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Archive for Lacrosse

Sept. 13, 2017 — A lawsuit in Philadelphia has the school district flat-footed

Remember this?

Well, this has been happening the last few days.

And given the incredibly weak-as-water response by the flacks at the School District of the City of Philadelphia at the end of the story, I think McRae has not only a winning case, but one which may broaden legal definitions even in the face of government interference.

Watch this space.

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Sept. 7, 2017 — The IWLCA states the obvious

The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association is opening its own Hall of Fame with an inaugural six-woman class. Five of them are members of the U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame.

The honorees are from recent history, given the fact that the collegiate game matured only after the inception of Title IX; the inaugural AIAW national championship wasn’t contested until 1981; the previous three years, a national collegiate championship was co-administered by U.S. Lacrosse and the AIAW.

Given the tremendous accomplishments of their teams, it is not any surprise that, amongst the first class, was 11-time Division III national champion coach Sharon Pfluger, and eight-time DIvision I champion Cindy Timchal. Both are a hair short of 500 victories and could very well breach the 500-win barrier within days of each other this coming spring.

Also part of the class is Missy Foote, the Middlebury head coach who not only won five championships, but who helped teach the U.S. women’s national team how to play a zone defense. Joining them were Marge Watson, who started the women’s lacrosse program at Ursinus College in the 1950s; Tina Sloan Green, who steered Temple to three national championships and who was the first African-American woman to coach a college team; and Carole Kleinfelder, who brought the molded-head stick to women’s lacrosse in the late 1980s, helping Harvard won the 1990 national title.

It’s a worthy first class which will be inducted in Florida later this year.

 

Sept. 5, 2017 — An enormous cannonball over the bow of NJSIAA Group II

This afternoon saw the start of scholastic field hockey in the always-competitive state of New Jersey. And this includes what has historically been the most competitive of the state tournaments, Group II, which takes in schools from about 500 to 800 students. Indeed, when you think about it, the current NJSIAA Tournament of Champions holder is a Group II school, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.).

There was a golden age for the group about a decade and a half ago, but after the hurting that one extremely large schools (Voorhees Eastern) and one extremely small ones (Summit Oak Knoll) put on everyone else the last decade or so, I think Group II is undergoing a renaissance.

Need proof? Today, Madison (N.J.) Borough, a Group II school, beat Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) 3-0. Bridgewater-Raritan is the same school which, only three months ago, took home the Tournament of Champions trophy in a girls’ field-invasion sport.

But that sport was lacrosse. This could be a major statement by Ann Marie Davies’ Dodgers. The next chance for Madison to make another statement: Saturday, when the team travels to McAleer Stadium to take on Eastern.

And thanks to today’s result, Saturday has suddenly has become a huge contest.

Sept. 2, 2017 — A preview of the future of high school sports?

This morning, in Somerset, N.J., hard by the banks of the Weston Canal that used to transport goods to the Atlantic Ocean, a girls’ soccer game will be played.

But instead of any of the local high schools taking part, the two teams are the U-14 teams representing Sky Blue-Players Development Academy and F.C. Virginia, two of the 69 teams in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

The Development Academy is an 11-month league which trains players who are committed to improving their soccer in an environment which eases transition to a potential youth national team.

A matchday between two clubs is not just one game, but four, as the clubs’ U-14, U-15, U-16, and U-18 sides will play games all day at one site.

This is the inaugural season of the girls’ Development Academy; the boys have had their own league for a decade. But the girls’ DA will have some immediate effects on the high-school athletic scene.

Of course, it will be interesting to see which young soccer phenoms will ditch their high school teams to play DA ball exclusively. It’s notable that, although there are currently 69 clubs in the DA, there are some large swaths of the country that do not have a team.

Note that the season for the Development Academy is 10 months: a good soccer player who happens to play three sports for their school won’t be able to play, say, basketball or lacrosse or softball with her schoolmates.

Ultimately, it will be notable to see what happens after the first year, with players deciding that the DA is not for them and rejoining their school teams in not only soccer, but other athletic pursuits at their old high schools.

I think, depending on the athletic culture of their particular states, the Development Academy will affect certain athletic teams more than other.

But as this site has prophesied, I think the national governing bodies of sport are looking to get more involved in high-level player development as the NCAA doubles down on football and men’s basketball.

Which means that it’s not going to be very long before you start seeing an all-day matchday between, say, XCalibur and the W.C. Eagles in field hockey, or Hero’s and the Yellowjackets in girls’ lacrosse.

How long do you think it will take for this to happen? Five years? Ten?

Sept. 1, 2017 — A milepost for 19 years

It was 19 years ago this month when the first words of this website were first set to HTML code.

Of course, much has happened since then. We’ve documented some of the excellence that has occurred in field hockey and lacrosse, and watching the ways that teams like Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), the University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, The College of New Jersey, and Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) have created dominant athletic powerhouses.

We’ve seen players and teams succeed, other manage spectacular failures. We’ve seen astounding growth in girls’ high school lacrosse which is just starting to flow through to the collegiate game. We’ve seen field hockey fighting to hang on with expansion in some places, albeit with retrenchments in others.

But something has also happened in the last couple of days that has given your founder sudden pause. USA Field Hockey has released the rosters of five women’s national Masters teams for upcoming international tournaments.

On these rosters are more than two dozen players whom the Founder has seen play in high school.

That’s when you know you’re getting up there in age.

Aug. 24, 2017 — In for a Fight

They held the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) draft last evening, and, assuming all of the players selected will commit to the league and forego future association with UWLX, the one team that may have done itself the most good is the New York Fight.

The Fight have been able to select the last two Tewaaraton winners (Zoe Stukenberg, Taylor Cummings) plus a number of top contenders from previous award watchlists such as Alice Mercer and Kailah Kempney. Attacker Katrina Dowd is also an awesome signing for New York.

Now, each of the five teams have their own share of name-brand players on both sides of the ball. But for me, it’s notable that Philadelphia has not one, but two elite goalies in Kaylee Waters and Liz Hogan. I also think Baltimore has the best midfield with Dana Dobbie, Beth Glados, Brooke Griffin, Alyssa Leonard, Kaylin Morrissette, Michelle Tumolo, and Laura Zimmeman.

Of course, there are a lot of things that can happen between now and the inception of the 2018 WPLL season. But given the plans of the league in terms of the next incoming player draft (Gussie Johns, anyone?), the five rosters could all be a lot different next summer.

Aug. 23, 2017 — Philadelphia Public Schools: shame on you

Since the early days of privatization of Philadelphia public schools in 2002, there has been one crisis after another because of a lack of foresight, leadership, or competency. Or, on some occasions, a combination of all three.

The latest? Philadelphia has been unable to fill out the simple paperwork necessary to demonstrate that student-athletes matriculating to college are eligible.

You may want to read this story after having a stiff drink.