Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Mar. 16, 2017 — A third front in an inequality war

The United States Olympic Committee, and, by proxy, national governing bodies of sport, are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis when it comes to gender equity.

There’s been a silent war raged on social media when it comes to men’s field hockey, but the figures bandied about are pretty much spot on. While the women’s national team enjoys a budget of some $2.5 million, men’s field hockey receives a total budget of less than $350,000. Granted, the number of men’s members of USA Field Hockey and participant figures are dwarfed by their female counterparts, but a team of 11 is still a team 11, no matter how the team is assembled.

Since the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the disparity between men’s and women’s pay by U.S. Soccer has been revealed, and it’s just as dire a situation for the successful U.S. women. The women make only $15,000 for getting selected to a World Cup roster, while the men are awarded $50,000. For each game, the U.S. women make less than $2,000 per game if they win, while the U.S. men are paid a minimum of $5,000, win or lose.

Now, the women who represent the United States in women’s ice hockey are close to their own version of the nuclear option. Citing a stipend as low as $6,000 for making the Olympic roster, as well as the $3.5 million for a young men’s national team development program (there is nothing for young women) the U.S. women’s national hockey team said yesterday that it was considering sitting out the IIHF World Championship this year. And given the fact that tournament is being held in the United States, a strike would be of particular embarrassment to USA Hockey.

In a desperate move, USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean hit back in the media, indicating that the national governing body might hire replacement players.

That might open its own can of worms, especially if the replacement team does reasonably well. It might be an example of how the two-year-old National Women’s Hockey League stands as a player development tool, one which receives some support from USA Hockey.

But the embarrassment of having the host team strike for a living wage? I think it’s a bridge too far, and requires negotiations. Post haste.






Mar. 15, 2017 — Starting off with a bang

Last May, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) finished its season with a national-best 155 games without defeat.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Eagles play the first in a three-game road trip in Florida. Tonight, it’s a matchup against Vero Beach (Fla.), followed by a 2 p.m. Friday game against Milton (Ga.), a team which has to still be stinging after losing the state championship a year ago.

But then, there’s Saturday at noon, when McDonogh is going to be taking on Hill Academy, the superprep lacrosse team from Vaughn, Ontario.

If McDonogh can get through these three opponents without defeat, it’s going to be a long season for anyone else on its schedule, believe me.

March 14, 2017 — Playing climate or meteorological climate?

Over the past weekend, a couple of scores caught my eye:

High Point 13, Michigan 12
Mercer 14, Army West Point 13

Part of the growth of the game of women’s lacrosse over the last five years or so has been the promise of teams with great traditions in their athletic departments. For Michigan, it has been a trying start despite having made an enormous investment in scholarships and infrastructure. And thus far, the Wolverines still have not won a conference game in their existence.

And West Point has had its own growing pains in its second season as a varsity program. Not to mention the fact that the women playing on the team are in a rigorous academic and leadership program designed to make them second lieutenants in the Army upon graduation.

But I think you have to focus less on any particular shortcomings on the part of the Wolverines and Knights and ask yourselves what High Point and Mercer are doing right.

And I think part of what they are doing right is the fact that they have attracted plenty of out-of-state talent.

High Point, notably, focuses on many of the great northeastern programs such as Hauppage (N.Y.), South Huntington St. Anthony (N.Y.), and Severn Archbishop Spalding (Md.), while also making room for a couple of North Carolina players.

Mercer casts a wide net for talent, including Florida, Wisconsin, and Texas. But the team’s leading scorer is from White Plains (N.Y.).

A lot of the reasons given for why the Atlantic Coast Conference has been the premier women’s lacrosse (and, for that matter, field hockey) conferences the past 20 years is because of the climate. Many student-athletes are lured by the prospect of going south for school where it is not as cold during the playing season, and where the beginning and the end of the school year is much warmer than at home.

And, let’s face it: the “change of scenery” pitch does work in women’s lacrosse.

After all, your defending Division II champion is Florida Southern.

Mar. 13, 2017 — Follow the bouncing ball

It was about 15 minutes into Saturday’s showdown between the University of Maryland and Syracuse when the game officials called timeout.

But it wasn’t because of a horn from the table to signal for a TV timeout, nor was it a coach requesting a team timeout.

Instead, the umpires came over to the scorer’s table to talk to the table.

Syracuse had taken possession of the ball and was starting its offense in the attacking third of the field. A defensive check on the part of Maryland sent the ball back towards the 35-yard restraining line. One player after another attempted to pick up the ball, but neither team could not corral the wayward sphere of yellow rubber until Syracuse picked up the ball again all the way back in its defensive third.

The umpiring crew of Liz Brush, Jodi Michna, and Mike Miller noticed that the possession clock had been reset back to 90 seconds.

The clock was put back down to about 55 seconds, and play was restarted.

One of the consequences of the addition of the possession clock in Division I women’s lacrosse this year is that umpires are going to have the burden of determining what constitutes possession of the ball.

Now, Rule 5, Section 11B of the rulebook says this about possession:

A player is in possession of the ball when the ball is in her crosse and she can perform any of the normal functions of control, such as cradle, carry, pass or shoot.

But because the stick is much shallower in the women’s game than in the men’s, a player securing the ball for a half-second is liable to be checked at any time, and, especially on artificial turf or artificial grass, the ball will lead a merry chase while the possession clock ticks.

I know Rosabella Sinclair didn’t quite envision all this when she brought the game to Northern Parkway back in 1926.

Mar. 12, 2017 — How a major player in television is seemingly ready to dump sports

You may not have heard of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, but it is the second-largest owner of local television stations in the country, with stations from Fresno to Washington,D.C.

It also owns Tennis Channel, the Ring of Honor wrestling promotion, and a concern called the American Sports Network. ASN, for the last three years, has broadcast a hodgepodge of athletic competitions including Ivy League and small-college basketball and hockey, Conference USA football, Major League Soccer, and today’s broadcast of Army-Mercer women’s lacrosse.

Yet despite this burgeoning collection of sports properties backed by a public company, it was announced that the plug is going to be pulled on ASN at the end of this month. Reports say that Campus Insiders, a digital news and streaming network focusing on college sports, will take on the labor and the risk of broadcasting most of what was on ASN’s docket.

Which brings up the question: what went wrong?

ASN’s business model, much like Sinclair’s, is that of a “roll-up,” where a holding company buys a number of smaller properties in the same industry, hoping to build economies of scale to make the distribution of television content cheaper over time.

But as what happens at many roll-ups over time, such as MCI-WorldCom and U.S. Office Products, debt accrues or the projected revenue simply is not there. American Sports Network typlically didn’t pay rights fees in order to get programming, spending its money only on the production of the games and securing ad backing from sponsors.

We don’t have exact figures as to how much a 30-second commercial on an ASN sports broadcast is worth, but the fact that ASN is shutting down tells us that it wasn’t enough to remain in business.

It’s a shame, because the network is following in the footsteps of One Sports Network and the World Championship Sports Network as broadcasters aspiring to a wide focus on many different athletic pursuits, but which went out of business.

Mar. 11, 2017 — Maryland 17, Syracuse 7

POSTGAME That’s all for today; thanks for tuning in

POSTGAME A long-term question coming out of this game is whether Syracuse is going to be able to fix their shortcomings when and if these two teams meet again in the postseason. I think they have a puncher’s chance with Goldstock in the goal cage, but it needs to be a total team effort. When Syracuse played a cutting rhythm offense, they were able to keep up. But when the Orange turned the attack into seven individual 1-on-1 matchups, they fell adrift

POSTGAME Hartshorn looked like the second coming of Quinn Carney today against a DIRO, and Whittle was spectacular

POSTGAME Syracuse had their chances, but Levy and Donohue — the Orange’s two leading returning scorers — had no goals and no assists. Incredible defense by the Terrapins and goalie Megan Taylor. While Goldstock was making nine athletic saves, Taylor was making 18 efficient saves

POSTGAME As often happens in College Park, the Terrapins come up with a decisive result against a top opponent. Maryland was able to turn draw controls (albeit mostly coming from hustle in the box by players spilling over the 35-yard lines) into possession

FULL TIME The final horn goes with the Terrapins beating the Orange by a score of 17-7

58:50 Maryland wins the draw and takes it to the attack end, and will pass it around

58:03 UMD GOAL Stukenberg takes a Steele feed and buries it; Maryland leads 17-7 and the clock runs

56:17 Widner wins the draw to herself, although the ball is awarded to Syracuse by the umpiring crew

56:13 I don’t believe what I’m witnessing here

56:13 UMD FP and GOAL Hartshorn smartly passes off to Jen Giles, who pumps it in; Terps lead 16-7

54:30 Syracuse wins the ball and moves it to the attack end, but doesn’t go to goal. I know they’re short a player for another minute, but they are down eight goals. Would this have occurred if Syracuse was down by, say, four? It is a four-possession game now

53:22 SYR YELLOW Marola is off for two minutes for the slash

53:07 SYR FP Marola is at the top center with all sorts of room, but throws it right at Taylor

51:55 Maryland wins the draw with some midfield hustle

51:49 UMD GOAL Whittle steals the ball 40 yards from goal and scores off the dead run! Spectacular! Maryland leads 15-7

51:38 Widner wins the ball to herself


51:35 UMD GOAL Whittle cuts and curls, frees her stick, and finishes! That’s her sixth goals on only her eighth shot! Maryland leads by a touchdown!

50:30 Goldstock stops Stukenberg and Steele! Wow!

48:44 SYR FP Riley Donahue, a left-hander, on the right hash. Great opportunity, but Megan Doherty with a tremendous check! That’s the kind of defense that Maryland has been playing today

48:14 UMD GOAL Caroline Wannen finds Caroline Steele on the off-side and finishes; Maryland leads 13-7

47:00 Gait shoots eye-high on Taylor; the ball is checked out of her stick for a goalie interference. You have to call that one if you’re going to call a mystery crease violation on the other end

44:19 In this possession-clock era, Syracuse is due for a run here

44:17 SYR FP Cara Quimby with a nice dodge and lefty finish; the deficit is now five

43:30 Caroline Steele puts the ball in the goal cage but a crease violation is called; which is odd, since apparently under the current rules, the possession appeared to be legal

42:46 Maryland wins the draw through hustle in the midfield

42:44 SYR FP and GOAL Marola is able to get the ball past Taylor’s hip and the deficit is six

42:40 SYR FP Marola tries her luck but is bodied off; we’ll reset

41:55 Hartshorn wins to herself; she’s been money in the circle today


41:53 UMD GOAL Stukenberg holds the ball out on the left and finds a cutting Hartschorn in the fan, who finds net! Wow! Maryland leads 12-5

40:10 UMD FP Whittle bangs the post and Stukenberg gains possession with the hustle; what a play by the senior!

39:40 SYR FP Levy with the forehand from the left hash, Taylor says no

38:48 SYR FP Hawryschuk from the extreme left hash and can’t find cage

37:40 SYR FP Taylor Gait has some open shooters on the fan if she wants them, but goes herself from the center hash, and the ball goes over the top

35:10 SYR FP Marola’s shot is saved easily by Taylor

34:43 UMD FP Stukenberg’s shot from the center-left is saved by Goldstock, who makes the splits

32:46 Widner with the draw to open space; ball is contested but Syracuse gets the ground ball. Thing is, the ground ball is all the way on the other end of the field

32:44 SYR GOAL Natalie Wallen finishes a hi-lo from Gait, and Syracuse trails 11-5

32:02 Stukenberg hits the post with the shot!

31:15 SYR FP Levy goes low-to-high, but Taylor picks it off

30:02 Widner wins the draw to herself and gets the first trip, but it trampolines to Maryland. Wow

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME But the close defense of Maryland — Morgan Torggler, Alex McKay, Julia Braig, and Meghan Doherty — have been able to cut off passing lanes and have denied Levy the ball in the attack end

HALFTIME Hartshorn has done OK on the draws, but she has been helped by several turnovers on the part of the Syracuse midfield. Megan Whittle has been her usual excellent self, scoring five times

HALFTIME It’s a bit of an unexpected lead in such a big matchup, but Maryland has dominated this rivalry over the years

HALFTIME At the horn, Maryland has an 11-4 lead

29:49 UMD GOAL Maryland’s Whittle gets near a bouncing ball, taps it into the air, and forehands a finish! Golazo! Maryland leads 11-4

29:25 Widner wins the ball to herself, but a ward is called on Syracuse

29:23 SYR GOAL Hawryschuk gets a fortunate bounce from a rebound and finishes! However, the deficit is six for the Orange

28:40 Syracuse with the ball just inside the 35, but the Orange aren’t allowed to self-start there. Another mental error for the visitors

27:53 Hartshorn cuts down the fan and has her shot stopped by Goldstock

27:00 Gait with the first shot available for Syracuse on the next possession; Taylor gobbles it up

26:00 UMD FP Brindi Griffin on the extreme left hash, but she pulls it out and keeps the ball

25:29 UMD FP and GOAL Megan Whittle from the center-right, bounces it in, and the LFHC sound system cranks up “Party In The USA” — ironic, since Whittle will be playing for England in this summer’s World Cup. Maryland leads 10-3

24:31 Hartshorn sends the draw into an open space; Maryland gets the ground ball pickup

24:29 SYR GOAL Neena Marola weaves in from the top and scores past a maze of bodies; Maryland still leads 9-3

23:00 Gait gets the ball off to Wallen cutting past the cage; Taylor makes the stop!

22:00 Terps get the ball in the final half-minute of the penalty but is in no hurry to put the ball in

21:20 Syracuse gets the ball in the attack end and holds; eventually, Maryland throws the double


19:58 SYR YELLOW Devon Parker is off for two minutes for a cross-check; not what you need when you’re trying to make a comeback on the road

19:49 SYR FP Levy tries to go hi-lo even though there’s nobody around her; ball thrown into coverage, but misses everyone and rolls out of bounds; Maryland ball

18:27 It looks like Donahue kicked the ball over the sideline, but the ball is awarded to her. Officials much closer to the play than your Founder is

18:25 TIMEOUT, SYRACUSE That’s a seven-goal run from Maryland

18:25 UMD GOAL Whittle rounds the elbow and shoots from a tight angle! Maryland leads 9-2

17:19 Maryland wins the draw with the pickup on the sideline

17:17 UMD GOAL Hartshorn with a right-hander from about nine yards that finds net; that’s a hat trick for the freshman! Maryland leads 8-2

15:42 SYR FP Megan Whittle from the right hash; Goldstock says no

14:24 It looks like the confusion is with the possession clock; Syracuse had the ball checked out of their stick and bounced about 70 yards from the attack to the defensive end without either team getting clear possession, but the clock had been reset

13:18 Widner wins the draw again and runs to the sideline; backpass to the defensive 35-yard line, and the substitution is made

13:16 UMD GOAL Megan Whittle finds Hartshorn on the crease; the shot goes in! The Terps lead 7-2

11:52 SYR FP Emily Hawryschuk has her shot saved by Taylor; that was a good effort

10:09 Whittle steals in from the attack zone and secures the draw; what hustle!


10:07 UMD GOAL Stukenberg sticks a dagger in, finishing off a pass from Wannen; the Terps lead 6-2 and are taking control of this match

9:25 SYR FP Nataie Wallon with the shot that is saved by Taylor!

8:04 Maryland somehow doesn’t win this draw; Syracuse gets the ball through pure hustle

8:02 UMD GOAL Caroline Steele gets a nice pass from Stukenberg and sticks it; Maryland leads 5-2

7:20 Maryland wins the next draw

7:18 UMD FP and GOAL Whittle swerves and hits the top corner from the center-right hash; Maryland leads 4-2

6:27 Widner wins the draw to herself; Syracuse back to the attack

6:25 UMD FP and GOAL Megan Whittle makes a three-step run from the center-right hash and bounces it past Goldstock; Maryland leads 3-2

4:55 Syracuse loses the draw but gets a break when a missed passes goes out of bounds

4:48 SYR GOAL Wallen is able to come right down the middle to catch Devon Parker’s pass, something you might not expect from a Maryland defense; game tied 2-2

4:27 Hartshorn kicks the ball; Orange will get it in the midfield

4:24 SYR GOAL Mary Rahal finishes a weaving run, but Maryland still leads 2-1

3:56 Winder with the draw; runs off

3:54 UMD GOAL Wannen gets her stick free and catches the pass from behind; Maryland leads 2-0

2:30 SYR FP Natalie Wallon gets the ball after a high check, but misses the cage from the center hash

2:04 SYR FP Taylor Gait misses the cage from the center hash; Levy is on the backup

1:24 UMD FP Giles makes a move towards goal as if to activate the self-start, but is called for a violation

0:25 Hartshorn gets the next draw on the violation; that’s 2-for-2

0:25 UMD GOAL Hartshorn gets free inside the circle and finishes! What a start for the Terps, who lead 1-0

0:05 Hartshorn wins the draw, while Widner runs off

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Maryland is in the white, with red numbers and trim reminiscent of the Maryland flag; Syracuse is in the orange with white numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the turf as best they can, with temperatures around 34 degrees with a spot of wind

PREGAME The thing to remember, however, is that it was five years ago yesterday that Gary Gait and Syracuse came into town and, with a 10-9 win, became the last women’s lacrosse team to beat the Terps at the LFHC

PREGAME Maryland has been bound and determined this season to redeem what it may have perceived as a lost opportunity to create a dynastic run of titles; they dispatched defending champion North Carolina two weeks ago and hope to put together a similar effort this afternoon

PREGAME For Syracuse, look for freshman Morgan Widner to have an impact. She has been a specialist for the team thus far, taking the draw and running off the field immediately afterwards — draw in, run off (or DIRO). Question is, can Maryland’s pace in the midfield create odd-man chances during the seconds when the Orange are performing the substitution?

PREGAME I think they key barometer is going to be in the draw circle. With the graduation of three-time Tewaaraton Trophy winner Taylor Cummings, it’s been up to freshman Kali Hartshorn to win the center draws for Maryland. Hartshorn has been so good thus far that few have noticed that junior-national team star Brindi Griffin has only one goal thus far

PREGAME Maryland’s attack is entering the post-Taylor Cummings era, and is also looking for its identity. The Terps’ forwards, featuring the likes of Caroline Wannen, Zoe Stukenberg, Megan Whittle, and Jen Giles, is going against a tough group of defenders for Syracuse which includes Kaeli O’Connor, Haley McDonald, Alexa Radziewicz, and Katie Rudkin in front of goalie Asa Goldstock. If Goldstock has the kind of game she had last week against Florida, Syracuse has a good chance to win today

PREGAME Syracuse’s women are looking for their identity after the graduations of greats like Kailah Kempney, Alyssa Murray, Halle Majorana, and Kayla Treanor. Look for Nicole Levy and Riley Donahue to carry the play, and I think this might be the game where transfer Allie Jimerson from UAlbany is going to have to step up. Megan Taylor had a great performance two weeks ago against Carolina and will have to try to replicate that for this match

PREGAME Maryland is 5-0 this season and the No. 1 ranked team in national polling; Syracuse is 7-0, and ranked fourth in recent polls

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to the Lacrosse and Field Hockey Complex at the University of Maryland for this interconference match between Syracuse and Maryland

Mar. 10, 2017 — Might the USA Gymnastics scandal have a nuclear option?

This afternoon, the governing board of USA Gymnastics is meeting to determine whether they should demand the resignation of Steve Penny, the president of the national governing body of the sport.

At the same time, however, there is now pressure from the United States Olympic Committee and from defendants in multiple lawsuits in the matter of former team doctor Larry Nasser. Indeed, John Manly, a lawyer representing some 70 plaintiffs against Nasser, yesterday called on the USOC to decertify USA Gymnastics.

That is, to strip the current organization of the power to organize the sport and its various competitions in this country.

This “nuclear option” has been threatened before in the current reign of USOC chairman Scott Blackmun. It was used to compel USA Track & Field to shrink or get rid of some of its committees and bureaurcracy a few years ago.

But for the USOC to go after a sport which has a pretty high profile and success rate on the international level? This is, to me, unheard of.

And it should leave other national governing bodies looking over their shoulders. After all, gymnastics is not the only sport heavily marketed towards young females whose lone aspiration is to be in an Olympics, and they and their parents don’t see the fact that there is little to no international competition for them after their careers are over.

I am, frankly, surprised that there hasn’t been more of an attempt by USA Gymnastics and its sponsors to create a professional circuit for artistic or rhythmic gymnastics.

Which makes you wonder where all the money is going.