As LTP noted earlier, Memorial Day means Northwestern lacrosse is going for its goal and playing for a national championship. Ho-hum stuff if you follow Northwestern lacrosse for a long time. This kind of thing tends to happen every year.
The last two years that has included games against Maryland — the grandmother of Northwestern’s program, so to speak. The Wildcats had a one-goal win in last year’s championship game over the Terrapins and they had another nail-biter in the national semifinals.
The Wildcats possessed the ball for a good five minutes with a one-goal lead in the second half before a Taylor Thornton free position shot with about 90 seconds left sealed the two-goal victory. Maryland was a very worthy adversary. The team was physical and swarming on defense, forcing NU away from the goal and into that possession game. Maryland wanted to get the ball up the field in a hurry and try to score quickly off their defense.
The problem is that the Wildcats are experienced enough and patient enough to play their style of game and keep possession really forever. That is what Northwestern has done all year. No lead (except for against a certain team in orange and blue that happened to be eliminated by Syracuse in the other semifinal) seems too much for Northwestern to overcome.
NU trailed again at halftime, this time by only one, and it felt like the team had Maryland right where it wanted. The Wildcats quickly re-took the lead and then methodically waited for the right opportunities and for the clock to run down.
This is not quite the dominant team we have seen from the Wildcats in the last seven years — where the Cats won six national championships. After all, the Terrapins scored significantly more goals than the Wildcats. This year’s team has a different style than previous iterations of the team.
And that is all OK. It is working and has the Wildcats playing for their seventh national championship and in the national championship game for the eighth straight year (consider that, two FULL classes of players have done nothing but play for a national championship). The only team that had the patience and skill to match Northwestern (it seems) is gone. Florida defeated Northwestern twice and will not get a shot at a third.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, smack talk and whatever in the comments.
The trophy is within sight for Northwestern. The Memorial Day tradition continues Sunday night on ESPNU at 7 p.m.