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July 25, 2017 — The Oedipus effect at the World Games

Thursday, women’s lacrosse makes its debut at the World Games in Poland, with the United States, the current FIL World Cup champions, taking on the inexperienced host nation.

The result, frankly, shouldn’t be in doubt. In a field including runners-up Canada, fourth-place Australia, and a unified Great Britain team including members of the silver-winning England side, the organizers did the States a pretty big favor.

Why? Because the States have had not only a quick turnaround from the World Cup, but have to get readjusted to the rules package for this year’s World Games.

You see, a number of members of the U.S. team played last year in the United Women’s Lacrosse League, which had 10 players on the pitch at any one time. This year, a number of U.S. players who played in UWLX last year announced their intention to play in the new Women’s Professional Lacrosse League next summer.

As fate would have it, the rules of the World Games mandate 10 players on the pitch at any one time.

Kind of reminds you of Oedipus, who thought he was running away from his destiny only to find himself running headlong towards it.

Another thing we’ve noticed about the U.S. approach to the tournament is that they originally were only going to have one goalie on the roster, Gussie Johns. But, the U.S. staff added the veteran Devon Wills to the roster, in what will be her swansong to the sport before she becomes commissioner of the WPLL.

But don’t blink; the tournament is only four days long with the championship final at 8 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

BULLETIN: July 21, 2017 — Beyond “freeze-tag”

Today, the NCAA adopted a number of rules changes which, following on from experimentation at college all-star games and United Women’s Lacrosse, is promising a style of play which you can explain to a parent or bystander more readily than with some of the old rules.

It will cause substantial tremors in the sport at all levels, even though today’s changes only govern the college game. We do not know when or if U.S. Lacrosse or the National Federation of State High School Associations will follow suit.

So, as a public service, we are going to take the rules changes one by one, since each of them will make a discernible change in the pace or the flow of the game;

1. FREEZE-TAG
Old rule: All players stop on the whistle
New rule: Unlimited movement on dead-ball situations
The skinny: The most distinctive and unique rule in sports is no more. But the loss of the rule means so much more than just appearance and flow. The game is going to open itself up for multiple changes in substitution strategy, since there will be truly unencumbered free substitutions. Having players being able to move on a dead ball will also make DIRO (draw in, run off) more of a strategy. The only weakness, I think, is that umpires aren’t going to be able to issue a four-meter penalty for someone making a bad check in the midfield. But there are other penalties which are available

2. BREAKDOWN IN THE MIDFIELD
Old rule: Unlimited number of fouls allowed
New rule: On any given possession, a defense is allowed only two fouls until the attack is able to clear the ball into its attacking 35-yard zone. A third team foul is a one-minute penalty.
The skinny: This is a rule borrowed from water polo, a game which saw defenses use multiple minor fouls to try to disrupt their opposition. But the persistence part of the rule in lacrosse is only in the midfield

3. THE DRAW
Old rule: Three players on each team may be on or in the draw circle, but once the draw is up, any player from either team could contest the ball in the midfield zone
New rule: Only the two centers and four wing players are eligible to contest the ball until possession is established
The skinny: This is one of the few times that the National Federation was ahead of the NCAA in terms of rulesmaking. This rule will make DIRO players (as well as all-rounders who are good on draws) even more important

4. PLAYING A LET
Old rule: If an umpire spots a shooting-space violation, the whistle is blown and the ball is dead, no matter whether or not a player takes a shot on goal
New rule: If a shot is taken and the ball goes in, the goal counts. If the goalie saves the shot, the save counts
The skinny: A number of games in the history of lacrosse have turned on a sequence in which a goal is taken off the board because of a shooting space violation, only to have the goalie make the save on the follow-up chance. Here, it’s “play on.”

5. IT’S GOOD IF IT GOES
Old rule: The ball has to be over the line when the clock (game clock or possession clock) hits zero
New rule: A shot taken before the expiration of the clock counts as a goal even if the clock expires with the ball in the air
The skinny: A number of sports, including water polo and basketball, has the standard of whether a shot is released before the clock expires, rather than having to judge whether the whole ball is over the whole line before the clock hits zero. I believe this is an easier standard for the umpires.

6. TEAM YELLOWS
Old rule: Any team can accrue an unlimited number of yellow cards in a match
New rule: A team is allowed three yellows, but on the fourth and subsequent fouls, the resulting two-minute penalty is non-releaseable
The skinny: This is a happy medium between the NCAA’s old rule and the NFHS rule which says that a team must play short the rest of the game on a team’s fourth yellow card

 

July 21, 2017 — The “other” semifinal

The United States women’s national lacrosse team did the expected yesterday, outclassing and overmatching England by a 19-8 score.

But in the other half of the championship draw sat a semifinal between Canada and Australia. The game was one for the ages, and was settled only after extra time.

For most of the last 20 years, Australia has been the team chasing the Americans for world championship honors. Indeed, it was a superteam featuring Sarah Forbes, Jen Adams, and Courtney Hobbs which beat the United States at the 2005 World Cup in Annapolis.

But since then, it has been the Canadians on the ascendancy. taking bronze in 2009 and silver in 2013. Young women from Canada are being encouraged to play box lacrosse at earlier ages, learning stick skills and passing angles in tight spaces that are being brought to bear in the outdoor game.

Indeed, Canada made an enormous breakthrough two years ago when its junior national team beat the U.S. in the U-19 World Cup. Players from that team started having influence on U.S. collegiate programs, and Canada became the home to the first “superprep” girls’ lacrosse team on the continent.

Yesterday, Canada and Australia battled to a 6-6 draw in regulation. Canada center Dana Dobbie had the game-tying goal with under three minutes to go. Teammates Megan Kinna and Allie Jimerson would follow on in extra time for the 8-6 win.

Today’s rest break for the Final Four not only gives the other participants in this year’s FIL championships a last hurrah in their classification matches, but it also allows an extra bit of speculation regarding how Saturday’s games will go.

Given the fact that the United States beat Canada 17-3 in pool play, I have a feeling that the Maple Leafs are going to have to try something different, such as strategic doubling on the ball or running a slow-down offense (no shot clock in this tournament, mind you).

Canada head coach Scott Teeter, associate head coach Gary Gait, and assistant coach Katrina Dowd will have it all to do in order to get the Maple Leafs to buy into their strategy, but given the fact that there are four years in between World Cups, I’d expect nothing less but Canada’s best effort against the thus-far bulletproof American side.

July 17, 2017 — The Dominators

The last time the United States women’s lacrosse team played Canada in an FIL World Cup, it was in the 2013 Word Cup final. On that day, the States 10-goalled the Maple Leafs by halftime on the way to a 19-5 win.

Yesterday, in the fourth round of pool play, the United States beat Canada 17-3. This was a Canada team that many (including your Founder) thought would have given the defending champions the greatest amount of trouble.

For a few minutes, Canada was able to slow the high-flying Americans down; the game was a 2-1 nailbiter about 10 minutes in. However, the United States went on a 14-0 run to put the game away.

The United States, in winning their four games in Pool A thus far, have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 69-15. Alex Aust and Brooke Griffin have led the States in goals, but another player who has excelled thus far is Syracuse’s Kayla Treanor, who has 10 goals and 12 assists thus far.

The Stars and Stripes have Wales tomorrow to close out pool play.

Given how well the States are playing, I think Wales is in trouble.

July 15, 2017 — United States Coach of the Year: Alyssa Frazier, Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)

Alyssa Frazier is a busy woman. As both head field hockey and girls’ lacrosse coach at Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.), she coaches two teams which are perennial contenders for state championships. With all of that comes certain off-season responsibilities such as running summer camps for both teams.

But during an unforgettable 2017 girls’ lacrosse season, Frazier added a new member to her team.

July 14, 2017 — Your national scoring champion

Novato, Calif., a town of about 50,000 about 25 miles due north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is known for being the home of video game companies Broderbund and Take Two Interactive. And, as it turns out, it’s also the home of a girls’ lacrosse team which has put up video-game like numbers over the last three years.

Novato (Calif.) has won the last three California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section championships, posting a combined record of 71-4. During the 2017 season, the Hornets scored 19 or more goals in a game an astonishing 18 times.

Charlie Rudy, a junior attacker, has been in the midst of this run of success. She has scored more than 300 goals in her scholastic career, including 160 this past season, the second-highest known single-season total of all time. Rudy, who is headed to Coloradi in the fall of 2018, is your national scoring champion for 2017,

“I had no idea how large the number was until we compared it with those of other schools,” Rudy says. “When I found out, it was super-cool.”

Rudy’s outstanding numbers are not the only byproduct of Novato’s excellence. Teammate Allie Level, the team’s Berkeley-bound center, won more than her share of draws for the Hornets, and had 69 assists on the year. The team’s defense has also improved from having to mark the high-powered fast-break offense every day in practice.

“I have never coached anyone like, and seen very few like her,” says Novato head caoch Rory Daly of her star attacker. “What truly sets her apart is her drive and her confidence.”

Novato’s varsity players have a particular set of unique circumstances that allow them to develop together. Youth players in the town are exposed to the sport as early as second grade, as was the case of Rudy. Too, the middle-school competition is not spread out over several schools, but are unified in one middle-school club team that plays similar teams from other towns, even though there are two high schools that serve the city: Novato San Marin (Calif.) is the other.

“I think what’s made us really good is that we’ve been able to stay together for many years,” Rudy says. “We’re also really good friends in school and off the field.”

Rudy’s total joins a number of top performances from the recent past:

2017: Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.), 160
2016: Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.), 135
2015: Sophia Turchetta, Harvard Bromfield (Mass.), 158
2014: Sophia Turchetta, Harvard Bromfield (Mass.), 170
2013: Daniela McMahon, Saddle River Country Day School (N.J.), 143
2012: Emma Lazaroff, Lafayette Centaurus (Colo.), 143
2011: Alex Moore, Allentown (N.J.), 148
2010: Autumn MacMillin, Tecumseh (Mich.), 157
2009: Katie Ferris, Carthage (N.Y.), 138
2008: Courtney Miller, Chappaqua Horace Greeley (N.Y.) 125
2007: Mallori Selliger, Clarkstown (N.Y.) North, 88
2006: Shannon Smith, West Babylon (N.Y.) 129

July 12, 2017 — Final Statwatch for 2017

Hello, and welcome back to Statwatch. It’s been a recordbreaking year, one which saw more than one player finish with more than 600 combined goals and assists. The accomplishments of Taylor Pinzone of Waltham (Mass.) and Bridget Ruskey of Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.) are to be celebrated, as well as the assist mark of Ruskey’s teammate Allison Hunter.

This is our last version of Statwatch for the 2017 girls’ lacrosse season. We acknowledge our information partners which include MaxPreps.com, NJ Advance Media, The Harrisburg Patriot-News, PhillyLacrosse.com, 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
160 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
140 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
140 Kaitlin Mead, Sparta (N.J.)
132 Brennan Dwyer, Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.)
131 Camryn Rogers, Somerville (N.J.)
120 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
119 Olivia Duarte, Bear Caravel Academy (Del.)
115 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
115 Elizabeth Murphy, Centreville (Va.)
112 Kate Sarnacki, Granby (Mass.)
111 Jordan Shugrue, Laurel St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)
109 Molly Carter, Lynbrook (N.Y.)
109 Hailey Carroll, Fulton (N.Y.)
107 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
106 Camryn Barnett, Allentown Parkland (Pa.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
115 Caroline Wurzburger, Delray Beach American Heritage (Fla.)
99 Allison Hunter, Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.)
92 Victoria Tucci, North Brunswick (N.J.)
83 Sydney Hogan, Branford (Conn.)
81 Madison Dunk, Durham (N.C.) Academy
81 Lea Cox, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
79 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
76 Sydney Roderick, Adams South Jefferson (N.Y.)
74 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
71 Elena Hynes, East Lyme (Conn.)
69 Allie Level, Novato (Calif.)
68 Madeline Hooks, Santa Ana Mater Dei (Calif.)
68 KateReagan Costello, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
520 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
485 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
387 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
386 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)
368 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
348 Ally Mastroianni, Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)
342 Kate Sarnacki, Granby (Mass.)
329 Lindsay Gerrato, Berkeley Heights Governor Livingston (N.J.)
329 Julie Bradbury, Allendale Northern Highlands (N.J.)
313 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
312 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
305 Abigail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)
278 Jillian Girardi, Watertown (N.Y.)
275 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
270 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)
269 Ali Baiocco, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
250 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)

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

INDIVIDUAL POINTS (COMBINED GOALS AND ASSISTS), CAREER
667 Taylor Pinzone, Waltham (Mass.)
621 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
587 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)
575 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)
559 Ally Mastroianni, Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)
548 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
524 Zoe Belodeau, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
477 Kate Sarnacki, Granby (Mass.)
474 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)
453 Julie Bradbury, Allendale Northern Highlands (N.J.)
448 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
432 Jillian Girardi, Watertown (N.Y.)
409 Lindsay Gerrato, Berkeley Heights Governor Livingston (N.J.)
408 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
374 Abigail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)
368 Braelie Kempney, Carthage (N.Y.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
177 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

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

Thanks, everyone, for keeping track of this with us.