I wanted to bring attention to a pair of lacrosse games on the docket today, but I am trying to avoid using the term “generational” to describe their possible impact on the story arc of the 2024 domestic season.

I’ve used the term, even a couple of days ago, in this blog, and I think the term is going to rival “resiliency” as words which have become overused in the last few years. But these games are no less important.

Take, for example, this evening’s NCAA Division I matchup between the University of Maryland and Northwestern. Northwestern is your defending national champion, but Maryland held the top spot for a week until an unexpected loss to the University of Pennsylvania.

Northwestern and Maryland have had an interesting history since Kelly Amonte-Hiller (a Maryland graduate, but the way) resurrected the varsity program, turning it into a national title-winner in four seasons. To everyone’s surprise except themseves, they won seven titles in eight years.

The two teams have played some incredibly memorable matches, and tonight’s encounter should be no less so. But I think the matchup you need to see is whether the Maryland defense is able to cut the cord between leading attackers Izzy Scane and Erin Coykendall. This, however, means that a player like Madison Taylor will be extremely important in key situations. In fact, in terms of game-planning, it is easy to forget that Taylor, a sophomore, leads Northwestern in combined goals and assists.

On the other end, I will be interested to see whether the Maryland attack uses its diverse range of skilled players to draw yellow-card suspensions. I think an expulsion (if it happens) will play an outsized role in today’s outcome.

Earlier in the day is going to be an excellent high-school game, part of the 31st Spring Fling at Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.). In the first match window, Bethesda Stone Ridge (Md.) takes on Olney Good Counsel (Md.). This is an interconference match between Stone Ridge of the Independent School League (ISL), and Good Counsel of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC).

Both teams are in amongst the best the nation has to offer when it comes to girls’ lacrosse sides, but both are also routinely overshadowed by the might and tradition of teams in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) — teams like McDonogh, Maryvale, St. Paul’s School for Girls, and Glenelg Country School.

Given how good these two non-IAAM schools are, this one game, I think, should foster the idea that there should be some sort of postseason competition, like the PAISAA tournament in Pennsylvania, that invites the best of all of the independent schools in the Free State into one eight-team bracket.

In the Keystone State, you have a postseason involving the InterAc, Mid-Atlantic Prep League, and the Friends Schools League (the Catholic Academies League and the Philadelphia Catholic League participate in the PIAA tournament alongside the public schools). Last fall’s PAISAA field hockey championship, for all intents and purposes, was the decider for who the nation’s finest field hockey team was.

Wouldn’t it be something if Maryland did something similar?


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