The college lacrosse season and the effects of the coronavirus


Kyle Tsui

Nate Rashkind, Sports Writer

On February 1st, college lacrosse began across the country. From the first game of the day to the last, it seemed like the season was going to be a classic. The season started with Penn State at number one, with 2019 National champion Virginia coming second.  2018 National Champions Yale followed up the Cavaliers, with the University of Maryland, and Syracuse rounding out the top five. Immediately the standings began to shift, as Yale dominated PSU in their rematch of last year’s National semifinals. Up in comer, Upenn also looked to jump inside the top five, however they were upended by Maryland. Unlike their Ivy League foes, a team that got off to a hot start was Cornell. Led by Senior captain and All American Jeff Teat, Cornell dismantled New York foes Albany and then traveled down to Baltimore and almost doubled up powerhouse Towson. Perhaps the most interesting game of the season came February 29th, when Penn State traveled down to Philadelphia to take on Penn. Penn coming off a big win against Duke, came out firing. Despite the loss of Sophomore sensation Sam Handley, Upenn stuck with PSU the entire way. However, Penn State proved too much, as Senior Mac O’Keefe scored in overtime to win the game. Just 12 days after this thrilling matchup, the Ivy League became the first division one conference to cancel all sports as a result of the rapid increase of U.S. cases of the Novel Coronavirus. This was a decision that seemed unthinkable at the time, however every other major conference did the same within a 72 hour period, including the cancellation of winter sports as well. This was heartbreaking for a number of college seniors who I spoke with about this topic. For many of them it will be the last time they put on pads for the rest of their lives. While it seems like they will be given an extra year of eligibility, it is painstakingly obvious that college lacrosse isnt going to be the same without some of these kids. Another issue that continued to pop up in the discussion about 5th-yearing was the fact that many of the kids have jobs lined up that will be greatly affected if they choose to return, making it an almost impossible decision. This will also greatly affect incoming freshmen, as they will now have to fight for a roster spot in every sport, with more kids, as it is apparent some seniors will stay. The cancellation also had great effects on the women’s side of the game, as the University of North Carolina women’s team seemed destined to once again lift the trophy come May. In the last few days, a number of players have decided to come out and announce that they will in fact not be returning next year regardless of whether or not the NCAA grants them another year. One star player who announced this was Penn State super senior Grant Ament. Ament came into this season was the preseason player of the year nationally and Penn State came in at number one. However Ament decided after the season was cancelled that it was time to call it a day, and finish his career. In the next few weeks the NCAA will be coming out with a decision on whether or not to grant players an extra year of eligibility. This decision will most likely lead to a number of decisions in the coming weeks. While we are not certain what will happen moving forward, one things is for sure, college lacrosse in 2021 is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.