Daily Archives: September 25, 2010

Lacrosse In The 1960’s: Lacrosse At Johns Hopkins And Most College Programs Was “A Riotous Sport” But Was Showing Signs Of “Refinement” (Sports Illustrated, April 23, 1962)


Springtime's fiercest game is lacrosse, once played for blood by Indians and now played for glory by collegians. The sport's focal point is Baltimore, where Johns Hopkins fights for a championship

It is a riotous sport. Sticks and bodies fly. The seeming alternative for the practitioner is to skewer or be skewered. But refinement has come steadily since the bloody days of its origin when Indians played to kill. Nobody gets killed playing lacrosse anymore. It only seems like it.

In The Great Tussle with Hopkins, a work dealing with heroics in that sometimes violent and always exhausting game of lacrosse, Frank Merriwell had an especially heavy time of it. The captain of the Johns Hopkins University team attempted to take Frank’s girl (unsuccessfully), conspired to get him to smoke (unsuccessfully), to get him to drink (unsuccessfully), to have him beaten up (Merriwell won by a knockout) and in a last flash of satanic inspiration tried to put him out of the game by cracking his skull with a lacrosse stick. At the end of the story Merriwell tells the imaginative but villainous Hopkins man: “I don’t know how you happened to be chosen captain of the Hopkins team. You can play lacrosse, but you are a dirty fellow.”

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It is, in fact, a misconception shared by thousands who know a little bit about the game that dirty fellows naturally gravitate to it because in it they can slake their devilish thirsts. It is a riotous sport. Sticks and bodies fly. The seeming alternative for the practitioner is to skewer or be skewered. But refinement has come steadily since the bloody days of its origin when Indians played to kill. Nobody gets killed playing lacrosse anymore. It only seems like it.

Even those Mephistopheles at Johns Hopkins, that Maryland school which feels as fervently about lacrosse and plays it as well as Notre Dame does football, have changed since Merriwell. The present captain of the team, Henry Ciccarone, is a loving father who hasn’t stolen anybody’s girl in years. Jerry Schmidt (see cover) is an All-America attackman who hits like a fullback and has been known to cause suffering, but he is a mannerly boy and always says he’s sorry. “Why, lacrosse people are always nice people,” says Jack Kelly, who publicizes the game (Lacrosse Newsletter, circ. 1,100) out of the goodness of his own nice heart. They are also all peculiarly devoted to their art, which is, if not vicious, no tippy-toes game either.

For more:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1073714/index.htm

MCLA Men’s Lacrosse Preview: Utah Men’s Lacrosse Plays In Toughest Conference With Colorado State, BYU And Colorado And Must Handle Pressure Down Stretch Of 2011 Season


UTAH (10-4, 2-2 RMLC)

While Utah has been competitive during its existence, which dates back to 1970, it has made only one appearance in the national tournament – in 2005, when the Utes made a hasty exit after bowing to Sonoma State in the first round, 15-3. Other than that, Utah has just not been good enough.

That’s one of the perils of operating in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference, where the long shadows thrown by national powers Colorado State, Brigham Young and Colorado blot out the chances for the rest of the league. The Rams and Cougars account for seven of the 14 MCLA national championships and, throwing in the Buffaloes, have made a combined 14 appearances in the title game.

2010 In Review: The Utes posted a promising win over MCLA quarterfinalist Colorado in late March, but an overall weak schedule (which included three D-II wins) and a young team kept them out of Denver. The RMLC has been a tough road for Utah, and it wasn’t able to stay within eight goals of either Colorado State or BYU in three games.

Goodbye… Jake Vadeboncoeur. A four-year starter for the Utes at close defense, Vadeboncoeur was a steady presence on the backline. The captain’s poise going up against the mettle of the RMLC will be missed, along with his guidance of the younger players. “He was a real leader for us back there,” said Morris. “We are young and talented, but you need that glue to keep everyone together.”

Hello… to a couple of Park City High School players. The Miners were runners-up to the Utah state high school boys’ lacrosse title in 2010, and the Utes have picked off a couple of their top players. Dillon Dutkanych is expected to see time in the midfield, while Matt Mersereau will be cycled through the Utah attack unit. “The past couple of years we’ve had big contributions from three or four freshmen each year,” said Morris. “It’s getting a little harder, but we still think they can contribute right away.” 

Offseason Developments: The Utes lost standout middie Nick Merrell in the sixth game of the 2010 season when he blew out his knee playing against Westminster. With six goals and eight assists in just five contests, Merrell was primed for big year. The senior’s knee is back intact, and he should be ready to roll when the spring season begins. “He is looking great in non-contact drills right now,” said Morris. “He should be good to go by January.”

Big Question: Can the Utes play at the pace of the top teams they’ll face this year? Last year, Utah crumbled under constant pressure, especially on the offensive end. It’ll have to play with far more poise if they want to reach its goals. “We have to be able to handle the defensive pressure against those teams that want to get out and attack us,” said Morris. “I think we have the talent to make people pay for that, but we’ve got to be able to handle the ball. If we could get settled against teams last year, we were pretty tough. Hopefully when people pressure us, the answer will be positive.”

Fall Schedule: With the improved schedule comes higher costs, so the Utes will conserve their resources and stay close to home this fall. Utah plays Westminster on Oct. 7 and then will participate in BYU’s multi-team play day on Oct. 30, where it’ll likely match-up against the Cougars and D-II national runner-up Utah Valley. The team is trying to hammer out another date with just BYU, likely on Oct. 16 or 20.

For more:  http://laxmagazine.com/college_men/club/2010-11/news/092310_utah_searches_for_light_in_rocky_mountain

NCAA Women’s Lacrosse: Oregon Women’s Lacrosse Returns Veteran Squad That Finished Third In Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Conference


The Ducks return 11 starters from their 2010 squad that finished third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Offensively, UO returns its top four scorers in Breiner (50 points), Drummond (49 points), Bina Barrett (31 points) and Anna Swicklik (28 points). Double-digit scorers Maggie Kovacs (17 goals), Dominique Christiansen (10 goals) and Jess Drummond (10 goals) also return to bolster the attack.

Alex Breiner enters her final campaign fifth on Oregon's career list with 82 goals and 117 points.

With fall competition beginning next month, the University of Oregon lacrosse team is back on the field and practicing for the first time this week.

The Ducks reported to camp on Tuesday and have spent the week conditioning and honing their skills in practice.

Head coach Jen Larsen wasted little time in announcing senior Alex Breiner and juniors Jana Drummond and Colleen Taggart her three captains for the 2011 season.

UO also announced its fall competition schedule, which begins with the second annual alumnae match on Oct. 1 in Eugene. Oregon completes its fall slate with a trip to Fairfax, Va. The Ducks compete in the George Mason Fall Ball Tournament against Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, LaSalle, Duquesne and St. Francis on Oct. 23 and wrap up the trip with a contest against George Mason on Oct. 24.

Defensively, the Ducks return starters Taggart (34 ground balls), Bridget Morrison (31 ground balls), Lara Bennett (19 draw controls) and goalkeeper Salliebeth Finnegan (130 saves) to stymie opposing attackers.

UO’s 2011 roster also features 11 talented freshmen and seven more returners from last season.

For more:  http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=4427&SPID=251&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=204999281

Injuries In Lacrosse And Football: Congress Takes Up Debate On Dangerous Effects Of “Concussions” In Boys Sports (Audio On Lacrosse-Radio.com)


CLICK ON PICTURE ABOVE TO HEAR REPORT FROM NPR RECORDED ON LACROSSE-RADIO.COM

Congress is interested: A House Committee had a hearing Thursday to deal with how best to safeguard young athletes.

And then there’s this from researchers: A college player who recently committed suicide had a degenerative brain disease normally linked to much older players. It’s prompting a new round of questions about safety in the dangerous game that Americans love.

Because of the potential for harm from the many lesser impacts to the head, Cantu says it’s necessary to take a page from another game — baseball.

“We have pitch counts for pitchers from Little League to the majors, who want to limit the number of pitches they throw and protect their arms,” he said. “We’re probably going to have to go to hit counts to the head in our football players to protect the brain.”

Monitoring the number of blows to the head has been a full-time project for Dr. Gunnar Brolinson, the head doctor for the Virginia Tech football team, since 2003. The Hokies were the first college team to put in place hit-count technology.

Games and practices have doubled as a brain laboratory for Brolinson. The technology he uses consists of small sensors placed inside players’ helmets. A device on the sideline, the size of a small footlocker, receives data from the sensors and then displays information on a laptop computer screen.

Brolinson monitors the screen, which depicts a computer-generated head, and colored arrows on different parts of the head that show the location and magnitude of a head hit.

For more:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130081779

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Highlights: The 2010 Chicago Machine Had A Great Start To Season After Selecting Duke’s Ned Crotty #1 In MLL College Draft (Video)


In 2010 The Machine had the best start to a season in franchise history, won a buzzer beater against the Nationals and selected Ned Crotty (2010 Cascade Rookie of the Year) #1 overall in the 2010 MLL Collegiate Draft.