Monday evening I missed the first few minutes of the Northwestern Wildcats hosting the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, live from a beautiful indoor facility on the shores of Lake Michigan. The game was filled with huge momentum swings and multi-goal runs by both of these two Championship Contenders. UNC raced out to a 5-1 lead, only to have Northwestern take their own 7-5 lead. The Wildcats took a 10-8 edge into the half. UNC opened the second half with 5 consecutive goals for a 13-10 advantage and would later hold a 18-14 lead, and they were able to hold off one last run by the ‘Cats en route to a thrilling 20-18 road victory.
This was one of the greatest displays of speed, athleticism and skill, that I have ever had the pleasure to see. Both teams are loaded with talented players, and the competition out there was fierce and physical. It was not only a physical contest, but a bit of a chess match between the Coaching Staffs as well as the players on the field. Adjustments in personnel and in strategy, were key parts to the ever shifting tides of momentum. Jamie Ortega for UNC and Izzy Scane for Northwestern were both face guarded for much of the game, and yet they both had tremendous impacts for their team. Scane managed to score 8 goals and Ortega was limited to 2 goals and an assist. But I was very impressed with Ortega’s overall game, especially her work on the Draw Circle, the ride and ground balls. In the age of the Possession Clock, I have watched many games where the Draw did not seem as crucial as it was in the past. But this high scoring affair, highlighted the importance of the Draw once again. Gaining as many possessions as possible becomes imperative, in trying to match the scoring pace of the opponent. This was a fantastic showcase for Women’s Lacrosse, and the Big Ten Network’s production did a great job of bringing it to a wider audience.
Tuesday evening was the first practice for the 3rd/4th grade PAL Girls! We had 10 of the 17 rostered players in attendance, and I thought it went well. The girls worked hard and had fun doing it. I had not been back to Woodland Middle School, since my 23 year old daughter was in 6th grade! It was great to back out on that field, coaching the kids again.
This afternoon (Wednesday) I live streamed the first weekday PSAC West Matchup of the year, as the Lady Lakers of Mercyhurst welcomed Slippery Rock to Saxon Stadium (formerly Tullio Field). It was nice to see the familiar sights of Tullio, and as game time approached, and Junior Attacker Judy Rescott sang the National Anthem, it almost felt like I was there! The Lakers scored early and often in this one, and were able to get the game into running time before halftime, with a 12-2 lead. Six different players scored goals and Mercyhurst was able to play a lot of players, on their way to a 14-6 home win. The defense was impressive throughout and overall I think this was a good start to Conference play for the Lakers. It is not easy getting used to “Saxon Stadium” or to the Lakers playing without Number 11. But Mercyhurst is near and dear to my heart, and I will keep on watching them, every chance I get.