May 15, 2013

Direct Kick: An amazing streak comes to an end

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — They say all good things must come to an end. Nothing lasts forever. And  with the start of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Tournament this past weekend, those words never rang truer, as a pretty amazing record came to an end.

The NCAA started sponsoring the men’s lacrosse national championship in 1971. Since the very first tournament one name has been a constant: Johns Hopkins University. For the next 41 years, the Blue Jays appeared in every tournament.

That is, up until this year, when Johns Hopkins, a team that won nine NCAA titles, was left outside looking in, despite finishing the season at 9-5, a No. 15 national ranking, and with wins over Maryland and Towson, two teams that did make the tournament. They also lost to four tournament teams, with two of those losses by one goal.

Lacrosse sends only 16 teams to the national tournament, so you’d better make every game count during the regular season, as Johns Hopkins found out. If they could have beaten Loyola in their second to last game of the season, then they probably would have earned a spot in the field. But they didn’t.

Lacrosse and Johns Hopkins goes hand-in-hand. No other team in any other college sport can hold a candle to their accomplishments. The Blue Jays have won 44 national titles, nine in the NCAA, six in the ILA between 1891 ad 1903, and 29 USILA titles from 1929 through 1970.

I’m sad to see their streak of consecutive tournament appearances come to an end. But it had to sooner or later.

Speaking of coming to an end, that’s exactly what the high school sports season is quickly doing. This weekend tennis and track and field will end with their state tournaments. This is the last week of the regular season for both baseball and softball.

While Laurel County has no one in the state track and field meet, the county is represented by five individuals in tennis, one from South Laurel and four from North Laurel. Neha Rao is the Lady Cardinal representative in tennis, as the three time region champ looks to make a deeper run into the tournament than last year. North Laurel has two doubles team that will represent the school, one in girls (Caroline Moore and Pooja Kanthawar) and one in boys (Spencer Bolton and Arjun Kanthawar).

Unless something major happens, either South Laurel or North Laurel should once again represent the 13th Region in the girls’ fastpitch softball tournament. No big surprise there.

In baseball, well, I think there are a number of teams that could win it. South Laurel is probably the favorite, but the Cards have struggled over the past couple of weeks. If they play like they were midway through the season, the Cards should take the title.

But don’t sleep on North Laurel, as the Jaguars seem to be getting better and better with each passing game. Harlan County and Clay County are also in the mix. And there can always be a dark horse, like a Whitley County, Corbin or Harlan Independent.

The post season should really be fun.

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