Grow the Game®

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2013 Champions Challenge on ESPN3

Once again, it is time for the big names in college lacrosse to head down to Florida for some suns out, guns out time against Team USA. Northwestern and Syracuse (National Champion and National Runner-Up) will represent the women, whereas Loyola and Notre Dame (National Champion and National Semi-Finalist) will represent the men.

This is the first year that both defending National Champions will take on the US National Team, and they should prove to be very competitive games. I will save the run down of the Loyola vs. US men’s national team for one of the guys to cover, as currently, I am far more interested in the women’s game. Blame it on me being a women’s college coach if you’d like.

Northwestern vs. Team USA has always been a physical game, even if the scores have been decidedly lopsided. Last year’s scores were 16-6 and 18-1 in favor of Team USA. The Red, White, and Blue has a slight Purple haze, as half of Team USA’s goals were scored by former Northwestern players in the first game; Katrina Dowd (4g), Lindsey Munday (3g, 3a) and Danielle Spencer (1g, 1a). Fouls were in the double digits for both teams, and yellow cards were flying. For a more in depth look at this years national team roster, check out the Team USA Training Roster Announcement.

Northwestern will be debuting a new goalie and some fresh faces on attack. They lost old reliables Brianne LoManto and Shannon Smith to graduation and coaching positions UMass and Hofstra, respectively. Sophomores Brooke Jones and Bridget Bianco will duke it out for the start in cage, while the attack will have to reshape itself without Smith as a backstop. They still have Taylor Thorton in the midfield; her speed, strength and tenacity make her a serious threat anywhere on the field. Northwestern features a men’s lacrosse style roster that is 38-deep, and deep is the right descriptor for their bench. 90% of the team are listed as a middies, and are threats in both directions (à la Taylor Thorton). While they might take a beating against Team USA, they are looking very dangerous for the upcoming season.

Here is my Grow the Game plug:

IWLCA President, Team USA Assistant Coach, and Boston University Head Coach Liz Robertshaw posted this message to Facebook with the accompanying banner. I ask you to read it and post it as well.

“To all of my friends both in lacrosse and out of it, I am asking for your help. Women’s Lacrosse is at a crossroad at being both one of the fastest growing sports in the country and one the least supported by mainstream media in comparison to the men’s game, ESPECIALLY in broadcasting, which is something I am passionate about changing.

We have been challenged by both the NCAA and ESPN to show that people “actually care enough about the game to watch it” if we want additional coverage in the years to come. We have been charged in growing our own game. SO if you’ve read this far I ask that you help the cause by doing two simple, cost free things:

  1. Next Sunday, January 27th use your computer, smartphone, and/or tablet to watch the women’s game on at 11am. The more “starting hits” for the game they see the better!
  2. SPREAD the WORD. Attached is the Facebook cover for Champion’s Challenge. Save it, send it, USE IT and get others to use it too.

I hope you’ll consider joining me in this grassroots effort to stop knocking on the door of the powers that be and start kicking it in.”