Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

May 29, 2021 — The post-COVID portal

Part of the story of women’s lacrosse in 2021 is the number of student-athletes who made an enormous impact when transferring university teams to take advantage of a fifth year of eligibility because of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, or to try to find a team capable of winning a championship, or to start graduate school.

Kerrigan Miller, Gabby Rosenzweig, Sammy Mueller, and Charlotte North are amongst the players who have made their new teams — UNC, Duke, Northwestern, and Boston College — into NCAA Tournament participants this year, and have made an immense difference in the fortunes of their teams because of their experience, guile, skills, and athleticism.

Time was, especially in non-revenue sports like lacrosse, players would stick around for all four years of eligibility. Transferring schools meant trying to transfer credits, move from one campus to another, and sometimes harboring the possibility that you might have to face your former teammates in a different-color jersey the next year.

But these days, changing college teams seems to be as common as changing clothes. I think a lot of this comes from what happens with regularity in football and men’s basketball, where transfers are commonplace — and sometimes, expected for good players in mid-major teams.

I think one reason (albeit not the only one) that you’re seeing more and more transfers in lacrosse is because of the prominence of the Ivy League in the sport. The Ivy League made a somewhat controversial decision in the wake of the cancellation of athletics in 2020: the schools decided to not allow students in the eight schools an extra year of eligibility to make up for lost COVID seasons.

It’s why you’re seeing a sizable outflow of players from some Ivy rosters. Indeed, the No. 1 men’s lacrosse player to enter the transfer portal a year ago was Michael Sowers, who was Princeton University’s all-time leading scorer. He played the 2021 season for Duke, a team which made the men’s Final Four.

I get the feeling that you’re going to see more of this, especially in an era when the parents of players are not only changing jobs, but changing cities at a much, much higher rate than they did a quarter of a century ago.

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