Shockingly, the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team won its fifth-straight national championship this weekend, which is pretty uncommon for any university in any sport. When the lacrosse team won the title in 2005, it was the first national championship for Northwestern since 1941. It took us 64 years to win a team national championship. Since 2005, the Wildcats have won four more women’s lacrosse championships — unheard of in modern-day college sports. Only Maryland, a traditional east coast lacrosse powerhouse, has more national championships.
Somehow, a eight-year-old program in a region not particularly know for lacrosse (especially when compared to the Maryland/Virginia era) has become the absolute most dominant force in the entire sport. And you know it’s getting kind of boring when you simply assume we’re going to win.
The whole thing reminds me of the ‘90s-era Chicago Bulls — they may drop a game or two, let the series go to game six to make the playoffs kind of interesting, but in the end Michael Jordan and company were going to win the championship. They were just too good to lose.
The women’s lacrosse team is just too good.
Sure, there will be some close games — the Wildcats fought a tough Penn team in the semifinals, tying it up in the first overtime period with a miracle last-second goal from junior Katrina Dowd. Northwestern staved off the upset with a goal in the second overtime to win 13-12 over the Quakers. It was necessary drama for a team that often makes its games look like a lacrosse version of the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals.
Maybe Northwestern can take the Globetrotters approach to make the games more dramatic: trick lacrosse shots, excessive celebrating and showboating, “Three Stooges” level slapstick humor and a red, white and blue lacrosse ball sound like fun for the entire family! Unfortunately, the NCAA sportsmanship police may have something to say about that,
In individual sports, it’s nice to see one person be so dominant. You like seeing the very best of the very best; it gives fans someone to rally behind. Tiger Woods goes out there and has a good chance of winning any tournament he enters. In any given tennis tournament, you can bet that either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer will win it all. Team sports need a bit of the unknown, that maybe that dominating force will be shocked by some underdog team, as Northwestern almost was on Friday.
As Northwestern students, we can’t take this kind of dominance for granted. For the past five years, no one has been better than us at lacrosse. The Wildcats broke the Division I scoring record this year in route to their second perfect season since 2005. It took Northwestern 64 years to win a national championship. Now we have five in five years. After Northwestern’s lacrosse run ends, we all may be six feet under before Northwestern puts up a similar streak in any sport. It would certainly be more interesting if there was at least one rival, a team that always nipped on our heels and posed an obstacle in the way of our dominance. Until Northwestern meets its match, I’ll take our national championships. They’re rare in these parts.
Clarification appended: Parts of the original article incorrectly compared Northwestern’s team to Maryland’s team. We have clarified the first paragraph to reflect that the University of Maryland has more championships than Northwestern. North by Northwestern regrets any confusion.