Wednesday, I tuned in to a live streamed broadcast of a Men’s Lacrosse Game (the first of the year for me!). The Scranton Royals hosted the Grove City Wolverines. I was eager to see the Sophomore from Kellenberg Memorial, Sean Crotty in action for the Royals. By the time I joined the stream, the Royals were out to a comfortable lead and Sean had already gotten a goal. I watched the remainder of the game, and though he did not register any more points, young Crotty played a lot and I thought, looked very good as Scranton cruised to a 15-11 victory.
Later on Wednesday, I was again glued to the computer screen (I am not always able to cast to the TV) for a 6pm matchup between the Springfield Pride and the Amherst Mammoths. This was the first time, I had watched Diana coaching, on screen – it felt strange for a minute or two, before I became consumed with the action. The 9th ranked Mammoths were too much for Springfield, from the outset. They were dominant in pretty much every part of the game, though there were bright spots for the Pride, as they played a lot of good settled defense and had a number of players showed flashes of their potential, it was just not consistent enough. This time Springfield did not show significant improvement in the second half, as they had in their previous games. As Amherst rolled to a 16-1 final, I wondered how good Amherst might be this season – I will be interested to find out.
Thursday was another streaming event for me, as I watched most of the Stony Brook versus Towson game. This was the second or third time I had seen SBU this year and though Towson is a solid notch below Syracuse, they are still a quality opponent. I was especially interested in Towson All American Defender, Olivia Conti from Wantagh, who has been a Counselor at the FLG Summer Camp for the past few years. She had a very strong game both on ball and especially in the clearing game. But, I was most impressed with the arsenal of weapons that Stony Brook has to go along with a stifling zone defense! Midfielder, Ally Kennedy is such a force, all over the field. Sure she scores goals (lots of them, too) but she is a ground ball machine and uses her tremendous speed and fitness level to constantly put pressure on the opponent – a pleasure to watch, to say the least!
Friday, I found my way to a game between Lock Haven and Shippensburg. What was my interest in this one? I did not know a single player on either team, but I confess to being a bit a PSAC junkie! I picked it up about midway through the second half and watched to the end as Shippensburg completed the second half comeback for a 14-13 road win! Unlike so many of the productions I have watched this season, the announcer for this game was EXCELLENT! And it was a pleasure to hear informed, accurate and educated analysis.
Debi and I decided to go to the Springfield – Middlebury game on Sunday, in Springfield. It was my idea, (big surprise to nobody, I am sure) to leave Saturday and catch a High School Hockey game at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. Debi’s cousin Gina’s son Christopher plays for Avon. I had no idea we would be attending the Founders League Championship game, as part of an absolutely Standing Room Only Crowd. Apparently, Avon and the entire league have produced a large number of College and Professional Hockey Players, and there is a large devoted fan base. What an atmosphere and what a game! It was a tight contest throughout, with Avon holding a 3-2 edge with just over 2 minutes remaining. Coming out of a Time Out, Salisbury pulled its Goalie, won the faceoff and tied the game, forcing overtime! Only a few minutes into the extra period, Salisbury again won a faceoff in their offensive zone and again found the back of the net. The postgame handshake was a terrific display of sportsmanship and respect. We did get in a quick visit with Rene (Gina’s husband), his other son, Jimmy and then Christopher, before hopping back in the car and heading for Springfield. It is a few days ago, and I am still thinking about this event!
I need to backtrack a little. We arrived at Avon early enough that Debi wanted to try to sneak in a nap before game time. While she tried to catch a few z’s, I was able to check up on another team close to my heart, the Lady Lakers of Mercyhurst, who were in action out at Tiffin University, in Ohio. I was able to follow the action via the Audio (and now visual!) updates on WhatsApp, provided by the Great Ed Greenway! Happily, the Lakers got back to their winning ways with a 19-9 win, hopefully a good omen as they head into PSAC West Play, this week.
We arrived at Diana’s in time to catch the Springfield Men’s Basketball Team in a second round home game, in the NCAA Tournament. We ate dinner while we watched The Pride fail to hold, what at one time was a 12 point lead. They fell in the final seconds to Hobart.
Breakfast on Sunday with Diana was probably my favorite part of the weekend. It was nice to catch up on what is going on in her life and to hear about all of the goings on, with her team and school. I am excited to see how the season develops. Before long, Diana had to head to the school, while we lingered a bit longer before heading over, as well. It was a beautiful sunny day and we squeezed in a quick walk around campus before heading in to Stagg Field to watch the Pride take on the #1 ranked, defending National Champions, the Panthers of Middlebury.
Middlebury was very impressive from the start, but I thought the Pride competed much better against them, than they had against Amherst. As the game progressed and Middlebury opened a double digit lead, Springfield continued to play hard and appeared to me, to gain valuable experience against this highest level opponent. So, despite the final score of 23-4, I think it will pay dividends down the road.