Working Off the Weekend: Five Things to Know
1. Lacrosse Season is Here
Yes, it was only the second weekend of February, but the slate of games picked up and will really get going over the next two weeks in all divisions. However, the pre-Valentine's Day games (some in snow flurries) that have already been played do count as much as any other in the regular season standings. In addition to a top-five battle between the North Carolina and Florida women won by the Tar Heels, there were some early upsets, particularly on the Division I women's side.
No. 19 Vanderbilt shut down fifth-ranked Duke's offense in a 7-5 win. (The Blue Devils came in averaging over 20 goals per game.) Commodores coach Cathy Swezey was extremely excited with her defense in post-game comments. Later Sunday in California, No. 18 Ohio State knocked off sixth-ranked Stanford, handing the Cardinal its second loss of the weekend. (Stanford lost to defending NCAA champion Northwestern 18-6 on Friday.)
Notable debuts also dotted the schedule: Coach Rick Sowell at Navy (win versus VMI); coach Joe Spallina at Stony Brook (win versus Colgate); Michigan's first varsity game (loss to Detroit), San Diego State's first varsity game (loss to Ohio State).
For as many social media comments I saw complaining about football season being over, I thought to myself, "Do they know lacrosse season has started?"
2. It's Going to Take Some Time at Michigan
Now that the Wolverines are a Division I varsity program, the hard part begins. Playing with what is essentially a club team – albeit an elite club team – Michigan kicked off its regular season schedule Sunday against Detroit Mercy in Pontiac, Mich. I was curious to see the result, and also the type of game Michigan was able to give Detroit, to perhaps use as a barometer to measure how the Wolverines may stack up the rest of the season. It was tied 6-6 in the third quarter before the Titans pulled away to win 13-9.
What to take from this? It's one game, so I'm not entirely sure, but it only will get harder this season for Michigan with the likes of North Carolina and Denver ahead on the schedule.
For one game, at least, "It was a big confidence builder for us," fifth-year senior attackman and co-captain Trevor Yealy said. "It showed us that we belonged right away and that we could play with these guys, but we couldn't sustain that and came out flat in the second half."
Said coach John Paul, Lacrosse Magazine's 2011 Person of the Year: "This is a game we thought we could win and we thought that we had a good game plan for it. Going into the half we felt pretty comfortable about where we were until we had that rough third quarter. We're not here just to be here, we're here to become a great lacrosse program, and we thought we took a pretty big step today."
3. Spallina Has Brought Swagger to Stony Brook
By now you know of Spallina: the creator of the Adelphi Division II women's lacrosse dynasty (the Panthers will look for their fourth straight NCAA title under new coach Rob Grella), who left this offseason to take the job at Division I Stony Brook. He also recently was named the coach of Major League Lacrosse's Long Island Lizards.
Saturday marked Spallina's Division I coaching debut and, go figure, one of the players that followed him from Adelphi to Stony Brook, Demmianne Cook, led the Seawolves with six goals in a win over Colgate. It was Stony Brook's first win over Colgate since 2008. Just one man's opinion, but that won't be the last time you hear something along the lines of, "That was Stony Brook's first [insert accomplishment here]." Having hung around the Adelphi program a little bit and knowing Spallina's passion for the game and winning, it's hard to imagine consistent success won't quickly follow him to the America East.
4. 'Losing Stinks'
One of our LaxMagazine.com player bloggers, Stanford sophomore goaltender Lyndsey Munoz, and the Cardinal suffered two losses over the weekend. It lost to top-ranked Northwestern on Friday night and was upset by Ohio State on Sunday. Munoz submitted her blog as usual late Sunday night, and wrote about what needs to happen for a team, and a player, to bounce back from a loss, particularly an unexpected one Sunday against the Buckeyes. Early on in her entry, she wrote, "Losing stinks."
5. Wings are 1-0 in Twitter Games
The ballyhooed "Twitter Game" came and went Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The National Lacrosse League's Wings became the first professional American sports team to replace players' last names with their Twitter handles for the day. The announcement in December that the team would do it generated some nice publicity for the league, even landing the topic on CNN.
It didn't hurt the Wings. They won 14-13 over the Bandits. @DanDawson6 had nine assists. @Dwesty1426 broke a 12-12 tie with less than four minutes left on a diving goal and scored less than two minutes later to put Philly up 14-12. The special jerseys were auctioned off for charity after the game.