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Archive for May, 2019

May 25, 2019 — Notes on a semifinal round that was historic and a little weird

  • The last time an NCAA Final Four in women’s lacrosse was held at Homewood Field, the ancestral home of American lacrosse, was May of 2001. In the last game held there, the final between Maryland and Georgetown, both starting goalies — Alexis Venechanos and Bowen Holden — were pulled from the contest as their opposing teams made runs.
  • Oddly enough, none of the four starting goalies last night managed to play the entire game. Boston College’s Abbey Ngai was pulled in the first half for Lauren Daley after giving spotting UNC a six-goal lead, while Taylor Moreno of North Carolina was pulled for Elise Hennessey in the second half as the Eagles pulled themselves level in the second term. Mallory Weisse was pulled from the Northwestern goal as Maryland asserted its offensive dominance in the second half, while Maryland’s Megan Taylor was pulled in the final two minutes with the result secured.
  • Speaking of results, the two semifinal games were the highest-scoring NCAA semifinal round games in history. The four teams combined for 69 goals, more than 17 goals per team on average, which has not happened in any of the three NCAA divisions.
  • Indeed, there was almost an historical oddity: never have all four national semifinalists ever scored 15 goals in their games. Northwestern fell two short of joining its three sister teams in the feat.
  • That’s because the Wildcats went scoreless the last 19 minutes of the match, a power outage that is going to be the team’s main focus of motivation and conversation between now and the start of fall-ball.
  • Northwestern fell despite having a minor edge in the center draw; the Wildcats had 20 controls and Maryland 19, and the Wildcat midfielders managed to hold the Terps’ Kali Hartshorn to five draws controlled. But Maryland’s Lizzie Colson and Erica Evans were also credited with five draw controls each.
  • The final several minutes of regulation and overtime in the Carolina-BC game were about attacking “the wedge,” that area of about 33 3/4 degrees from the edge of the fan to goal-line extended on either side of the crease. Usually, it’s a pretty difficult shot because of the tight angle, but Sam Apuzzo, on the game-winning goal, was able to make it work.
  • The second game was delayed some 20 minutes because of an unusual event: the first time a substitute was made for a shot clock.

May 24, 2019 — Friday Statwatch for games played through May 22

This week, instead of casting your eyes downward to our collection of stats, move your eyes a bit to the right (that is, unless you’re viewing this on totc.mobi, in which case you need to scroll further down). Go to the Daily Statwatch category for Goals Scored, Season, and look at all of the players highlighted in orange who have invaded the list like a horde of Mongols. Half of the top 12 single-season goal-scoring performance of all time have occurred this season.

Too, Bailey Gehler moved to within a goal of Brittany Sherrod on the current list, but fell short in a season-ending loss in the CIF San Diego Section tournament. Will Sherrod be able to withstand late-season challenges as a number of states finish their seasons? Stay tuned.

Below is combination of girls’ scholastic lacrosse statistics from available sources, including MaxPreps.com, NJ Advance Media, The Harrisburg Patriot-News, The Providence Journal, The Albany Times-Union, Long Island Newsday, The Worcester Telegram, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MassLive.com, the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MSG Varsity, the Ann-Arbor News, and The Washington Post.

I encourage you to convince your team, your school, league, or state governing body to adopt the easy-to-use MaxPreps.com platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams to enter their information there as well as whichever is your local news site, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
158 Brittany Sherrod, Versailles Woodford County (Ky.)
157 Bailey Gehler, San Diego Our Lady of Peace (Calif.)
154 Eliz Fino, Highland (N.Y.) Central
154 Francesca Frieri, Lockport (Ill.)
146 Madaleine Champagne, Livonia Stevenson (Mich.)
145 Katelyn Murphy, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.)
125 Madi Tare, Camp Hill Trinity (Pa.)
125 Lois Garlow, Kenmore Mount St. Mary’s (N.Y.)
125 Abbey Peterson, Versailles Woodford County (Ky.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
108 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
103 Caitlyn Wurzburger, Delray American Heritage (Fla.)
77 Lois Garlow, Kenmore Mount St. Mary’s (N.Y.)
77 Maddi Koury, Pottstown Owen J. Roberts (Pa.)
73 Balay Woodworth, Dallas North Paulding (Ga.)
71 Bella Mims, Clermont East Ridge (Fla.)
69 Kayla Rinaldi, Mooresville Lake Norman (N.C.)
69 Maddie Barber, Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.)
69 Sydney Reipl, Tinton Hall Trinity Falls (N.J.)
66 Meghan Decker, Watchung Mount St. Mary Academy (N.J.)
66 Sadie Tschider, Piedmont (Calif.)

CAREER GOALS SCORED
408 Caitlyn Wurzburger, Delray American Heritage (Fla.)
371 Madi Tare, Camp Hill Trinity (Pa.)
331 Cassidy Spilis, Tabernacle Seneca (N.J.)
316 Mariana Lopez-Ona, Princeton (N.J.)
314 Erin Coykendall, Spencerport (N.Y.)
305 Hannah McCarthy, Bedford (N.H.)
290 Kira Sides, Lower Cape May Middle Township (N.J.)
250 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
213 Keara Patterson, Fulton (N.Y.)

CAREER ASSISTS
440 Caitlyn Wurzburger, Delray American Heritage (Fla.)
293 Erin Coykendall, Spencerport (N.Y.)
273 Keara Patterson, Fulton (N.Y.)
217 Maddie Barber, Lower Cape May Middle Township (N.J.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
45 Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.)

COACHING WINS
794 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)

I invite you to send us an email at TopOfTheCircle.com if you see something missing or wrong. Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

Thanks for reading our site and we’ll try it all again next week.

May 23, 2019 — Inside the Final Four, part 2

MARYLAND vs. NORTHWESTERN

The obvious: There will be one Big Ten Conference team in Sunday’s championship final … these teams have met a number of times in the NCAA final … Think of this: one or the other of these two sides was in the NCAA final every year between 2005 and 2017

The not-so-obvious: Though both Cathy Reese and Kelly Amonte-Hiller are from the same coaching tree, there’s no love lost between these two coaches … Rivalry between the two came to a head in the 2010 final, a game in which the Wildcats could have stretched an early lead to six but for a bench penalty called while Northwestern was on an odd-man break

Key players: UMD: Caroline Steele, sr., f; Kali Hartshorn, jr., c; Megan Taylor, sr., g; NU: Selena Lasota, sr., f; Izzy Scane, fr., f; Brennan Dwyer, so.,c

UMD wins this game if: Hartshorn is able to win the ball to herself against Dwyer … Lizzie Colson is perfect on clearing the ball into the final third … Taylor makes more than 12 saves

NU wins this game if: Lasota gets five or more goals … Dwyer gets more than 50 percent of draw controls … the box-and-2 defense works again on Steele and Jen Giles as it did in the Big Ten final

The skinny: Maryland is in an odd position at the moment: the No. 1 seed, even while most of the American women’s lacrosse punditry had Boston College winning the championship … Draw control battle between Hartshorn and Dwyer is going to be fun to watch … Lasota is one of the finest attacking players ever, and it’s stunning that this is going to be her first Final Four match

The unanswered question: Taylor has stolen a number of games for the Terrapins over the years. Can she do it again if Northwestern’s attack is as sharp as it was in the Big Ten final?

May 22, 2019 — Inside the Final Four, part 1

NORTH CAROLINA vs. BOSTON COLLEGE

The obvious: An ACC team is guaranteed to play for the national title this Sunday … in most other years, this game would make a heck of a final … teams met only a few weeks ago in the ACC final and top-seeded Boston College was knocked off 15-13

The not-so-obvious: The Eagles have been peaking for this moment since losing the 2017 title match to Maryland … UNC has done extremely well on the attack end even with the graduation of all-time great Marie McCool.

Key players: UNC: Jamie Ortega, so, f; Katie Hoeg, jr., m; Gianna Bowe, sr., m. BC: Kenzie Kent, sr., f; Dempsey Arsenault, sr., m; Sam Apuzzo, sr., f.

UNC wins this game if: Ally Mastroianni comes up trumps in the draw circle … the UNC defense doesn’t get anyone sent off … we don’t see backup goalie Elise Hennessey

BC wins this game if: Elizabeth Miller and Apuzzo are able to get more than 50 percent of draw controls … someone other than Apuzzo causes the most turnovers during the contest … the Eagles value the ball in the final third.

The skinny: Boston College, who was the heavy odds-on favorite heading into the 2019 season, cannot be happy seeded only third in the Division I bracket, and as such, they should be coming in angry … Though Taylor Moreno is the Heels’ starting goalie, Hennessey has an otherworldly save percentage of 58.2 percent, and she has played some pretty significant minutes this season … Kenzie Kent was the “it” woman coming out of the 2017 season, but it’s Apuzzo and Arsenault who are in the Teewaraton final five.

The unanswered question: Who can get that late stop on the other team’s attack? Alternatively, are we going to have one of those run-and-gun games with more than 30 goals on the scoreboard?

May 21, 2019 — Top 10 for the week of May 19

As state tournaments ramp up in New York, New Jersey, and the private schools in Pennsylvania, it’s been hard to figure out exactly who is playing better heading into their respective championships. This especially goes for the New York teams who have been playing more interstate competition than anybody.

Our honorary No. 11 Team of the Week is Sykesville South Carroll (Md.). In terms of girls’ lacrosse, it has not had the same kind of resume as their rivals to the west, Sykesville Century (Md.). But South Carroll tonight plays in its first state title match in 26 years.

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 21-0

Season complete: The Eagles won their 10th IAAM Class A crown in 11 years, but not without receiving a major scare from Brooklandville St. Paul’s School for Girls (Md.). McDonogh was down two in the last four minutes before winning 5-4 in double overtime

2. Baldwinsville (N.Y.) 15-1

The Bees vault into the Top 10 thanks to a 9-7 win over Penfield (N.Y.); the team takes on Rome (N.Y.) Free Academy in the first round of their sectional tournament

3. Rush-Henrietta (N.Y.) 14-2

The Royal Comets are in a difficult Section V and may have the most difficult road to the state final

4. Orlando Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) 20-2

Season complete: Saved its best lacrosse for the end of the season, besting Delray American Heritage (Fla.) and then Palm Beach Benjamin School (Fla.) in the FHSAA final

5. South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 16-1

Showdown against Hempstead Sacred Heart Academy (N.Y.) may define the Friars’ season

6. Manhasset (N.Y.) 13-2

Team opens sectional play hosting Long Beach (N.Y.)

7. Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) 14-2

Seahawks beat Glen Cove Friends Academy 18-5 last week and seem primed for a run at the Class C title

8. Summit (15-3)

Hilltoppers played Chatham last night in NJSIAA Tournament

9. Severna Park (Md.) 19-1

Falcons played Timonium Dulaney (Md.) in MPSSAA Class 4A final last evening

10. Brooklandville St. Paul’s School for Girls (Md.) 12-10

Season complete: It’s not often you see a 10-loss team anywhere near a Top 10 in any kind of national sports countdown. But this Gators team, part of the single toughest league in the country, put together a great run in the IAAM playoffs, knocking off Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) and Glenelg (Md.) Country to get to the final

11. Sykesville South Carroll (Md.) 15-1

To take on Parkton Hereford (Md.) for the MPSSAA Class 2A state title this evening

Who’s out? Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 6-5 loss to Philadelphia Pen Charter (Pa.); Edgewater South River (Md.) 11-7 loss to Annapolis Broadneck (Md.)

May 20, 2019 — A sliver of hope, but reality sets in

Last Saturday, the U.S. women’s field hockey team won its first game in regulation at the 2019 FIH Pro League, besting China 3-1. The States won despite being out-possessed, out shot, and out-cornered. But while the Red Dragons were 1-for-14 on their penalty corner chances, the United States were 2-for-2 on goals by Anna Dessoye and Linnea Gonzales.

The States are improving a bit, but still sit at the bottom of the league table and are perhaps only a day or two from being eliminated from the FIH Grand Final and one of the four berths into the two-legged Olympic qualification ties that are on offer later this year.

That’s because the United States, on seven points from 13 matches played, can only reach 16 points if the last three matches are regulation wins. At the moment, Argentina (32), Holland (21), and Australia (21) are untouchable. Should Germany get a three-point regulation win Wednesday against Argentina, that puts Die Danas at 17 points in the standings and the States would not be able to catch them.

There would, of course, be two avenues available to the United States to get to Tokyo 2020, but it is going to take hard work, composure in front of the goal cage, and defense.

May 19, 2019 — The Division II title goes from an unfamiliar venue to a very familiar place

The last several years, the NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse trophy has ventured into non-traditional territories. The site of competition has varied from Denver to Orlando, from Houston to this year’s site, Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich.

The trophy has also gone to Florida Southern College in the last three years, but when you have traditional powers in the 16-team bracket, the teams who have the innate knowledge about how to do the right things to win a title will find a way.

Such was the case with Adelphi, which won its ninth Division II title with an 11-5 win over West Chester, a program with its own championship-level history.

Adelphi, oddly enough, didn’t even make the semifinals of its own conference tournament, having been knocked out by Merrimack. Merrimack won the Northeast-10 championship, but was not selected for the Division II bracket.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?