The Sunday Slide: April 23, 2023


Sophia LeRose was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) in February.

Every so often, stories I work on serve as a necessary reminder that we don’t know everything going on behind the scenes in college sports.

I spoke with Duke goalie Sophia LeRose via Zoom on Friday morning. She’s had a rollercoaster of a year shrouded by what Duke was calling an “undisclosed medical condition.” It was purposely vague, as LeRose grappled with a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). (You can read that story here.)

Thankfully, POTS is not life-threatening. But it’s certainly life-altering. High-level athletes need to operate on all cylinders, but LeRose — through no fault of her own — has been unable to compete at the level she’s been accustomed to in her five years in Durham.

Information isn’t as readily available in college athletics as it is in the pros, and even when there’s an inkling of what might be wrong, athletic departments keep things obscure. How often do we hear ACL tears described as “lower-body injuries” by the way?

That’s the right of the athletes and the universities. No arguments here on that front. Still, it was incredibly refreshing — and I was always incredibly appreciative — that LeRose trusted USA Lacrosse Magazine to tell her story. She said repeatedly that she wanted to be a beacon of light for other athletes, young and old, who might be dealing with POTS themselves.

Stoies like LeRose’s help reframe perspectives. My favorite part of my job, especially in my career working with Long Island high schools and now colleges, is telling the stories of people who have something to say. It could have been very easy for LeRose to keep this to herself and deal with it on her own (and with the assistance of her teammates, coaches and doctors, of course). Instead, LeRose chose to share.

The graduate student has been unable to play much as she fights the on-again, off-again symptoms. But she started in goal, playing almost the entire first half, in Duke’s 12-11 win over Louisville in round one of the ACC tournament on Sunday.

Shoutout to Sophia. Thanks for sharing your story.


On the subject of the ACC tournament, the first game of the day wasn’t nearly as close as Duke-Louisville. Virginia Tech stomped Pitt 18-6, putting an end to the Panthers’ season. Virginia Tech will need to knock down a couple more ACC foes to even sniff the NCAA tournament, but anything can happen in postseason play.

I’d be remiss to not mention Boston College’s massive win over Syracuse. A huge game from Belle Smith (2 G, 5 A) and four goals — including the winner — from Mckenna Davis earned BC the top seed in the ACC tournament. With Syracuse going down, who will be No. 1 on Monday? (I already know the answer, but letting you know early would be cheating.)

There are a couple upstart teams every spring that continue to fly under the radar, even as the season progresses. Marquette is one of this year’s teams. The Golden Eagles improved to 14-1 with a 12-8 win over Big East rival Villanova on the strength of hat tricks from Lydia Foust and Meg Bireley. We’ll learn more about Marquette this week from Beth Ann Mayer, so stay tuned.

Is there a better name in women’s lacrosse than Boo Dewitt? (OK, maybe Peep Williams of Stanford. Please share your own submissions.) Dewitt, a Dartmouth sophomore, had two goals and two assists in the Big Green’s somewhat surprising 15-14 win over Princeton. Her teammates, Katina Christensen and Katie Elders, each scored four goals.

It’s likely that Johns Hopkins has punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament, even if the Jays exit the Big Ten tournament in the first round. Saturday’s 16-12 defeat of Penn State probably locks them in, assuming the selection committee doesn’t do anything silly. Hopkins has really turned the corner, going 4-1 in April (that loss was 13-12 to Maryland) to finish 8-7 and 4-2 in conference.

Cornell is playing Ivy League spoiler. Nothing is set in stone, but it’s looking like Yale now must win the Ivy League tournament to earn its NCAA tournament berth. A 14-12 loss to the Big Red on Saturday certainly didn’t help their at-large chances. The Ivy League is just fascinating this year.


0 • The number of losses suffered by Denver — the nation’s last remaining unbeaten. The Pios’ latest defensive masterclass was a 15-2 win over Georgetown. At 16-0, Denver’s last test comes against Marquette on Friday.

3 • Saves made by UMass in its 15-12 win over Saint Joseph’s. That’s something of a statistical oddity. The Minutewomen goalies faced 25 shots (15 on goal), but it looks like they had a rough afternoon.

6:31 • I have to be a Long Island homer for a second. Stony Brook hosts Hofstra on Friday, April 28, with the start time scheduled for 6:31 p.m. Eastern. For the uninitiated, “631” is the area code for Suffolk County phone numbers. Tip of the hat to the schedule makers.

12 • Points from Allison Reilly in Army’s 15-11 rivalry win over Navy. That’s nine goals and three assists from the plebe. The nine goals and 12 points were both single-game program records. In the six games before Saturday, Reilly had just eight goals combined. What a performance.

14 • Straight wins (and goals scored on Sunday) by James Madison. After losing the season opening to North Carolina (a team I think the Dukes could beat right now), JMU has gone on a tear.

27 • Goals scored by Jacksonville in a 27-6 win over Queens. Lauren Craft led with five goals, and Sarah Elms had four. Thirteen players had goals for the Dolphins.

1,936 • A program record fan total for Northwestern in its 13-6 win over Maryland to wrap up the Big Ten’s regular-season title.


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