Last in a series of blog entries on’s quarter-century of covering lacrosse.

Though this blog only dates back to 1998, my knowledge and experiences in watching the game date back a decade further. Indeed, the first time I saw a high-school game, it was a game a few miles away from Princeton University when two local sides — a small private school named Stuart Country Day School and an enormous public school then called West Windsor-Plainsboro took up sticks in a non-conference game.

The game became an absolute goalfest in a gorgeous glen called Magnetti Field. I seem to remember the total of goals being somewhere around 40, with WW-P getting 24.

Before starting this blog, I also experienced perhaps the single best scholastic game I have ever seen, even to this day. It was a Saturday game between two rival prep schools, Lawrenceville and Princeton Day School.

As this was a Saturday afternoon, the game had an inherent conflict with a number of Saturday afternoon contests. One of those conflicts was spring club soccer, which one of Princeton Day’s star players, Dana Decore, had to miss the opening draw in order to attend. As the story goes, however, the soccer game was a forfeit, allowing the two-sport athlete to play the lacrosse game. Toward the end of the first half, a passenger van pulled in behind the scorer’s table, and Decore hopped out in full lacrosse kit and stretched her hamstrings.

PDS was behind at the time, and Decore certainly made a difference. The sides were level at the end of regulation, meaning that overtime was next. It was the first major contest that I had witnessed an extra-time period. Back then, overtime was a six-minute period, split into two halves. The golden-goal rule did not apply.

In the last minute of overtime, PDS forward Kathy Knapp had an 8-meter free position shot. She managed to bounce the ball off both vertical goalposts to score the game-winner in a 16-15 win over a quality Lawrenceville side.

The next great game I saw occurred in May 2001 when Maryland beat Georgetown in triple overtime of the NCAA Division I final. There were some amazing twists to this tale even before the game ever started. Maryland, trying to win its seventh straight national title, had been behind in its previous game against James Madison, and had been a goal down with four minutes to go, and JMU had the ball. But Tori Wellington made a trail check to get the ball back, whereupon Maryland got the equalizer.

Maryland won the next draw, took it to the attack end, but were dispossessed. Madison defender Rachel Sappington tried to shovel the ball back to her goaltender, but the ball sailed over the head of the netminder and settled into the netting. It was an own goal.

The Terps, having gotten into the national semifinal by the skin of its teeth, were able to win the semifinal game, only to run into a good and determined Georgetown side. Maryland had run out to a sizable lead, whereupon Georgetown head coach Kim Simons replaced her goalie. The Hoyas mounted a comeback, in the midst of which Maryland head coach Cindy Timchal also put in her substitute goalkeeper.

The teams traded goals throughout the second half in a thrilling contest, and the teams finished regulation level at 12 goals apiece. The mandatory six minutes of extra time finished at 13-13, whereupon Allison Comito scored in the 68th minute of play to win the national championship for Maryland.

The next game I saw of note was May 8, 2005. That day, Ellicott City Mount Hebron (Md.) hosted a good Moorestown (N.J.) side in a matchup of two of the finest girls’ lacrosse teams. The pulsing music and a capacity crowd added to an incredible atmosphere. Hebron won that game by an 11-5 count. The teams would play more times over the next three seasons.

In 2010, we saw a game which was memorable because of what has become a trend in tournament lacrosse: the increase in game-changing umpiring decisions. The NCAA Division I final between Northwestern and Maryland saw the Wildcats seemingly about to blow out Maryland in the first half, scoring the first six goals of the game. However, the Northwestern bench was yellow-carded for dissent, and the game was level by halftime. The Terps would win 13-11.

In April 2012, there was a unique scholastic lacrosse happening. It was a weekend when four Long Island and four Maryland lacrosse teams matched up at Brooklandville St. Paul’s School for Girls (Md.). Two quadrupleheaders were scheduled, with all eight games featuring one Long Island team and one Maryland team.

Much of the attention surrounded the nation’s finest team, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.). The Eagles, playing skilled and enterprising lacrosse, defeating both of their opponents.

Six weeks later, we saw one of the most amazing turns of events in a lacrosse game would take place at Stony Brook University on May 26, 2012. The game featured Syracuse and a Florida program which was only in its second season. The game was tied 13-13 when Florida attacker Gabi Wiegand scored a free position goal with eight seconds remaining.

However, Syracuse coach Gary Gait called for an umpire check on the depth of Wiegand’s stick, and it was deemed to be too deep of a pocket. Syracuse would score a golden goal in the next overtime period to win the game.

Three years later at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., the NCAA final between North Carolina and Maryland turned on another unusual event. With UNC scoring a goal to draw within one in the final four minutes, the Heels were called for delaying the next draw, an illegal substitution penalty. The Terps held onto the ball and ran out the clock.

In 2022 there was an unprecedented contest in the professional ranks. In the final match weekend of Athletes Unlimited, a team captained by former UNC goalie Taylor Moreno and another by Boston College product Sam Apuzzo finished with Moreno’s team winning 9-7. But that wasn’t all the spectators were watching. With about three minutes to go, the unofficial individual point totals were flashed on the scoreboard, with the leaders — Apuzzo and Moreno — at 1767 points each.

These points were accumulated throughout the season in a Rotisserie-style formula which includes statistics for individual points — goals, saves, turnovers, assists, and Player of the Game votes all count towards personal scores.

The final score — 1797 for Moreno and 1787 for Apuzzo — was so close, both were invited to a lectern to make remarks at the closing ceremony as if each had been awarded the gold medal as Athletes Unlimited champion. The point totals were audited for a recount — something we’ve never seen in sport, much less lacrosse. The final score after the recount was 1798 for Moreno, and 1782 for Apuzzo — a margin of 16 points. The final total for 2023 was even closer, as Moreno beat Apuzzo by a mere 12 points.

There was another memorable contest at U.S. Lacrosse headquarters in 2023. In the schools, Darien (Conn.) met St. Paul’s in an intersectional contest. The two schools agreed to play with some IAAM rules, which included defenders being able to run through the crease, releaseable yellow card penalties, and, of note, the 90-second possession clock.

One of the most memorable events of the day was a two-hour, 19-minute weather delay which necessitated the evacuation of Tierney Field. When the teams got back, they played a gripping last quarter-hour, with Darien winning 13-12.

Who will take part in the next memorable game we get to report on? Stay tuned.


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