My third Championship Weekend has been pretty different. The major change is that I’m in Foxboro, Massachusetts instead of Philadelphia, which also means I’m staying in a hotel like a grownup. I’m still getting used to it and the accents that everyone has, but there’s also been some good lacrosse games, for once in this postseason!
Below are my thoughts from today’s festivities, which includes some that can also carry over from Friday’s practices and media ops.
- Gillette Stadium is freaking massive. Inside, it feels like it’s much wider than Lincoln Financial Field.
- There’s also a large dining and entertainment complex next door, Patriot Place. Compared to “XFINITY Live!”, Patriot Place easily takes the cake. They’ve got restaurants, actual shopping that you can do, a movie cinema, and even a bowling alley.
- Now that makes up for the lack of things to do in Foxboro, because there’s literally nothing around. Unlike Philly, you’re about 40-45 minutes away from Boston and a half hour away from Providence, Rhode Island (aka pretty much the entire state). At least the Linc and M&T Bank Stadium were right near the center of the city, and you could take public transportation to both.
- Even though it’s great to have plenty of stuff around the stadium, I think it also hurts it too. The parking lot is massive and it’s very difficult to walk around to tailgates, especially if there’s an event in which not a ton of people turn out for (compared to Pats games).
- Why I’m really here: Press box spread. Friday was a solid spread, with Caesar salad, a make-your-own taco stand (hard & soft shell to appease everyone), yellow rice, penne pasta, chicken fajitas, apple pie, and chocolate cake to name a few. But Saturday was a HUGE letdown. We got boxed cold cut sandwiches, an apple, chips, and a big chocolate chip cookie, which was cold and hard. From what I’ve heard, it was a mistake on someone’s part, but it still hurts their overall reputation on my Press Box Spread Power RankingsTM. Heck, Koskinen Stadium had MOE’S SOUTHWEST GRILL at the ACC lacrosse tournament.
- I still haven’t seen Chris Hogan. Sad!
- Starting with the first game, Tre Leclaire has been an underrated freshman this entire season. Let the world know who you are, youngster! He’s not at a Pat Spencer level, but unlike his Greyhounds last year, at least he played a good game and his team won!
- You have to imagine what if Alex Woodall never got hurt for Towson. How bad was he hurting Saturday? To me, he looked fine last week against Syracuse and yesterday against Ohio State, but Withers went 12-of-21 on him and 15-of-25 overall on the day. Maybe just one more extra possession would have turned the tide for Towson.
- One rule change the NCAA should have this season is having instant replay for goals made available. David Vatz for Inside Lacrosse wrote about the issue, and it’s been in the NLL and MLL for some time. I don’t think they’d have to use it that much, but it’s worth having.
- Tom Carey is also an underrated goaltender. Eight of his 10 total saves in the game came in the first half, and he was a big reason why Ohio State was able to still be in the game. He’s got a 54.4% save percentage and lets up just 8.27 goals a game, which is eighth fewest in the nation. Dating back to the first Maryland game, he’s made double-digit saves in six of his last seven games. Definitely someone to watch on Monday.
- I wish the Buckeyes busted out their chrome Stallions this weekend. There’s still hope for that on Monday. You gotta show out for the final game of the year.
- For Towson, they’re losing their entire starting attack, two of their three starting midfielders, their top LSM, one of their short stick d-middies, and their goalie for the second half of the season. They’ll have to revolve around their entire starting defense, which returns for 2018. But there will be a big question surrounding the offense and if it can get better without guys like Ryan Drenner and Joe Seider.
- Another question is if Shawn Nadelen will be their head coach next year. I would think he’s definitely being looked at by Michigan since they want a big name head coach. Michigan doesn’t have an identity yet, and if Nadelen comes in (if he wants to), he can bring his defensive death trap over to Ann Arbor and make the Big Ten that much better. Only time will tell.
- Let’s move to the second game. It was pretty boring to be honest, until the end. I missed most of the first quarter covering press conferences, but there was a ton of stalling and it was a very slow-paced game overall.
- It was also a game where the top options for both teams were shut down. Matt Rambo had just a goal and an assist with Dylan Gaines getting that assignment, while Connor Cannizzaro scored just once with Tim Muller guarding him. Your other options had to be ready, and they were for Maryland. Colin Heacock scored twice, Dylan Maltz had a pair of goals and an assist, while Connor Kelly had a hat-trick.
- Denver’s Ethan Walker came out late with two goals, which helped tie the game up at eight in the final frame, while Colton Jackson had a goal and Connor Donahue also had a score and an assist.
- But Denver depended on tertiary help via the third midfield. Nate Marano was the workhorse of that group with two goals. Head coach Bill Tierney thought about putting that unit on for the final possession, but decided to send his top guys out.
- Speaking of that final possession (and Maryland’s too), it looked as if the refs did make the right call. I originally thought they didn’t make the right call, but looking at both again, I think they called it right. Regardless, bring back the dive, please and thank you.
- One final note on this situation, I’ve heard people say the refs decided this game. Did they really? The focus of the game did shift to that last 1:25, but at least they called it both ways. Had one been waived off and the other counted, especially if the one that counted was Denver’s, we’d have a lot more hot takes this week.
- It’s a rules year by the way folks.
- Also, shoutout to Tierney for preaching for a shot clock! If the goat thinks there should be one, we need one.
- Finally, attendance for today was 30,530. I let you all down not being the first because my juices were flowing and made like one or two mistakes too, but hey at least I got more #CONTENT with adding last year’s total too!
To compare:— Chris Jastrzembski (@CFJastrzembski) May 27, 2017
Today: 30,530 (FOXBORO)
2016: 33,137 (PhHL)
2015: 29,123 (PHL)
2014: 30,428 (BALT)
2013: 28,444 (PHL)
2012: 31,774 (FOXBORO)
- It’s definitely lower than 2016, but slightly higher than 2015, 2014, and 2013. It’s also a little lower than the last time it was in Foxboro in 2012. So I guess that’s the range we’re looking at for the near future? At least it didn’t go below 30,000. We’ll see about what happens on Monday.