Lacrosse’s Version of March Madness

In the entire month of February there were a total of 8 Division 1 lacrosse games that went into overtime. Less than two weeks into March there have already been 7 overtime games. It looks like March Madness will apply to college lacrosse just as much as it does college basketball during this hectic month.

Watching these overtime games is always exciting as a team scores the winning goal and storms the field to celebrate, but I always feel for the other team as well that stands in disbelief as they lose the game.

The Syracuse vs Virginia overtime game was one of the most exciting so far this season.

Games like this always stir up memories of all the overtime games I have won or lost and the feelings and emotions that go with each experience.

It is difficult to put into words what it feels like to win in overtime. That moment of realization and explosion of joy when you see the ball go in the net is like an electricity jolting your entire being. Yelling at the top of your lungs and storming the field toward your heroic teammate who scored the game winner. That feeling of collective happiness after all the countless hours of work you and your teammates put in to reach that moment is stronger than any high a drug could ever produce.

Last season, my team won the MAAC Conference Championship in overtime to send us to the NCAA tournament. Canisius had not won the MAAC championship or been to the NCAA playoffs since 2012. I was a senior and this was potentially my last game. I will never forget what it was like to run on that field with my best friends after years of dreaming of that moment.

As the winners celebrate and jump on the dog pile they experience the highest of highs, but nearby the other team, the losing team, stands opposite this scene of joy with heavy hearts feeling the lowest of lows.

There is a reason that overtime is aptly know as Sudden Death.  

A little piece of every player, coach, and fan feels like it dies when the final goal is mercilessly scored. Any hope of still winning vanishes with the realization that it is all over. Losing closes the door on any opportunity to change our actions. Missed passes and shots, lost faceoffs, poor defense, injuries, and little mistakes can never be undone no matter how desperately we wish they could. Your whole body feels heavy and your stomach aches as you try and hold back anger and tears. All you can do is comfort your teammates who feel as if the loss was all their fault.

I’ve lost a handful of games in overtime and it never gets easier especially when a decision you made is the reason your team loses.

Losing in overtime in a regular season game is tough, but teams have to get over it as they look toward their next opponent. Going to overtime in the playoffs or the championship game is completely different. There are no second chances if you lose that game.

There are still three weeks left in March and about two months until Memorial Day. At the pace we are on now, it seems like we will have plenty of overtimes the rest of the season, in the playoffs, and possibly the National Championship.

Duke winning the Championship in overtime in 2010 will always be one of my favorite moments and the perfect example of how crazy and unpredictable overtime games can be.

Will we see another National Championship go to overtime in 2019?

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