Lacrosse at its Best: Determination
from USLaxmagazine.com staff | Twitter
Capt. Ben Harrow showed us the power of determination, stepping onto the lacrosse field this year after losing both of his legs. Here are seven other stories this year that had the sport beaming with pride.
For two hours, ESPN's "SportsCenter" staged a two-hour celebration of lacrosse —unprecedented exposure for the sport — surrounding the Feb. 13 debut of the first Division I team from a historically black college.
But more than a fleeting mainstream moment, the occasion marked the culmination of the late Michael Crawford's mission to bring his favorite sport to campus. Crawford died Dec. 28, 2010, from sudden cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart. His mother, Verina, picked up the mantle, found coach Lloyd Carter and the two worked side-by-side to establish a club team.
But varsity? ESPN? No one would have dreamed that.
Team USA entered the 2016 FIL U19 Men's World Championships with the weight of seven consecutive titles — but also three straight silver medals for other U.S. teams — on its shoulders. It had owned the world stage for decades, but Team USA knew playing in Coquitlam, British Columbia against a budding Canada would be a challenge.
The visitors cruised past Canada in round-robin play, but the teams met again in the gold medal match July 16. Canada jumped out to a 6-0 lead and took an 8-2 advantage at halftime. Team USA needed a comeback. Alex Roesner, Timmy Kelly and Ryan Conrad led a second-half rally that tied the game at 12 with less than three minutes left.
Team USA won the ensuing faceoff, held the ball for more than two minutes, and Conrad converted on the game-winner with eight seconds remaining to complete the improbable comeback.
It was a moment years in the making. Digit Murphy led the way, crossing over from the hockey industry to establish the first-ever professional women's lacrosse league.
Forty players were selected in the inaugural United Women's Lacrosse League draft April 13, with teams rounding out their 18- to 20-player rosters following a May 1 combine camp. The UWLX made its debut on May 28 at Lehigh as a four-team league with the Baltimore Ride, Boston Storm, Long Island Sound and Philadelphia Force.
The four teams met almost every weekend in the summer, culminating with the first-ever UWLX championship game on July 31 — won by Devon Wills and the Long Island Sound.
He may not have won the US Lacrosse National Championship title, but Brenden Malloy provided one of the brightest moments at the national tournament in August 28.
Malloy, who was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder that made his body prone to multiple sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures, had dealt with 20 fractures, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia in his hands and soreness in his muscles and joints since his youth.
That made his performance even more impressive. Mallow, the faceoff midfielder from Nati Lax Bros' out of the Cincinnati area, won 19 of 25 faceoffs in a semifinal loss to Colorado and finished on the all-tournament team.
Umass-Lowell teammates Kelly Moran and Noelle Lambert have a bond that extends beyond the field — and they relied on it this summer.
Lambert was driving a moped with Moran in the back seat when she lost control, veered left and hit the side of an oncoming dump truck on July 30. Moran suffered injuries to her arms, legs and feet, while Lambert had to have her left leg removed above the knee.
Lambert was poised to receive a prosthetic leg and vowed to play again. The process will be long, but she knows Moran will be with her throughout.
Brown attackman Dylan Molloy defired the odds in the NCAA final four, playing against Maryland with a fracture in his foot and scoring two goals. (Greg Wall)
Brown carried its high-tempo offense into the NCAA tournament looking to make noise for the first time under the Lars Tiffany era. However, the Bears' future Tewaaraton winner Dylan Molloy broke his foot in a second-round win over Johns Hopkins.
Tiffany said that week that Molly was likely out for the season, but Brown advanced to the Final Four and were to meet Maryland. Somehow, Molloy made it onto the field.
He came equipped with sporting two insoles in his shoes and a clam shell apparatus that protected the foot along the way. That and a shot of lidocaine got him through the game, an effort that helped his team come within an overtime score of the NCAA finals.
The effort might have won him the Tewaaraton if it wasn't decided before then.
Former Temple goalie Rachel Hall won her biggest battle off the field.
On April 29, 2015, Hall was hit by a vehicle while riding her mountain bike in Philadelphia. She suffered life-threatening injuries including a fractured skull, brain damage and a broken leg. Her playing career ended on that day.
However, Hall had another goal to accomplish and on May 4, she did just that. Hall, who earned her diploma while in the hospital, walked in Temple's athletics graduation, just over a year after the accident that almost ended her life.
Army made school history Feb. 13, when it fielded the first official women's lacrosse team at the Academy. The result was a 14-9 loss to Manhattan, but it meant much more for the women of West Point — another glass ceiling-shattering moment for women in the military.
One Love Riders
It would have been impressive enough had Virginia attackman Ryan Lukacovic and defenseman Michael Rhoads just completed a cross-country bike trip — but they accomplish even more. The two Cavaliers rode from Charlottesville to San Francisco to raise money for the One Love Foundation, an organization that provides resources and education for those impacted by relationship violence.
By the time they reached the west coast, the two bikers had raised $15,614, more than their goal of $14,000.
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