders. Notre Dame has been my “team of the future” for several years, and I thought Duke was going to be a team in the ascendancy in the ACC after a couple of years of heartache. However, the Blue Devils have endured a swoon in the ACC, losing to Virginia, Boston College, and Syracuse, then yesterday losing to Notre Dame.

Duke’s malaise is hard to figure out; the team, thanks to the Jenner sisters, have dominated the draws, winning nearly 7 out of 10. Also, the Blue Devils have been outstanding in the first halves of games, outscoring the opposition 143-78. But if there is a deficiency on the team, it’s on defense. Opposing teams are scoring at nearly 60 percent from the field, something you would never expect from a Kerstin Kimel-coached team.

The final game which I would have liked to have done in Final Third wound up being an overtime thriller amongst two of the leading teams in the Colonial Athletic Association. The teams were at the top of the league table, undefeated in the CAA, and the sides traded the lead throughout until Arianna Esposito leveled the match at 8-8 in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

This led to extra time, which saw your defending national champions pull it out in the ninth minute of sudden death, with Maddie McDaniel finishing off a neat three-way passing play.

It will be interesting to see if the wins by JMU, Notre Dame, and Stony Brook have an effect on their seedings in the NCAA Tournament when the brackets come out in a shade under three weeks.