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Archive for Lacrosse

April 5, 2019 — The rise of non-traditional education in girls’ lacrosse

We referenced yesterday the fact that a Top 25 NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse team had a goalkeeper who attended a school which didn’t have a lacrosse team.

Well, this week, the Under Armour company announced its first group of 11 players chosen for this summer’s senior all-star game to be held at Johns Hopkins University. It’s a definitive All-America side and gives a pretty good indicator as to who is likely to be able to succeed at the next level.

One of the selectees is a forward named Hannah Leubecker, who is committed to the University of Maryland. She is from Fallston, Md., but does not pull on the orange of her high-school side.

Instead, she is home-schooled, and plays for a club team representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Read more on the team in this story from the Hartord Aegis.

Now, there are plenty of stories about homeschooled athletes entering college. One can even be found at the University of Maryland; a recent graduate was U.S. national field hockey team member Jill (Witmer) Funk, who, though homeschooled, played for her local high school’s field hockey team with great success.

It will be interesting to see how Leubecker handles the transition to university play and university life.

April 4, 2019 — One Wednesday in the best D-3 women’s lacrosse conference

Last night, at around the dinner hour, you had some of the best lacrosse in America on display.

That’s because the New England Small College Athletic Conference showcased Bowdoin vs. Bates, Trinity vs. Connecticut College, Tufts vs. Williams, and Amherst vs. Wesleyan.

It was Wesleyan-Amherst that showed itself to be the Game of the Night, as Wesleyan got an overtime goal from Sydney Prokupek to take an 11-10 win. Wesleyan moved to 9-1 on the season, while Amherst dropped its second straight.

The team effort of the evening had to have been Connecticut College. Down 10-2 at the half to Trinity, the Camels mounted an enormous second-half comeback and got to within 13-10 with about two minutes to go. However, the Bantams were able to win the next draw and score to make the final score 14-10.

Williams, which will be taking on Amherst this weekend, lost a tough one to league-leading Tufts by a 21-13 count. The Jumbos were led by Collette Smith (five goals), Emily Games (four) and Anna Clarke (three).

Bowdoin, which has been mired in mid-table since a couple of early league defeats, scored the first 11 goals of their CBB derby match with Bates in a 14-2 victory. The Polar Bears are a side which has plenty of tools and a much more national reach in terms of its roster, boasting players from Vero Beach (Fla.), Lakeville Hotchkiss (Conn.), Dallas Hockaday (Tex.), and a starting goalkeeper from Rosslyn Hoffman-Boston/Woodlawn (Va.), an alternative high school which doesn’t have varsity lacrosse.

All in all, an interesting evening. And if Division III is this good, why not check out a college lacrosse game in your town?

April 3, 2019 — Towards a Division III superconference? Not so much.

Yesterday, it was announced that York College, a school which has been on the rise in both field hockey and women’s lacrosse the last few years, will be joining the Middle Atlantic Conference beginning the fall of 2020.

York had been a member of the Capital Athletic Conference for some three decades, but decided to join up with the MAC’s Commonwealth Division to join up with the likes of Stevenson, Messiah, and Lebanon Valley.

The MAC and its 18 teams are an interesting construct. It’s tempting to think of the membership as being a single superconference.

But instead of having one large conference, the teams compete as two separate leagues: the MAC Commonwealth and the MAC Freedom. Each are large enough to earn an AQ to the NCAA Tournament (depending, of course, on the number of teams participating in the sport in any given year).

Now, there are other movements in Division III as well concerning the MAC. Manhattanville College is leaving MAC Freedom at end of this year to go the Skyline Conference, while the Stevens Institute of Technology is entering MAC Freedom this summer.

April 2, 2019 — Top 10 for the week of March 30

OK, gang. Here’s our first stab at a national Top 10 for this spring. There have already been some immense results thus far this season. We’ll be adding a group of “Bear In Mind” teams in subsequent weeks as this countdown evolves:

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 6-0

Eagles got by Baltimore Bryn Mawr (Md.) 17-11 last Friday and travel to Long Island on Saturday to play Manhasset (N.Y.)

2. Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 4-0

Hosts West Babylon (N.Y.) in a showdown match this Friday evening

3. Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) 15-0

The defending Class C champs have a game at Long Beach before facing Garden City (N.Y.) next week

4, Manhasset (N.Y.) 1-0

Opened their season with a 15-5 win over Port Washington (N.Y.) and face McDonogh this Saturday

5. Delray American Heritage (Fla.) 13-1

Showed, in an 8-3 win over Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.), that it can win a tactical match rather than a run-and-gun shootout

6. Moorestown (N.J.) 2-0

Got a statement win last Saturday against Washington Georgetown Visitation (D.C.)

7. Glenelg (Md.) 3-0

Gladiators came back from four goals down to beat Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.)

8. Darien (Conn.) 0-0

Wave begin season tonight against Fairfield Warde (Conn.), then host Garden City (N.Y.) this Saturday

9. Garden City (N.Y.) 1-0

Trojans meet South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) in an early-season showdown that could be the bellweather game for all of Long Island this season

10. Rosemont Agnes Irwin (Pa.) 0-0

Opens the season with PAISAA rivals Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.) and Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.)

March 28, 2019 — Last of a kind?

TELESIDE, USA — During this evening’s lacrosse match between Northwestern and Penn State, there was talent out there on the pitch, then there was an orchestra conductor.

Selena Lasota is one of those rare players whose presence not only commands the ball, but also dictates what opponents have to do to stop her.

Of all the athletes I have watched in the world of sport, Lasota is amongst only a rare few who can seemingly control the opposition simply by being on the competition surface, reading plays two to three steps ahead of what they were going to do.

My list is short: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jen Adams, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and Tony Hrkac, the former Hobey Baker Award winner from North Dakota.

Each of these players seemed to be able to what they do with ordinary effort, but Lasota is the only one with a leaping, athletic forehand shot that comes straight from box lacrosse.

Now, given the fact that there are defenses in basketball, hockey, football, and women’s lacrosse now geared towards stopping dominant offensive talents, I wonder if Lasota is going to be the last of a breed of dominant scorers who can take over a game in the last five minutes, leading to an era where your better scorers are likely to only get 40 goals per season, but the offense is spread around to all seven players in a given offensive set.

If so, there are only a few opportunities left to catch this truly special player with a Northwestern team in that “blanket” of teams chasing Boston College and Maryland for Final Four berths.

March 27, 2019 — The disruptor

TELESIDE, USA — Watching this evening’s women’s lacrosse game between Maryland and Princeton, there was one singular irresistible force on the pitch.

Her statline: four goals on 4-for-5 shooting, one assist, one steal, and 11 draw controls.

But what makes Kali Hartshorn the player she is — a recent addition to the Tewaaraton Trophy watchlist — are aspects of the game that aren’t counted in a box score. She hustled to back up errant shots, went after ground-ball pickups, and utterly disrupted anything that Princeton tried to get going after the Tigers fell behind early by five goals.

I’ve said before that Hartshorn is one of a long line of excellent draw-controllers that have stepped in the center circle for Maryland over the years, whether it has been Kelly Amonte-Hiller, Cathy Reese, Quinn Carney, Acacia Walker, Karri Ellen Johnson, Dana Dobbie, Taylor Cummings, or Zoe Stukenberg.

Hartshorn is very much their equal. It’s fun watching her play.

March 24, 2019 — The drama continues in Division I

Hey, all. Don’t blink or you will find yourself missing one of the most amazing and competitive seasons in the history of Division I women’s lacrosse.

In the last few days, you saw these scores:

Florida 11, Stony Brook 10
Virginia Tech 17, Louisville 16
Syracuse 10, Notre Dame 9

But in addition, you saw these:

Maryland 18, James Madison 5
Boston College 14, North Carolina 8

The pattern, I think, is changing — but only slightly. While I still think Boston College is the favorite to win the NCAA title and cut out the nets from the goals at Unitas Stadium, don’t count out Maryland, who would be playing its national semifinal and final matches just 46 miles from its campus in College Park.

As for most of the rest of the Top 10? Throw a blanket over them. It’s anyone’s guess which of these teams will survive and advance to the national semifinals in two months. Such is the level of competition this spring.