Maryland Breaks The 42 Year Curse, Ohio State Represents Diversity In The 2017 Lacrosse National Championship

On paper, Maryland had the advantage.  With a prolific offense that included Maryland all time leading scorer (an incredible feat in a program as storied as Maryland)  and Tewaarton Award finalist Matt Rambo, Dylan Maltz, and offensive middie powerhouse Connor Kelly; let’s face it, Ohio State as good as they were, did not match up.  On the other hand, we gave Ohio State a chance in this game based on past battles with Maryland, the fact that this game was an inter-conference rivalry, Ohio States face off prowess driving more possessions, and Ohio State’s physical, gritty and tenacious style of play.

While Ohio State started off the game dominating physically, Maryland’s defense tightened up and their offense ultimately took control of the tempo of the game.  Although Ohio State would not go away and pulled within 2 goals with 2 minutes left, Maryland dominated possessions and committed very few unforced errors.  The best team truly won.

One cannot help but feel happy for the Maryland seniors who came through with the weight of 42 years on their shoulders and a fan base that that had watched their beloved Terps come so close in so many championship games since 1975 only to come up short every time…until yesterday.

While Ohio State came up short, they should walk away from this experience with heads held high.  This roster was the first Ohio State team to make the Final 4 and then went on to take it a step further to the title game.  They have perhaps the most diverse roster among Division I top 10 teams.  While they do have players that hail from some of the more traditional lacrosse states like Maryland, NY, and Pennsylvania, they have several players from their home state of Ohio, as well as players from Alabama, Florida, California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Delaware. Rounding out their roster are the Ontario and British Columbia based Canadians.  Alabama?  Really?

While Maryland’s win represent’s a storied programs return to glory, Ohio States runner up achievement represents the growth of lacrosse into less traditional areas where kids may now feel that they finally have a seat at the table along side players from the Northeast.

For many reasons, this was a lacrosse National Championship game to remember!  Congrats to Maryland and Ohio State.  To all of the May Madness teams, thank you for a great season of the best lacrosse in the world!

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Why I Am Rooting For Ohio State For The 2017 Division I Lacrosse National Championship

I am not a Buckeyes fan.  I am not really a Big 10 fan, although I like Maryland in part because I have friends that played lacrosse there and I still think of them as being in the ACC.  So why am I rooting for Ohio State?  Because I am a lacrosse fan and it would be good for the growth of the sport!

Although the Big 10 is really coming into its own in lacrosse, the mid-west still remains mired in traditional sports with lacrosse still viewed as a snooty prep school sport by most.  Although we have seen impressive success with programs like Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State, it is still incredible how little support these teams garner from their student body and alumni.

I understand that Maryland has suffered a national championship drought since 1975.  I know how hungry their fans are for that elusive win, and I sympathize.  On the other hand, their women’s program just won yet another national championship to add to their pile of national championships (13).

Even if Maryland loses tomorrow, interest in the sport of lacrosse is going nowhere in that state.  The state of Maryland has been a hotbed of lacrosse since before even I was a kid.  It is part of the very fiber of their culture.

Ohio, on the other hand, is…not like that.  A national championship for Urban Meyer’s state would hopefully bring Ohio State Lacrosse head coach Nick Myer into main stream Ohio sports conversation.  Hopefully that will translate into the growth of the sport in an area pulsing with athletes that would make great lacrosse players.

Sorry Terps, I love you, but have to go with the Buckeyes on this one.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

The Warrior Warp – Evo & Next. Great New Innovation Or Gimmick?

The Warrior Warp comes in the more advanced Evo line in low, mid, and high pockets, and now in the Next line for the developmental lacrosse player.  Its selling point is that the pocket is pre-strung, Kevlar-bonded, and made of water-resistant polypropylene.  The Warp supposedly puts stick doctors and the lacrosse’s subculture of stringers on notice: Nylon mesh, which gradually in large measure replaced traditional leather as the prevailing lacrosse pocket material in the 1980s, would one day join its predecessor as antiquated, irrelevant, and  relegated mostly to nostalgic hobbyists.  Warrior believes strongly in this technology’s potential to grow the game by eradicating perhaps the biggest variable that make it difficult to pick up for some: variations and lack of consistency in pockets.

To be sure, kids that are new to the sport and have no sense of a the feel of a pocket (nor any ability to make adjustments to the pocket) and how it facilitates or debilitates their own unique throwing, catching, and cradling styles, often have a hard time simply because their pocket stinks.  As a coach, I commonly conclude that the biggest deficiencies for young players’ stick skills emanates from bad pockets and I thus commonly direct parents to the local store to have heads restrung with an appropriate pocket with decent mesh and strings.  Even then, it is not uncommon to see even experienced players have their games compromised by bad pockets, some that are too shallow because a player does not want to take any velocity out of his shot (but instead sacrifices ball security and accuracy); while others have way too much lip on their shooters for better ability to throw fakes and have better ball security (but instead sacrifice shot velocity and accuracy).  Then there is the reality that all players face in when we have attained the most perfect pockets: no matter how high quality the strings and mesh are, they always eventually stretch and distort, especially in wet weather and muddy conditions.

The Warp seeks to solve this problem of pocket discrepancy and lack of consistency.  Although I was a child of the nylon mesh generation and currently hold Hero Mesh nearest and dearest to my heart, I decided to have an open mind and give it a shot when a Warrior rep gave me a loaner Warp tp mess around with and see what I thought.

My first impression was that the mid pocket accuracy (mid pocket is my preference) was solid, BUT, I could not stand that the ball hit off the scoop of the head!  It drove me nuts!  The Warrior rep assured me that this was a minor obstacle to overcome, one born of generational influence where the notion of the ball hitting off the scoop was just unacceptable.  He said that market research is clear that even old dudes like me over time not only adjust but begin to embrace the ball hitting off the scoop in light of the pocket’s consistency and complete lack of necessary maintenance; while eventually realizing that the aversion to hitting off the scoop is a mental one born out of habit which is easily overcome.  He stated that younger players without such ingrained scoop hitting aversion quickly adjusted and forgot about it and went onto thrive for all of the Warp’s innovations that bring it ready to play with no need to ever adjust or restring.

I remained far from convinced as I threw and shot with it over and over again; I simply could not stand it!  But I digress, perhaps I am just being an old dude.  As far as the rest of the experience with the Warp head, I will say that ball security, ability to throw fakes, and scooping were as good as any manually strung head I have used.

The price point is also bound to make consumers a little bit uneasy.  The Evo Warp retails at $249, while the Warp Next (the developmental model) retails at $100.  Warrior explains away the high price point by pointing to the fact that mesh and strings (nor stinging services) need to be purchased, and replacement of mesh and strings will never be necessary.  Maybe they are right….but the ball hits off the scoop!

Anyway, I would  be interested to see other opinions on this head for those who have tried it and used it for any significant length of time.  I am sure my readers would appreciate an opinion other than my Generation X tainted view of lacrosse technology.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Off Limits Part 2 – Its Official! No NCAA College Lacrosse Recruiting Prior to Junior Year Of High School!

On April 14, 2017, the NCAA Division I Council voted to prohibit contact with prospective lacrosse athletes, including offers and commitments, until Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school.

High school coaches from both public and private schools said the new initiative will slow down the recruitment process, giving college prospect athletes more time to evaluate their options at the next level. It especially benefits late-bloomers, who are currently left competing for fewer roster spots with many of them already having been filled by underclassmen.

“I think the general consensus is, it’s a good idea, to let’s slow this down,” said Ireton Coach Rick Sofield,“What it does do is, for those really elite blue chip athletes, it means they gotta wait. I don’t know that really hurts them in any way. In fact it probably helps them without even knowing it.” Sofield adds, “What freshman knows for sure what college they’re going to?  They haven’t even finished algebra.”

In addition to not necessarily having a feel for what school a young student athlete may want to attend, not allowing college recruiters access to young athletes will reduce the pressure to perform and enhance their enjoyment of the sport of lacrosse.  Thinking back to my own playing days, I could not fathom what it would have been like to play the sport knowing that whether or not I made a college roster depended on my performance at the prepubescent age of 14 (I was a late bloomer).

I am cautiously optimistic about this new development, but the moment new rules are imposed, there is often near instantaneous pursuit to find loopholes to get around them.  I will be interested to not only see the complete language of the resolution, but seeing how its logistical enforcement plays out.

Once thing is for certain, this vote is most certainly one big step in the right direction.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.