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July 23, 2021 — The Final Lacrosse Top 50 for 2021

These Top 50 listings are never easy. Throw in a global pandemic which cut down the number of games as well as cutting out some competitions altogether, and the job got a far sight harder.

Fortunately, thanks to copious glasses of water and a slice or two of turtle cheesecake, we were able to come up with a Top 50 girls’ lacrosse list:

1. Northport (N.Y.) 18-0
2. Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.) 15-1
3. Delray American Heritage (Fla.) 16-1
4. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 21-1
5. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 17-0
6. Radnor (Pa.) 21-2
7. Milton (Ga.) 21-0
8. Darien (Conn.) 18-3
9. Westwood (Mass.) 24-0
10. East Chapel Hill (N.C.) 13-0
11. Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.) 25-0
12. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 13-3
13. Moorestown (N.J.) 18-3

14. Annapolis Broadneck (Md.) 13-0
15. Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 13-2
16. Canandaigua (N.Y.) Academy 17-2
17. Manhasset (N.Y.) 13-3
18. San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) 17-0
19. Louisville Kentucky Country Day School (Ky.) 25-0
20. New Canaan (Conn.) 20-1
21. Orlando Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) 20-1
22. Langley (Va.) 16-0
23. Dublin Coffman (Ohio) 18-5
24. Garden City (N.Y.) 14-2
25. Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.) 15-4
26. Franklin (Mass.) 18-1
27. Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.) 11-0
28. Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) 13-5
29. Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 17-1

30. Marriottsville Marriott’s Ridge (Md.) 10-1
31. Fort Covington Salmon River (N.Y.) 16-0
32. Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 20-4
33. Park City (Utah) 19-0
34. Washington Georgetown Visitation (D.C.) 4-2
35. West Babylon (N.Y.) 13-5
36. South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 12-0
37. Dover-Sherborne (Mass.) 19-1
38. Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 10-3
39. Kennebunk (Maine) 16-0

40. Aurora Evergreen (Colo.) 11-2
41. Fairfield Ludlowe (Conn.) 17-4
42. Cincinnati Mariemont (Ohio) 19-3
43. St. Louis Mary Institute-Country Day School (Mo.) 16-0
44. Bethesda Stone Ridge (Md.) 8-2
45. Richmond Douglas S. Freeman (Va.) 12-1
46. Columbia Bishop England (S.C.) 18-0
47. Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 7-1
48. Nashua Bishop Guertin (N.H.) 18-0
49. Corona Del Mar (Calif.) 17-5
50. South Burlington (Vt.) 14-2

July 20, 2021 — Final lacrosse Statwatch for 2021

With the latest lacrosse season seen in at least a quarter-century having finished, we can finally bring you our annual soup of lacrosse statistics, numbers which connect the past to the present.

Below are stats which have been culled from a number of places, including 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, Philly Lacrosse, MSG Varsity, the Ann-Arbor News, and The Washington Post.

I encourage you to keep convincing your teams, your schools, leagues, or state governing bodies to 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.

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
191 Francesca Frieri, Lockport (Ill.)
145 Cassidy Jones, Memphis White Station (Tenn.)
143 Jamieson Meyer, Sandy Waterford (Utah)
137 Alexis Ashton, Blairstown North Warren (N.J.)
133 Alexis Lauricella, Holmdel St. John Vianney (N.J.)
128 Isabella Caporuscio, Mountain Top Crestwood (Pa.)
127 Karly Keating, Lisle Benet Academy (Ill.)
125 Izzy Szejk, Mechanicsburg (Pa.)
121 Ryann Frechette, St. John’s Bartram Trail (Fla.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
93 Elizabeth Tausig, Charleston Bishop England (S.C.)
84 Emily Phillips, Wake Forest (N.C.)
77 Sadie Salazar, Chapin (S.C.)
77 Caroline Mullahy, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.)
77 Bella Mims, Clermont East Ridge (Fla.)
75 Shoshona Henderson, Princeton (N.J.)
73 Ella Linthicum, York (Pa.) Catholic
73 Bridget Longsinger, Verona (N.J.)
71 Taylor McClain, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest (Fla.)
71 Sydney Sventy, Mount Holly Rancocas Valley (N.J.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
58 Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.)

COACHING WINS
812 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)

Thanks for reading our lacrosse stats for the season just past, and we’ll see you in the spring.

June 19, 2021 — The puzzling marketing strategy of Athletes Unlimited

If you’ve jumped onto the ticketing portion of the Athletes Unlimited website over the last few weeks, you’ll notice something odd. It’s impossible to buy tickets not only for Friday’s opening doubleheader, but for 20 of the 30 games that are being held over the next five weekends.

Today, I’ve noticed that, on the 20 games which aren’t being ticketed through the AU website have two words written in red on the logos for the games: “LIMITED ACCESS.”

The home of Athletes Unlimited lacrosse is to be Maureen Hendricks Field, which seats some 5,000 people and has been known to fill up for events such as U.S. Open Cup games involving D.C. United and Washington Spirit home matches.

While one can surmise that the fact that the 20 games with limited access are already sold out (which would be absolutely marvelous), it does call into question whether the limited access is for health and safety. The nation and the world are experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 thanks to the Delta Variant, and large crowds, including those with unvaccinated youth lacrosse players, could lead to an enormous spike amongst unvaccinated people.

Thing is, a couple of the bigger youth lacrosse tournaments on the summer schedule, the World Series of Lacrosse and the IWLCA Champions Cup, have already taken place, and other events are taking place all over the Eastern seaboard, but a good distance away from the Maryland Soccerplex.

Where, I wonder, is Athletes Unlimited going to get the people to fill the seats?

July 15, 2021 — Has the Ivy League become an igloo in the middle of a heat wave?

The Ivy League will be making a sporting comeback, albeit a cautious one, after an entire academic year away from the athletic field, courts, and pools of America.

Being an Ivy League coach is tough enough, with restrictions on recruiting budgets, lengths of season, and the postseason which are not found in any other college conferences across America. But the pandemic has thrown obstacles, dilemmas, and Kafka-esque situations at the Ancient Eight that are unprecented.

One major result has been that a number of Ivy League student-athletes have withdrawn from school — sometimes for a year, but on other occasions, making a transfer to another school. This is because the Ivy League has not allowed current student-athletes a fifth year of eligibility, which has led to students seeking other options.

Today came news of two recent transfers from Penn’s field hockey team to that of Duke — goalkeeper Grace Brightbill and outfielder Marykate Neff. They join a number of other former Ivy League athletes to move to other sides, which include Maryland’s Juliana Tornetta and Northwestern’s Maddie Bacskai.

These are game-changing players, and could very well shift the balance of power in field hockey the same way that Charlotte North did when she transferred from Duke to Boston College, where she won a national championship and a Tewaaraton Trophy.

But think of this from a coach’s perspective. You’re trying to fill out your roster, a fourth of which (theoretically) graduates every year, but your own conference rules do not allow any leeway for an event which is out of your control.

Perhaps the regulations regarding graduate-student play in the Ivy League were a mistake.

July 13, 2021 — United States Coach of the Year, lacrosse nominees

The United States Coach of the Year Award is given to a head coach or co-head coaches who made a noticeable difference in the performance of a scholastic lacrosse team in a particular season. The coaching performance is not limited to progress made in the year which the award is given.

Here are this year’s nominees:

Thomas Brandel, Sykesville Liberty (Md.): Got the Lions to their first state championship appearance since 2001 and won the Class 1A state final over Fallston (Md.)

John Dwyer, Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.): Coming out of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ramblers may have had their best team ever, winning all 25 games on their schedule

Kristina Gagnon, Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.): The Gators not only won the IAAM “A” title in 2021, but also beat rival McDonogh twice, which is a remarkable feat

Kristin Igoe Guarino, Franklin (Mass.): The former U.S. women’s national team player coached her Franklin side to within one win of a state championship

Ashley Inman, Poway (Calif.): The former Oregon star had a rough start to the 2021 season, losing three of four, but had a memorable late-season run through the CIF San Diego Open Tournament

Ron LaFrance, Fort Covington Salmon River (N.Y.): The coach, who doubles as Chief of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, has been not only able to get the most out of the Shamrocks in 2021, but also steered them to a Section X championship

Dana Lenneper, Tinton Falls Trinity Hill (N.J.): Has taken this program, which has only been around since 2014, to the state Non-Public “B” title, and fought a tremendous three-part battle with conference rival Rumson-Fair Haven

John McClain, Delray American Heritage (Fla.): Despite losing a one-in-a-lifetime player to graduation, the Stallions were able to win the state championship, beating a number of amazing teams along the way

Carol Rose, Northport (N.Y.): Despite the weight of expectations and a tough county schedule, the team went undefeated and won the Long Island Class “A” title

Rachel Sanford, Aurora Evergreen (Colo.): Brought first girls’ lacrosse championship for any school in Jefferson County, bringing her vision into reality after a three-year journey

Gianna Spinelli, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.): First-year head coach was able to motivate the Royals to a repeat performance as Tournament of Champions trophy-winners

Kristin Woods, New Canaan (Conn.): Playing a tough league schedule, the Rams defeated Darien (Conn.) twice in the regular season before losing in the state tournament, one which Darien would eventually win

The recipient will be announced July 27.

July 12, 2021 — The right woman for the job

Today, it was announced that Meg Decker would be taking the job of head women’s lacrosse for Xavier University, a team which will be playing in the Big East beginning in the fall of 2023.

Decker comes from a “builder” background, as she previously started the program at the University of Hartford, was an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth as it played its inaugural season in 2016, and played on the first Naval Academy women’s lacrosse team back in 2008.

The circumstances of Decker’s move from Hartford come from the university’s decision to drop from Division I to Division III starting this fall, an action which has caused protests on campus.

But Decker, according to a prepared statement released this morning, appears to be understanding the gravitas of taking on this task.

“Xavier is perfectly situated to be a force in the world of women’s lacrosse,” she said. “The history and culture of academic and athletic excellence provide a clear path for future success of women’s lacrosse. Winning is in the DNA at Xavier. I am familiar with the strength of the programs in the Big East Conference and have had the opportunity to both coach and play against many of them. I can’t wait to get started.”

Xavier will become the seventh team in the Big East once the team takes the field for fall-ball a year from now.

July 9, 2021 — The state of lacrosse, 2021

The game of lacrosse came out of 2020 with as much uncertainty as when it entered, but emerged with new role models and more than one new platform to publicize the game.

The regrettable aspect of the 2021 spring lacrosse season for U.S. colleges is the number of teams which opted out. The entirety of the Ivy League decided not to play, although individual teams could play friendlies against other colleges located within 75 miles of campus.

The rest of the U.S. college universe, including all three NCAA divisions and the NAIA — leapt back into competition the moment they were allowed to do so. There were some hiccups within some college programs, with some individual schools having to shut themselves down for anywhere from two weeks to an entire month.

But once vaccines became widely available to the general public (and, presumably, to student-athletes), the games started coming thick and fast.

A lot of the NCAA Division I storyline surrounded who could possibly contend with the University of North Carolina, a team which would not only have just about its entire starting lineup back but introduced freshman Caitlyn Wurzburger, who was the only prep player, male or female, with more than 1,000 combined goals and assists.

UNC had an early statement when, in a March 6 game against Boston College, the Tar Heels ran off seven straight goals to begin the second half, and would win the game 21-9.

Attention turned to Syracuse as a possible contender, but on April 3, the Orange lost to UNC by a score of 17-6. Northwestern, a team which put up video game-type numbers, showed itself a contender when it swept 2019 NCAA champion Maryland twice in three days, each by 10-goal margins.

Northwestern won its first 15 games of the season playing a fast type of lacrosse, reminiscent of its style of play in the mid-2000s when it broke onto the scene winning NCAA titles. Many of the scoring plays went through its star forward, Izzy Scane, who poured in 98 goals on the season.

But a few hundred miles to the east, another individual scoring season for the ages was developing. That was by attacker Charlotte North of Boston College. North, when she transferred from Duke before the 2019-20 academic year, recorded herself a number of trick-shot videos which showed an amazing array of stick skills.

She would use that physicality and individual brilliance to take Boston College on her back on a thrilling ride through the NCAA Division I Tournament. Boston College had been beaten in its conference tournament semifinal by Syracuse, but the Eagles got through Fairfield and Notre Dame before facing UNC in the national semifinals, winning 11-10.

Boston College would have a rematch with Syracuse in the national final in Towson, Md., and it was North who was the defining factor. She had six goals in the game, bringing her total to 102, breaking the NCAA record and giving Boston College its first NCAA Division I title with a 16-10 win.

In Division II, Lindenwood College beat Queens University of Charlotte 14-12, while Division III saw Salisbury beat Tufts 14-13.

In the schools, it was a time of transition as many top lacrosse programs had to dodge travel and competition restrictions in order to have a season in 2021. These restrictions had different effects on different areas of the country.

In New York, teams were prevented from playing for a state title this spring. Teams making the postseason could only go as far as their sectional finals. One notable exception was Long Island, where some memorable games featuring the Section VIII and Section XI champions from Nassau and Suffolk counties took place.

Amongst the better private schools in the mid-Atlantic, teams were not allowed to cross state borders in order to meet local rivals. Indeed, the entirety of the schedule for the nation’s finest team of the 2010s, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.), was within the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland. But the Eagles limped into the IAAM playoffs in 2021, losing two consecutive league matches for the first time since at least 2009.

McDonogh would lose a regular-season game as well as the IAAM final to Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.). A few weeks after that IAAM final, St. Paul’s would feature in winning one of two postseason lacrosse tournaments with regional reach and national aspirations that would be held in late June.

But even while those tournaments were taking place, there was scholastic lacrosse on the docket. Indeed, when Dover-Sherborn (Mass.) beat Harvard Bromfield (Mass.) in the MIAA Division 2 title match on July 2, it marked the latest girls’ lacrosse state championship in at least 25 years.

The 2021 season did have some memorable milestones. In Illinois, a junior named Francesca Frieri, an attacking midfielder from Lockport (Ill.) Township, scored 191 goals, more than anyone has ever scored in one season in the recorded history of girls’ scholastic lacrosse.

Players like Frieri are likely to see an evolving game over the next several years, given what has been going on with various platforms of the game. Just this month, the NCAA is allowing athletes to take advantage of name, likeness, and image (NLI) regulations which are seeing many athletes, including women’s lacrosse players, to sign with various promotional businesses in order to make money while being a student-athlete.

In the post-graduate ranks, there is a five-week league called Athletes Unlimited which promises to promote the game and the players in a way never before seen. The four teams are selected by four captains, identified through their performances through various metrics like goals, assists, ground balls, caused turnovers, and the like. Like in the UWLX and the WPLL, the game will be 9-on-9 with a 60-second possession clock.

In addition, you’re beginning to see the lacrosse effort ramping up to have the game at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. The world governing body of the game has already settled on a 6-on-6 variety of the game played on a pitch about the size of a six-man football field.

We don’t know if the Athletes Unlimited folks will transition to the Olympic rules, but it might make an interesting exercise.

July 6, 2021 — Lacrosse region of the year, 2021

With the slow restart of high school sports in 2021, you actually didn’t have much opportunity to see really good scholastic lacrosse competition amongst regions this past spring.

In addition, most of the favored and fancied teams in the lacrosse universe managed to regain their positions at the tops of their respective leagues, sectionals and state tournaments.

However, there was an interesting occurrence in an area of the country which has always had a strong girls’ lacrosse tradition, but is just starting to assert itself on a national level alongside the likes of Maryland, Long Island, Massachusetts, and Florida.

That place is Pennsylvania. Since the movement of girls’ scholastic soccer to the fall for every corner of the commonwealth, this has allowed girls’ lacrosse to flourish from the Delaware Valley to the shores of the Monanagahela. In 2021, however, one area was better than anywhere else.

That area is the city of Radnor, a town of 32,000 due west of Philadelphia right at the intersection of the Main Line and the Blue Route.

Radnor (Pa.), the local public school, has been a District 1 power for years, and when the PIAA held its first state championship in 2009, the team won the championship by running clock.

In that year, in the second round of the tournament, Radnor had to repel a challenge from a school located only about a half a mile away, straight as the crow flies. That school was Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) out of the Philadelphia Catholic League. And despite the fact that the two schools are located right next to each other, they are in separate PIAA districts. Carroll is lumped in with the balance of PCL teams and those of the Philadelphia Public League, while Radnor High is an enormous pool of suburban public schools spanning four counties.

This year, Carroll and Radnor were in separate PIAA tournaments. Radnor, after slipping to Glen Mills Garnet Valley (Pa.) in the district semifinals, won their way into the 3A state bracket, winning the final over Manheim (Pa.) Township 11-5. In the 2A bracket, Carroll beat Wallingford Strath Haven (Pa.) 14-6, making it a sweep for the town.

July 5, 2021 — A second “national championship” for girls’ lacrosse

I didn’t want to go much longer without acknowledging what happened in Farmington, Conn. last week in the inaugural Girls High School Lacrosse National Championship.

This invitational tournament saw Victor (N.Y.), the runners-up in the NYSPHSAA Section V Class B title game three weeks ago, against a Darien (Conn.) team which took on its club name, Team Tsunami, over the course of the competition.

Victor, which had lost the Section V championship to Canandaigua (N.Y.) Academy, got their revenge in the tournament, winning a semifinal game 16-9 over CA. But the offensive output the Blue Devlis showed in the semifinals was absent against the Tsunami, whose high-school alter ego won the CIAC Class L title a few weeks back.

The Tsunami defense, led by goalie Shea Dolce, held Victor to four goals in the final, while the offense scored six. Thanks in large part to attacking midfielder Chloe Humphrey, who found her opportunities and took full advantage of them.

The game saw both teams trying to value the ball as much as possible, hanging on for long stretches and making the opposition chase in the early summer heat. The result was, as you might expect, a taut and tense game with few openings.

July 1, 2021 — A crux of activity, plus lacrosse awards season

Today, July 1, is a very, very busy day here on the site. And it will be very, very busy this month.

This evening, the latest scholastic girls’ lacrosse season ever has its climax with the Division 1 and Division 2 tournament championship games in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Today and tomorrow, the knockout rounds in the U-19 National Club Championship take place in field hockey, followed by the inaugural Nex-US championship for youth players not taking part in high-performance duty.

Also, today is the first day that NCAA athletes will be able to take advantage of name, likeness, and image (NLI) regulations to allow them to make money while still in college. This could have any number of ramifications, from autograph signings to running sports camps in the summertime.

This month also sees the first of 30 games in the new Athletes Unlimited women’s lacrosse league, an exercise that puts the power in the hands of the players over the five-week season. Teams will be chosen by the best four players in the league, determined by statistical metrics. This creates a style of lacrosse which will be heavy on improvisation rather than an ingrained system of play.

Oh, and did we mention the Olympics begin the final week of the month?


In addition to all of this, we’re readying for awards season for lacrosse in 2021. Here’s what we have planned:

July 6: Region of the Year
July 9: The State of Lacrosse
July 13: United States Coach of the Year, the nominees
July 16: Games of the Year
July 20: Final Statwatch for 2021
July 23: The Final Top 50
July 27: United States Coach of the Year
July 30: Your national scoring champion