Nicholas Signoretta, Editor
Biggest disappointment since you were conceived (Cry about it).
Finding a new and inventive way to sugarcoat every week’s women’s lacrosse article is a challenge I wake up dreading every Monday morning when The Collegian begins its routine publishing ritual. How could I, someone who knows very little about the sport of lacrosse, find a way to entertain both the writer and myself amid paragraphs detailing twenty-minute Explorer scoring droughts and opposing runs that have scaled as high as twenty-one unanswered (that’s bad in football, the game where they score points in sevens)? After witnessing a scarring three-loss week that saw the Explorers (0-8, 0-2) drop matches to two previously winless teams in the George Washington Colonials (1-5, 1-0) and the George Mason Patriots (1-7, 1-1) as well as falling to a solid UMBC Retrievers side (6-2), I have decided there is only one thing I can dunk on this week in an attempt to salvage any respect that the university, the team, and Dr. John P. Lacrosse (the inventor of lacrosse) have remaining for our beloved Explorers. In a celebration of the fact that I know far more about college basketball than I do women’s lacrosse, I will be taking the low road and comparing the La Salle Explorers women’s lacrosse team to teams that have become national punching bags in the first week of this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
When looking for the ideal NCAA Tournament basketball team to pair up with the La Salle women’s lacrosse team, I had some basic requirements to put both competitors on an even playing field. First, I must start with teams that did not win a single game in this year’s bracket because that would put them level with lacrosse’s zero wins. That cuts the field of sixty-eight eligible bachelors in half, leaving us with thirty-four candidates. Next, I am throwing out all low seeds because I feel that a 16 Seed losing in their first game is not disappointment but rather an expected formality. That will shave a few more squads off my list. For my final criterion, I just looked for teams that really inspired me with overall ineptitude. Whether it was failing to live up to expectations or just playing truly horrendous basketball, I wanted to find a team so bad and soul crushing that they could rival the Explorers in ripping my heart out. In the spirit of the tournament, I narrowed my candidates down to a final four, which I present to you. We are left with the Virginia Cavaliers (a 4 Seed who lost in traumatic fashion after turning the ball over in the closing seconds which lead to a game-winning three-pointer for their opponent), the Iowa State Cyclones (a 6 Seed who shot 23.3% from the field, 9.5% from three, and 57.9% from the free-throw line in an eighteen-point loss to a team on one day’s rest), the Arizona Wildcats (a 2 Seed who lost to a 15 Seed, the second time they have done this in school history), and the Purdue Boilermakers (a 1 Seed who became the second team ever to fall at the feet of a 16 Seed). With the Cavaliers having won a national championship in the past five years, they are excused from the disappointment championship. The Cyclones’ performance was appalling, but their shooting percentage was nearly five points higher than the worst performance in tourney history. The Wildcats have nothing going for them here. They are just lucky the Boilermakers lost to a worse seed and have more national haters. As you could have guessed before reading this entire paragraph, it’s time to buckle in for this article’s main event.
La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse v. Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball
“Battle of the Disappointments”
As a career disappointment myself, I feel qualified to judge the competition I have created, so rest assured whatever you read from here on out is clear and undisputed fact. This contest is going to have five rounds, with the team winning the most rounds by the end of the matchup being declared “The Most Disappointing Team Until Wolax Plays Their Next Game.” Let us begin.
Round 1: The Brands
To compare Purdue men’s basketball to La Salle women’s lacrosse is like comparing Sports Illustrated to my articles in The Collegian. Everyone knows the first one. Only the parents who care about the people involved with the second one bother to keep up with it. When I search “purdue men’s basketball” in Google, I get sixteen million results. Typing in “la salle women’s lacrosse” yields only a third of that number (Over 5,000,000 hits for La Salle women’s lacrosse? I need answers). To deny that Purdue men’s basketball is the more recognizable brand would be like denying George Mason’s Shannon Tuozzo one of her nine goals against the Explorers last week. It can’t be done. Losing as the bigger brand gives Purdue the early lead.
Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball: 1, La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse: 0
Round 2: The Rosters
Purdue’s roster is highlighted by the likes of their 7’4” goliath of a center, Zach Edey. The Naismith College Player of the Year frontrunner has some potential to play pro ball, and he is a monster in the paint that cleans up the glass and helps the Boilermakers run smoothly. In comparison, the Explorers’ tallest player is 5’11” attacker Katie Johnson. At least to my knowledge, Johnson has zero NBA prospects and was nowhere to be found on Naismith award watchlist articles I perused. To lose with a colossal talent like Edey is a major fail, meaning Purdue out-disappoints again.
Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball: 2, La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse: 0
Zach Edey and Katie Johnson (Picture is to scale).
Round 3: The Accolades
Purdue put a stamp on a successful regular season by being crowned both the Big Ten Conference’s regular season and conference tournament champions. The squad earned their sixth straight top four seed in the NCAA Tournament, showing they are consistently a force to be reckoned with. Their program even has two Final Four appearances to their name, meaning they have played on college basketball’s biggest stage. While La Salle women’s lacrosse has never sniffed this level of accomplishment on the field, the stellar gameday environments provided by their fans is something the opposition cannot handle. While the Boilermakers may have banners hanging for conference titles and lengthy tournament runs, the Explorers have the best parent provided tailgate Division I has to offer. Sad to see La Salle lose with that level of hospitality. Point for the Explorers.
Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball: 2, La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse: 1
Round 4: Expectations
This year, Purdue did not open the year ranked or projected to win the Big Ten. They shattered those expectations and earned themselves a 1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, they lost to a 16 Seed, but you could still argue they initially exceeded expectations. Meanwhile, I personally expected La Salle to win one of their first eight games. What I fool that makes me. The Boilermakers may have underachieved on the biggest stage, but the Explorers have underachieved in every way. Looks like this will be a tie game going into the final frame.
Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball: 2, La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse: 2
Round 5: Losses To Teams From The State Of New Jersey (But Only When The Match Isn’t Played In Illinois)
It’s the metric that matters most in any competition, how you fared against the proverbial “Garbage State” in head-to-head competition (excluding potential wins in the Prairie State). Purdue boasts an ugly 0-2 mark against such teams, with a stunning 65-64 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights combining with their now famous 63-58 loss to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights this past Friday to get them to that record. La Salle on the other hand, has zero of these oddly specific yet incredibly important games played, meaning their 0-0 record is greater than that of Purdue’s. This means La Salle dodges a bullet as Purdue seizes disappointment from the jaws of… um… appointment? I don’t know.
Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball: 3, La Salle Explorers Women’s Lacrosse: 2
New Jersey (Picture is also to scale).
And just like that, the women’s lacrosse team loses another hard-fought battle, but with a much more respectable scoreline of 3-2. This upcoming week, the Explorers travel to Amherst, Massachusetts, to take on the #16 UMass Minutewomen (8-1, 2-0) The game will take place on Wednesday, March 22nd, and action from Garber Field will get underway around 2PM EST. La Salle will also face off against the VCU Rams (4-5, 0-2) on Saturday, March 25th, at 1PM EST on wonderful McCarthy Field. Both matches will stream on ESPN+. I pray they win because I am really running out of ideas for alternative articles.
From The Collegian, this is Nicholas Signoretta reporting.