Taylor's 10: Championship Weekend is Here


Molly Laliberty, a Tufts transfer, has played a key role in Northwestern's success.

Taylor Cummings is a three-time Tewaaraton Award winner, a two-time gold medalist with the U.S. women’s national team, the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse champion and the head coach at McDonogh (Md.). “Taylor’s 10” is presented by Gait Lacrosse. Be legendary.

Year in and year out, spring has always brought me joy. 

As a player, I was able to be with my best friends every day at practice and play the sport I love. I was in an environment that fostered competition and fun, and that became my happiest place. 

As a coach, I now have the privilege of watching my players do that same thing, only now from the sidelines. I’m surrounded by people young and old who are passionate about the game, and that passion always rubs off on me.

In my limited role as a broadcaster and writer, I’m able to promote the game of lacrosse and help these women on the field get the visibility they’ve earned and long deserved. Discussing the women’s game is something I’ve always done as a player and coach, but to do so to the public means so much and gives me hope for the future of our sport.

As a fan, I just love watching this game. As the years have gone on and the talent on the field has gotten better and better, lacrosse has become so much more entertaining to watch. I will always cheer on the Terps first and foremost, but I truly love any opportunity I get to see this game live, even when being played by other teams. This young generation of players is so lucky to have the access that they do, and I hope they know that!

This spring has flown by, and it’s so hard to believe that the last weekend of the women’s season is here. While it’s one of the most exciting times of the year, it’s also one of the saddest for me. As we look to the Final Four and national championship games, I think this is a great time to look back on some standout performances from the penultimate weekend of the season and preview those exciting final games!

We need to savor this time because it’s always a long eight-month wait for the next game.


Syracuse 13, James Madison 7

This game ended with the same spread I anticipated but was on the lower end of overall goal production, which surprised me. Syracuse took a little bit longer to figure out JMU’s zone despite the extra possessions it earned with its draw prowess. The Dukes in turn had difficulty with the Orange zone and couldn’t figure out goalie Delaney Sweitzer for much of the game. In the end, it was the play of Syracuse’s Olivia Adamson in the draw circle and on the offensive end that made the difference. She’s a solid finisher, deceptive cutter and consistently good at the draw, which troubled JMU.

Boston College 20, Notre Dame 6

I expected Boston College to win this game, but I was not prepared for a running clock. I thought the Irish’s three-headed monster of Choma, Ahern and Wolak would put on an offensive show, but it was Smith, Medjid, Weeks, Davis and Martello that lit it up. They combined for 25 points and proved that having balanced scoring and multiple threats on the offensive end is so hard for opposing teams to stop. The defensive play of BC’s Hunter Roman, Sydney Scales and Shea Baker impressed me most. Those three, along with goalie Shea Dolce, held one of the most prolific offenses in the country to six goals.

Denver 5, North Carolina 4

This was the game I was most excited to watch and one I thought would be low scoring. I did not envision only nine goals over the entire afternoon. A defensive battle until the very end, UNC and Denver each had difficulty on offense. Denver’s chaotic and smothering zone was matched possession after possession by a patient, steady UNC man-to-man scheme. The Pioneers relied on caused turnovers, whereas the Tar Heels relied on saves from Alecia Nichols and shot clock violations. It was Kayla DeRose’s late snipe and Denver’s poise that won out.

Northwestern 16, Loyola 6

The final quarterfinal ended up being another expected outcome but unexpected score. I was certain that the Greyhounds would keep this match close with the help of Jillian Wilson’s draw expertise. But costly turnovers in the clearing game and sharp shooting on Northwestern’s offensive end created a substantial margin by halftime, a margin that only increased as time went on. Izzy Scane was spectacular and might have won herself a Tewaaraton Award with her performance. We won’t know for sure until June, but for now, the Scane Train has the Wildcats heading south to Final Four weekend.


Syracuse vs. Boston College

This game is going to be an epic rematch of their last meeting in April, one that saw the Eagles hoist the ACC regular season trophy on Syracuse’s home turf. BC has been red hot the past few weeks and is most likely the favorite here despite being the lower seed. Syracuse had some stumbles before the NCAA tournament hit, and people were wondering if its steam had run out, but the Orange have been electric the past few games. Both head coaches, Kayla Treanor and Acacia Walker-Weinstein, have championship game experience, but only Walker-Weinstein has led her team to the top as a head coach. I’m thinking Treanor and Co. will change that narrative. Score Prediction: 15-13, Syracuse

Northwestern vs. Denver

I’m fascinated by this second semifinal and cannot wait to see how it plays out. Northwestern’s high-powered offense matched up against Denver’s zone will be one of the best chess matches of the entire season, but I truly think it will come down to what happens at the other end of the field. The major question for me is if Denver can handle Northwestern’s ever-changing defensive schemes and be able to put up enough goals to rival the production of Scane and Coykendall. The Pios have shown they’re more than comfortable winning low-scoring games, but I think the Pioneers will have to score at least 10 goals to give their defense some breathing room. Score Prediction: 10-7, Northwestern 


Samantha White, Northwestern

White will most likely guard Denver’s Julia Gilbert. If she can limit her touches, get on her hands and make Gilbert more of an east-to-west dodger, the Wildcats will be in a good spot.

Olivia Adamson, Syracuse

Possession will be key in this game, and Adamson must provide that for the Orange. She’s stepped into her new center role very nicely, especially over the past few games, and will need to continue her dominance in the circle.

Shea Dolce, Boston College

Being a freshman starter is tough, but to do so in your first-ever Championship Weekend is downright scary. Dolce needs to be composed in cage and take the game one set at a time. If she gets a few saves early, she might be able to frustrate this lethal Orange attack.

Sam Thacker, Denver

Thacker is Denver’s glue on defense as the rover. She covers space, creates chaos and is a vocal leader. Thacker needs to stay out of three seconds, limit fouls and orchestrate the defense to near perfection if the Pioneers want to make it all the way.

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