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Apr. 18, 2017 — Top 10 for the week of Apr. 16

Last week saw half of the Top 10 suffering a loss thanks to a number of intersectional contests, and I think we’re going to see even more this week with the Gains for Brains showcase at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.).

Our honorary No. 11 Team of the Week is Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.), a team which beat its neighborhood rival Camillus West Genesee (N.Y.) 16-13 last week. It was the first time F-M beat West Genesee in the last 11 seasons.

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 12-0

Eagles meet Severna Park Severn School (Md.) today and meets Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.) later this week

2. Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 15-0

Saints travel to Washington Georgetown Visitation (D.C.) for an enormous ISL showdown today

3. Garden City (N.Y.) 8-0

Garden City beat Darien (Conn.) 17-11 on the weekend; the Trojans take on Moorestown (N.J.) in the Gains for Brains Tournament this Saturday

4. Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) 4-0

This Saturday’s showdown with Mount Sinai (N.Y.) will be the closest thing you’re going to have to a New York Tournament of Champions

5. Ridgewood (N.J.) 7-0

Maroons beat Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.) 7-6 this Saturday

6. Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) 6-0

Showed a resolute defense in beating Moorestown (N.J.) 14-8

7. Glenelg (Md.) 7-0

Gladiators were nothing short of brilliant in beating Notre Dame Prep and Dulaney last Saturday

8. East Setauket Ward Melville (N.Y.) 6-0

Patriots have the heart of its schedule ahead

9. Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 12-1

After the Blazers spent the effort to beat Marriotts Ridge, they ran out of gas against Glenelg

10. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 5-1

Phantoms have Mount Sinai Wednesday, then play in the Gains for Brains Showcase

11. Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) 4-0

Keira Shanley leads the Hornets with 16 goals, Amanda Cramer has 15

Who’s out: Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) 15-11 loss to Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.); Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 12-6 loss to Milton (Ga.), Moorestown (N.J.) 14-8 loss to Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.), Sykesville Century (Md.) 15-8 loss to Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.)

And bear in mind: San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) 15-0, Darien (Conn.) 4-2, Vero Beach (Fla.) 17-2, Milton (Ga.) 10-3, Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 10-3, Severna Park (Md.) 6-2, Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) 5-1, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 3-2.

Apr. 17, 2017 — Pulling a dandelion

Today in a court in Polk County, Iowa, opening arguments take place in the lawsuit filed by former senior University of Iowa senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer are scheduled to take place.

Meyer’s lawsuit is over her termination in the wake of the firing of field hockey coach Tracey Greisbaum only days before the start of the 2014 season.

The witness list in this trial is going to include a number of prominent figures in University of Iowa athletics, including Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. His role in the Greisbaum firing is going to receive the greatest scrutiny in this trial, and it’s going to be interesting what kind of tone is set by the defense.

After all, there are two more lawsuits upcoming; Greisbaum’s lawsuit against Iowa is scheduled to go to trial in early June, and Meyer has filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit in recent months.

This could be a bumpy, and damaging, ride for many people.

Apr. 16, 2017 — An evolution in skill

Yesterday at Fetzer Field on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Sammy Jo Tracy scored one of the most amazing lacrosse goals you will ever see, regardless of gender.

Here it is:

Apr. 15, 2017 — An avalanche of intersectionals

Since Spring Fling a couple of weeks ago, and continuing through today’s South River Spring Break Showcase, next weekend’s Gains for Brains fundraiser, and the Katie Samson Invitational the final week of April, there are an enormous number of intersectional matches on offer for girls’ scholastic lacrosse this season.

I remain befuddled, however, at why this doesn’t happen more often in field hockey. Aside from the Gateway Invitational, some four-team invitationals in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and a couple of tournaments in Virginia, there is precious little intersectional play in field hockey.

Question is, why?

It’s not as though the games are administered under different rules, albeit when you’re talking about girls’ lacrosse, you are also factoring in states which don’t have scholastic field hockey such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota.

The numerical, objective reason why you can have so many intersectional games to begin with in girls’ lacrosse is that there are now more than 3,300 programs across the country — a good 60 percent more than in field hockey.

In addition, many of these programs are in warm-weather areas, and teams in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California are becoming destination opponents for cold-weather teams.

But I think there are reasons beyond those that are measurable for the blossoming of girls’ high school showcase events. I believe that, given the number of programs that are younger than 25 years, that there is a certain “all for one” ethic amongst lacrosse coaches, who are more willing to share information to grow the game.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Apr. 14, 2017 — Friday Statwatch for games played through April 12

Welcome back to Friday Statwatch, which is our weekly feature looking at national statistics and what they mean.

The numbers, as you can see below, are uneven and do tend to favor the teams that started playing in February. But as some teams’ seasons have already concluded, there will be other teams coming into this list over the coming weeks.

The collected numbers below reflect games played through Wednesday. We’re hoping that each of you can 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.

Below is a compilation of statistics from, amongst others, 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:

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
88 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
83 Chelsea Smith, Merritt Island Edgewood (Fla.)
78 Ryann Doyle, Seymour (Tenn.)
73 Avert Curington, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)
68 Bailey Gehler, San Diego Our Lady Of Peace (Calif.)
64 Kiersen Foust, Greensboro Southeast Guilford (N.C.)
63 Jordan Shugrue, Laurel St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)
63 Caleigh Kenna, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
62 Hennessey Evans, Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills (Calif.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
68 KateReagan Costello, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)
41 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
40 Madison Dunk, Durham (N.C.) Academy
40 Kieran Rinaldi, Mooresville Lake Norman (Mooresville, N.C.)
39 Madeline Hooks, Santa Ana Mater Dei (Calif.)
39 Kayla Rinaldi, Mooresville Lake Norman (N.C.)
36 Jordan Lappin, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
400 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
316 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
288 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
246 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
227 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
224 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, CAREER
237 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL POINTS (COMBINED GOALS AND ASSISTS), CAREER
509 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
465 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
420 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
403 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)
347 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
341 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
167 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

COACHING WINS
731 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
518 Deanna Knobloch, Moorestown (N.J.)

These numbers aren’t going to be perfect every week. If you see something you’d like us to address, by all means, please feel to send us an email at TopOfTheCircle.com. Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

I believe that Statwatch is a living, breathing soul that can be added to at any time. Thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you next time.

Apr. 13, 2017 — The one announcement missing from the WNBA Draft

The WNBA player draft took place this evening in New York.

And while the people you’d think would be drafted high were (three South Carolina players and only one UConn athlete), there’s one thing I wish had happened last evening: an expansion announcment.

This summer will mark the 21st season of the WNBA, yet the league remains at 12 teams. Only three of the current teams remain from the first season — the New York Liberty, Los Angeles Sparks, and the Phoenix Mercury.

The intervening two decades have yielded lessons — both good and bad — at how to develop new markets:

  1. Florida was a disaster, as the Orlando Miracle and Miami Sol were lost in the same offseason. It was, frankly, needless as other teams moving into the area for summer sports leagues (Florida Launch, Orlando City, Orlando Pride) have done very well.
  2. Placeholder franchises for cities losing NBA franchises have had mixed success; the Seattle Storm remain in operations, but not the Charlotte Sting.
  3. Relying on the D-League to be a partner has not been the greatest idea; Tulsa’s WNBA franchise played second fiddle to the city’s D-League team despite having all the tools to succeed.
  4. Women’s college basketball hotbeds have been coveted, but only one franchise has been set in the midst of one: the Connecticut Sun.

It’s the latter that is a complete mystery to me. There are good-sized arenas in areas of the country where women’s collegiate basketball is an unqualified success.

So, as a public service, here’s a list of eight cities or territorial designations which should be the next cities to have WNBA franchises.

  1. Nashville, Tenn. — There’s a ready-made market in the eastern half of the state that could support a team other than the Lady Vols. The old American Basketball League recognized this.
  2. New Orleans — Both LSU and Louisiana Tech have thrived in this region, and the Pelicans could use a team to fill the arena in their offseason.
  3. Toronto — This is the ideal city for the WNBA to make an entry into Canada. A great city with fans who can go all out for a good product.
  4. Denver — This is the team that should have been called the Sky; the colors were blue and yellow, just like the Nuggets. But the Mile High City is full of young and vibrant professionals capable of supporting a team.
  5. Philadelphia — It befuddles me that the NBA doesn’t think a WNBA franchise wouldn’t do well here, the home of the Immaculata Mighty Macs. Indeed, had the GM of the 76ers had the forethought to get a WNBA team instead of working on a dubious long-term process, the city would have Elena Delle Donne by now.
  6. Portland — The city supports the NWSL’s Portland Thorns in numbers that are an Everest compared to the league’s Kansas. The league needs to make a comeback here.
  7. Houston — Same here. It was a travesty that the Comets folded and a definite black eye for the league’s administration.
  8. San Francisco Bay Area — How is it that there is so much Silicon Valley money being used to attract the likes of Kevin Durant, yet there’s no WNBA team in the Oracle Center?

Apr. 12, 2017 — Maryland 18, Princeton 12

POSTGAME That’s all for now; thanks for reading this evening

POSTGAME Give a call to close defender Julia Braig, who has, all season, been effective in the midfield transitioning on clears. She had a number of situations this evening and did well when called upon

POSTGAME That being said, Whittle and Stukenberg were their usual lethal selves, and Kali Hartshorn was all over the midfield and attack. Hartshorn was game-high with five draws controlled along with her five goals

POSTGAME Maryland is not going to be beaten by talent alone; a team looking to beat them will have to alter the Terps’ tactics and strategy

POSTGAME If there is one thing that other NCAA teams will be studying from this game, it’s the fact that the teams played to a 12-12 draw over the final 50 minutes

FULL TIME At the final horn, Maryland takes an 18-12 win

59:25 PRI YELLOW George is off for the challenge

59:02 PRI GOAL Hallett with a goal to bring the Tigers within six

58:49 UMD GOAL Jen Giles takes advantage of an acre of space in the fan and powers the Terps to an 18-11 lead

52:51 PRI GOAL Amanda Leavell with a nifty steal and coast-to-coast run; Terps lead 17-11

48:08 PRI FP and GOAL A good look by Hompe finds Pansini on the doorstep; Terps still lead by seven

47:31 PRI GOAL Anna Doherty spins and scores from long range; Tigers still trail by eight

44:07 UMD GOAL Jen Giles with a fallaway from the middle of the fan; Maryland up 17-8

42:53 TIMEOUT MARYLAND

42:39 PRI FP and GOAL Anna Doherty from the left hash, but the Tigers trail by eight

40:17 UMD GOAL Stukenberg is at the tail end of an eight-pass sequence that leaves the Tigers helpless; Terps lead 16-7

39:05 UMD GOAL A sprawling Stukenberg scores to give Maryland a 15-7 lead 

38:18 PRI GOAL Elizabeth George zings a forehand from the top of the arc; Tigers trail 14-7

37:17 UMD GOAL Some skip passes lead to a run by Hartshorn; she finishes to give Maryland a 14-6 lead

34:22 UMD FP and GOAL Whittle fires a shot that Ellie DeGarmo gets her stick on but cannot keep out; Maryland leads 13-7

31:48 PRI YELLOW Hompe off for a slash

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Kali Hartshorn once again dominated the draws and scored some amazing goals for Maryland; it’s as if she is playing a different game from everybody else

HALFTIME The Tigers chose to run a shutoff for part of the half, though the target was as curious as the concept

HALFTIME The lead is deserved for the Terps because they seem to be able to score in bunches

HALFTIME The horn sounds with Maryland leading 12-6

29:00 PRI GOAL Hallett scores again but the Tigers down six

28:29 PRI GOAL Olivia Hompe swerved and the ball gets through; Terps still up seven

26:56 UMD FP and GOAL Stukenberg from the right hash; Maryland leads 12-4

24:41 PRI GOAL Laura Pansini gets a pass from Chamenchuk and finishes; Tigers down 11-4

23:31 TIMEOUT PRINCETON

23:31 UMD GOAL Whittle scores from a thicket of Princeton defenders as Maryland goes up 11-3

23:10 UMD GOAL Hartshorn takes a subtle overhand pass from Giles and scores while being fouled; Maryland takes a 10-3 lead and will get the ball

22:33 PRI GOAL Tess D’Orsi finds the back of the net! Tigers within six

19:37 UMD YELLOW Whittle with a rash challenge

18:20 UMD GOAL Caroline Steele takes a pass from Hartshorn and buries it! Maryland up 9-2

15:08 PRI YELLOW Ellie McNulty is off for the hard foul

14:37 UMD GOAL Megan Whittle puts the ball where the Thin Mints are; Maryland leads 8-2

14:00 PRI YELLOW Halley is off for a slash

13:30 UMD GOAL Jen Giles weaves through three players and sticks it high! Maryland up 7-2

12:57 PRI GOAL Kathryn Halley scores and brings the score to 6-2

11:15 PRI GOAL Colby Chanenchuk finally solves the Maryland defense, but the deficit remains five 

10:15 Why is Princeton trying to shut off Caroline Wannen? The hot scorer is Hartshorn at the moment

9:52 UMD FP A passing play to Zoe Stukenberg at the top center is shot wide

7:24 Let’s remind you: this is against the No. 7 team in the latest poll

7:24 UMD FP and GOAL Jen Giles hits from the right hash; Terps lead 6-0

6:51 UMD GOAL Hartshorn gets the corner from nine yards; this is like child’s play to her. Terps lead 5-0

6:27 TIMEOUT PRINCETON

6:27 UMD GOAL While being checked by two players, Hartshorn muscles it into the cage; they all count no matter how they go in. Terps up 4-0 and are assuming complete control of the game

5:17 UMD FP and GOAL Megan Whittle pegs the post from the left hash and scores! 3-0 Maryland

3:34 UMD GOAL Zoe Stukenberg finds a wide-open Kali Hartshorn down the heart of the fan and the Terps lead 2-0

0:29 UMD GOAL Megan Whittle gets free on the crease and puts Maryland on top 1-0; a dream start!

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Princeton is in the all-black uniforms with orange numbers and white trim; Maryland is in the yellow, trimmed in the Crossland and Calvert emblems reminiscent of the state flag

PREGAME The teams are warming up under clear skies, temperatures in the mid-70s

PREGAME Maryland is a favorite to win this contest, but if Sailer can find a way to match or neutralize the Terps’ strengths, anything can happen

PREGAME Princeton head coach Chris Sailer is one of the great minds of the game, and parts of her offense in the early 1990s are in everyone’s playbook

PREGAME But Maryland has not lost to Princeton in a decade and a half, and it’s something the Tigers want to change

PREGAME One of the things that has not changed with Maryland over the years is its friendly rivalry with the Tigers. They have traditionally met each other late in the season — sometimes in the week between the conference tournament and the start of the NCAAs

PREGAME Maryland is 13-0 this season; Princeton is 9-1

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to The Lacrosse and Field Hockey Complex (yep, we’re calling it that) for this interconference game between Princeton and Maryland