Athletes Unlimited Adds Lacrosse As Its Third Sport

Kayla Treanor, who competed for the US National Team in 2017, headlines 22 women’s lacrosse players that will compete in the first-ever Athletes Unlimited league next summer. (PHOTO COURTESY: U.S. Lacrosse/The Daily Gazette)

By Matt Noonan

Athletes Unlimited is growing.

And yesterday – Tuesday, October 20, to be exact – Athletes Unlimited, which has attracted a slew of elite and professional female athletes over the past few months to compete in its softball and indoor volleyball leagues, announced they will be adding a women’s lacrosse league with the inaugural season set to begin next July.

The league, according to yesterday’s release on its website, will commence after the 2021 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Towson, Maryland next year from Wednesday, July 7 to Saturday, July 17.

“Women’s lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and incredibly popular among young players and fans,” said Jon Patricof, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited, via yesterday’s release. “Our leagues are all about excitement, storytelling, and fan engagement so lacrosse is the perfect addition to our network of pro sports leagues which already includes softball and indoor volleyball.”

The 2021 Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse league will be extremely innovated, featuring eight minute quarters, 9-on-9 gameplay, and a 60-second shot clock. 56 players will play in this league, which will feature four teams of 14 players. Additionally, each session will begin with a draw.

As of today, 22 female lacrosse players have committed to the initial season, including Kayla Treanor, who is played at Syracuse University and was a member of the 2017 US National Team, which captured the gold medal at the World Cup.

Michele “DJ” Dejuliis, who was the original CEO and Founder of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL), will oversee the league as a Senior Director of Lacrosse for Athletes Unlimited.

To learn more about Athletes Unlimited, visit their website, as well as stay connected with them on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube).

Daily Noontime (Thursday, October 16, 2020)

 

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone! 

It’s quite chilly outside this morning. In fact, I almost ordered a hot coffee from Starbucks but chose a cold brew instead. Was that a bad decision? 

Let’s get to some news from the sports world, beginning with a recent update from the National Football League (NFL): The Atlanta Falcons are shutting down their facility due to “multiple positive tests.” 

What exactly does this mean? We’re unsure, but as of now, the Falcons are scheduled to meet the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, but that game could be postponed or canceled, so stay tuned. 

I am sorry to share not-so-good news (again!), but Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the University of Alabama‘s football team, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, Greg Byrne, who is the school’s athletic director, also tested positive, which means this weekend’s conference clash between the Tide and the University of Georgia could be postponed, but who knows? 

As we noted yesterday on our mid-afternoon ‘Daily Noontime,’ two Southeastern Conference (SEC) football games for this weekend have been postponed. According to this week’s schedule from ESPN.com (as of 9 a.m. this morning), three college football games have been postponed this week. Could we see a few more due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases?  

Staying in the college athletic world, the NCAA‘s Division I Council voted yesterday to provide student-athletes that compete during the wintertime an extra year of eligibility. And according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, those that play basketball or hockey would be able to return to campus next year even if they play one or two contests. 

The NCAA also unveiled 450 host sites for upcoming championships, including lacrosse, which will return to Gillette Stadium in 2025 and 2026

Here are some more news and links from the world wide web: 

NCAA Lacrosse Championships To Return To Gillette Stadium

Gillette Stadium will be the site for four NCAA Championships in 2025 and 2026. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

The NCAA unveiled future sites for future championships over the next few years earlier today, including lacrosse, which is scheduled to return to Gillette Stadium in 2025 and 2026. 

All three men’s championships – D-I, D-II, and D-III – will take place both years at the home of the New England Patriots while the D-I women’s title games will occur each year, as well. 

Gillette Stadium has been the host site for all three men’s lacrosse championships five times, including in 2018 when Yale University captured its first-ever national title by defeating Duke University by a score of 13-11. 

One year earlier – 2017, to be exact! – Maryland defeated Boston College in Foxborough, Massachusetts in the first championship game held in Foxborough, Massachusetts by a score of 16-13. 

Boston Cannons Claim Its Second MLL Championship

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The Boston Cannons celebrated their second Major League Lacrosse Championship on Sunday. (PHOTO Courtesy: Boston Cannons/

By Matt Noonan 

The city of Boston had something to celebrate on Sunday when the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) captured its second championship in franchise history by defeating the Denver Outlaws, 13-10.

Sunday’s game between Boston and Denver occurred at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, which was the home site for the 2020 MLL season.

Boston and Denver were initially scheduled to meet during Saturday’s semifinal, but the game was moved to Sunday following news of three players on the Chesapeake Bayhawks testing positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19). The Bayhawks’ semifinal opponent the Connecticut Hammerheads, which were competing for the first time in franchise history, withdrew from the semifinals when they learned of this news, which was shared through the MLL’s Twitter handle on Saturday.

The Cannons’ three-goal win over the Outlaws was highlighted by John Uppgren (five goals, one assist), who guided Tufts University to a pair of NCAA Championships in 2014 and 2015.

Mark Cockerton contributed three goals and one assist while Bryce WassermanBen Spencer, and Challen Rogers each recorded two points (one goal and one assist), respectively.

Duxbury native Nick Marrocco, who played college lacrosse at Georgetown University, ended Sunday’s championship match with 10 saves.

The championship win was the first for coach Sean Quirk, who was hired to lead the Cannons on October 8, 2015. Quirk became the Cannons’ sixth head coach after guiding the Endicott College men’s lacrosse program for 17 seasons.

Prior to their meeting with the Outlaws on Sunday, Boston won four of six contests, including a 10-8 victory over Denver its season finale.

“We are already looking forward to the 2021 season,” Quirk said, via the Patriot Ledger.

Boston won its first Major League Lacrosse championship in 2011 by edging the Hamilton Nationals, 10-9.

Family, Motivation Fueled Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough

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Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough was a player to watch the past three years with the Bears’ women’s lacrosse program. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Victoria McDonough will always remember the “good times” with the Bridgewater State University women’s lacrosse program: dinners with teammates, spring break trips, and wins, of course. But she will also remember being a part of a family – “We really grew closer and closer every day,” said McDonough of her coaches and teammates.

This family – the Bridgewater State women’s lacrosse program – was instrumental in helping the Marshfield, Massachusetts native thrive on the lacrosse field, including as a first-year student-athlete that was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Week four times. 

Over the next two years, McDonough became the player to watch on the Bears, averaging 48.5 goals, 47 assists, and 89 draw controls in 35 contests. She posted a career-high 96 points in 19 games during her sophomore season before registering career-bests in goals (52) and draw controls (92) one year later.

McDonough’s effort last spring earned her a slew of postseason honors, including a spot on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) D-III All-Berkshire Second Team.

“I didn’t physically do anything different,” McDonough said when asked how she prepared for her third season with the Bears. “I kept the same workout regiment, but once the season started I (just) noticed a mental change.”

McDonough claims she took more risks as a junior while becoming one of the team’s leaders. She led the Bears to the MASCAC Tournament and was named a captain for the 2020 season.

In just five games this year, McDonough tallied 15 goals and seven assists while snatching 35 draw controls. She was also named the MASCAC Player of the Week on Monday, March 16.

McDonough hopes to stay involved with lacrosse, perhaps as a coach after volunteering for Bridgewater Raynham Girls Youth Lacrosse last year. “(My experience) made me realize how much I want to help these kids learn this sport at a young age,” she said.

As for what the future holds, McDonough claims she is interested in “many different” opportunities and has not decided which path she will pursue after graduation. But one thing she does plan to do is stay involved with her second family – she looks forward to attending games next school year while cheering on her teammates from the stands.

“This team has a lot of amazing players,” she said. “I believe they have a great season ahead of them, and I cannot wait to (cheer them on) next year.”