Noontime 2012 Countdown: 10 Great Moments From Lacrosse Season

Tufts' men's lacrosse team enjoyed a very successful campaign this past year! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Tufts’ men’s lacrosse team enjoyed a very successful campaign this past year! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

One sport that I truly enjoyed covering this past year was lacrosse. And for those that haven’t experienced the “fastest sport on grass,” here are some of my favorite games and headlines from the past few months.

Tufts Claims Their Fourth Consecutive NESCAC Crown: The best word to describe this particular match would be “wild.” It was one of those back-and-fourth contests, which provided two extra sessions, as well as an exciting game-winning goal that lifted the Jumbos past Bowdoin College, 9-8.

Tufts Defeats Amherst, 15-5: This was certainly one of those “statement” wins, as the Jumbos men’s lacrosse team earned a lead, which they never relinquished, and went onto defeat the visiting Lord Jeffs of Amherst College, 15-5.

Curry Wins Frostbite Classic: This was the first lacrosse game we covered in the spring, but it certainly was an exciting contest to kick-start our coverage, as the Colonels netted four goals off 22 shots in the final two frames, and went onto defeat Mount Ida College, 8-5.

Northwestern Rallies Past Ohio State At Gillette Stadium: On a chilly March afternoon, correspondent Hayden Bird and myself were treated to an exciting match, which saw the Wildcats claw past the Buckeyes in overtime.

Endicott Storms By Curry: Against one of the more prolific teams in New England, Curry’s men’s lacrosse team battled the Gulls up to halftime. And despite a one-point differential at the break, the Gulls managed to score seven unanswered goals in the second half en route to their fifth win of the season.

Catholic Memorial Rallies Past Xaverian Brothers: Besides covering college lacrosse, we also covered high school, and behind a strong second half performance, the Knights of Catholic Memorial were able to rally past Xaverian Brothers, 10-6.

Newbert, Spence and Polk Each Record Hat Tricks For Dover-Sherborn: This was certainly a fascinating game, as three members of the Raiders each recorded a hat trick in a non-conference tilt against Cohasset.  

The Former Westwood Wolverine Notches Her 204th Point: Joan O’Neill, who was a member of Westwood High School’s girl’s lacrosse state championship squads in 2005 and 2008, recorded her 204th career point in a Bates College uniform against Tufts University in April.

Wheaton’s Colburn Matches Single-Season Record: Lyons senior Hailey Colburn finished the regular season with 112 points, which matched Therese Ross’ single-season record.

Wheaton Earns First ECAC Crown: They didn’t capture their conference crown, but managed to earn their first ECAC title, as the Wheaton women’s lacrosse team capped off their 2012 campaign with a 20-5 win against Smith College.

Boston Celtics Select Sullinger, Melo

With the 21st Overall Pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Boston Selected Jared Sullinger! (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Sadly, the Boston Celtics didn’t draft Austin Rivers, who was selected by the New Orleans Hornets, but the Green and White did acquire Ohio State sophomore Jared Sullinger with the 21st overall pick and Syracuse University sophomore Fab Melo with the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Here are a few tidbits pertaining toward each player.

* Sullinger, who was deemed originally a lottery pick, was red-flagged by NBA doctors due to back issues he sustained this past season with the Buckeyes. The sophomore forward missed two games this past year, but managed to average 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

* Sullinger was a sparkplug for the Buckeyes this past season, but sadly Ohio State fell short in the Final Four against Kansas.

* Melo was named the 2011-12 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but missed the NCAA March Madness tournament due to academic issues.

* Melo is a 7-foot center, while Sullinger is a 6-foot-9 forward.

Northwestern Women’s Lax Rallies To Beat Ohio State, 13-12 (OT)

By Hayden Bird

FOXBOROUGH, MA – The defending National Champion Northwestern women’s lacrosse team finally found their offense against conference rivals Ohio State Saturday afternoon, and it was just in time to pull out a 13-12 comeback win before a roaring crowd at Gillette Stadium.

The game was one of 2012’s best so far. And it even ventured into overtime following a dramatic last-gasp goal from Northwestern junior Erin Fitzgerald.

It began as an unmitigated shootout, with both teams trading goal after goal. In fact, neither side could claim more than a one goal lead for the entire first half.

“Their goalie played amazing, she was awesome and a lot of the shots we took she just came up with big saves,” noted Northwestern senior Alex Frank afterwards.

And Ohio State’s talented freshman goalie, Tori DeScenza, did everything she could to help the 14th ranked Buckeyes upset number one Northwestern. Making 16 saves; she was far busier than her opponent.

Yet it was the Buckeyes who were the first team to truly seize the initiative, at least for a period of time.

Starting with 10 minutes to go in the first half and lasting until just inside the 20 minute mark of the second half, Ohio State went on a 7-2 run which culminated in team points leader Alayna Markwordt assisting Kirsten Donahue to give her team an 11-7 lead.

“Towards the beginning of the second half we made some careless mistakes,” said Northwestern Head Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. “They caused some great turnovers and Ohio State was really able to capitalize on the opportunities that they had.”

At that moment in the second half, it certainly seemed like an upset was in the air. Yet Northwestern, led by Amonte Hiller, have never been the type to give up.

“When we got ourselves in a hole, we got pretty motivated,” Amonte Hiller asserted. “And some of our players really stepped up and made big plays.”

The comeback didn’t really get underway for almost five minutes after Donahue’s goal however (an eternity in lacrosse time).

And even after the momentum began to swing in their favor and Fitzgerald scored with just over nine minutes remaining to cut the deficit to one (11-10), the Wildcats could not muster the actual tying goal until there was seemingly no time left on the clock.

Unfortunately for Ohio State though, Northwestern finally did score. After a series of penalties, Fitzgerald once again netted for Northwestern, and their fans predictably went wild. With only 19 seconds remaining, it capped off the momentum shift that had slowly but surely slipped away from Ohio State.

Once in overtime, Northwestern’s defending Tewaaraton Award-winner Shannon Smith came to life. As her team’s leader in goals and points, it was little surprise that in clutch time she was the one who delivered.

Scoring two consecutive goals (including one unassisted), Smith helped to put the game beyond reach.

Even still, Ohio State never quit. They scored on a beautifully executed breakaway as Cara Facchina found Jackie Cifarelli with 1:46 left in overtime to make the climax of the game that much more exciting. Yet, a series of penalties cost the Buckeyes and in the end, the Northwestern powerhouse survived, bringing their record to an impressive 10-0.

And for Amonte Hiller, it was a result that wasn’t great, but good enough.

“We didn’t make it pretty” she added with a wry smile, “but we did it.”

Mass College Lacrosse: Lax Notebook (Mar. 29, 2012)

UMass senior Will Manny has been a major component for the Minutemen this season! (Photo Credit:Lax.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Catching up on some of the local lacrosse news from across the Bay State.

UMass Continues to Dominate

University of Massachusetts (Amherst) took a step closer toward the top spot in the USLIA Coaches poll with recent victories against Harvard and Penn.

The Minutemen are currently slated as the second best team in the country behind Johns Hopkins – a team that also hasn’t yielded a loss this season, too.

Junior Will Manny currently leads the team with 40 points, (26 goals and 14 assists), while senior Art Kell has tallied 26 points, (16 goals and 10 assists).

Also, senior goaltender Tim McCormack has recorded 470 minutes between the pipes, and has surrendered 55 goals off 241 shots. He’s also saved 85 shots thus far and is a major reason why the Minutemen are 8-0.

Merrimack Remains Perfect

Prior to their first home contest of the season this past Tuesday; the Merrimack Warriors men’s lacrosse team earned four critical wins – two on the road and two at neutral sites – before they tallied their fifth victory against Franklin Pierce.

Merrimack will attempt to preserve their perfect record on Saturday, Mar. 31, when they host the fifth best team in Division II… Adelphi.

Endicott’s Magic Ride

After beginning the season with a 1-3 record, the Endicott men’s lacrosse team changed gears, and spouted off four consecutive wins against Curry College, Springfield College, University of New England and Gordon College in the past 10 days.

Senior Brendan Eppley has led the charge with 11 goals and eight assists, while junior goaltender Tom Burke has saved 73 shots.

The Gulls four game road trip continues on Saturday, as they’ll travel to Wesleyan College for a 1pm face-off.

Gillette Stadium Hosts New England Women’s Lacrosse Classic on Saturday

Four women’s lacrosse teams will invade Gillette Stadium on Saturday, Mar. 31, as Harvard will face-off against No. 12 Syracuse at 12pm, while No. 1 Northwestern will square off against Ohio State at 2pm.

Expect a decent amount of local residents to come out and cheer on the Wildcats, especially since eight players hail from Massachusetts. Also, three of those eight players are from Westwood – a town that’s become known for its girls high school lacrosse program.

Emerson’s Jim O’Brien Profiled In The Boston Globe

By NoontimeSports.com 

There really hasn’t been too much news over the past few days pertaining toward Division III college basketball in Massachusetts, but on Tuesday, the Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler wrote an interesting profile on Jim O’Brien, who is the Emerson College men’s basketball head coach.

O’Brien has coached for a variety of well established Division I college basketball teams over the years, such as Boston College and Ohio State, but according to Hohler’s article, the head coach seems quite content with his current position.

The Lions have only recorded one win this season, which came against Suffolk University, but then ended the first semester with a three consecutive losses. Emerson will attempt to snap their three-game skid on Saturday, Jan. 7, when they travel to Anna Maria College.

For more college coverage in Boston and New England, make sure to visit our NCAA page by CLICKING HERE. Also, make sure to follow Noontime Sports on Twitter @NoontimeSports