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Archive for March 2, 2023

March 2, 2023 — Charlotte is the bellweather

This weekend in women’s lacrosse will kick off the weekend showcase event season, in which teams are invited to play games to bring fanbases together from different areas of the nation and to expose the game in a non-traditional area of the country.

Saturday’s Crown Invitational is actually not much more than a two-hour drive from the home of the NCAA Division I women’s champion, as it is being held in Charlotte, N.C. But the lacrosse culture is burgeoning in the region, with Queens and UNC-Charlotte incoming as Division I sides in the next couple of years.

What I really like about this quadrupleheader is the fact that you have two men’s games and two women’s games, and two Division II games and two Division I games.

The two women’s games are, for me, bellweather games for the rest of the season. The games start with a match between defending Division II title-holder University of Indianapolis against second-ranked Tampa. UIndy starts its 2023 campaign without the graduated Peyton Romig and departed coach James Delaney, and the pollsters have the Greyhounds ranked only seventh in the country. A win against Tampa on Saturday would, I think, go a long way to boosting their confidence heading into next weekend’s match against Grand Valley State.

The second and last women’s match of the day has two ACC rivals crossing sticks, as Duke takes on Notre Dame.Both are looking to join the level of elite teams — the likes of UNC, Northwestern, Syracuse, Stony Brook, and Maryland. Both teams go into the weekend with one defeat, but both also have tough conference schedules ahead, and these teams know that a loss here could lead to a tailspin that could hurt their side’s chances to make the NCAA bracket on Selection Sunday.

These are going to be games of great intensity, and great interest.