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The Unfinished Storylines of College LAX

Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2020 college lacrosse season coming to an unexpected and abrupt close due to the spread of coronavirus, it’s time to look back at what might have been. These are the biggest storylines we no longer have the chance to see unfold.


1. Would UNC have run away with it?

The Tar Heels ended the season undefeated and ranked No. 1, and though the 2020 campaign was brief, they still managed to knock off five ranked teams. Since their last title in 2016, UNC has returned to Championship Weekend every year but fallen short each time. This year, they looked poise to bring the program’s third title back to Chapel Hill, ranking second in the country in scoring an astonishing 19.57 goals per game.

The silver lining for UNC is that they’ll almost certainly be back in the driver’s seat next year. Jamie Ortega, US Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason Player of the Year, is only a junior. Katie Hoeg, a two-time All-American and the UNC record holder for career assists, will reportedly join her. And UNC’s coach has announced that seniors Caroline Wakefield and Catie Woodruff are also planning to return next year.


2. Speaking of Notre Dame…

The Fighting Irish opened and ended the season 7-0 for the second straight year, putting a close to what might have been their best chance to return to the Final Four since 2006. They were set to take on No. 1 UNC in their very next game before the cancellations were announced. Now, both teams end their seasons undefeated… Boring!!

But again, there’s a silver lining. Notre Dame’s best offensive players this season were both freshmen. Neither Kasey Choma nor Madison Ahern are going anywhere in a hurry. Choma led the team with 18 goals, while Ahern led the team with 23 points. It’s rare to have two top recruits perform so consistently this early into their college career, and while fans were looking forward to seeing if the duo could keep it up against UNC, they’ll at least have a few more years to watch them in action.


3. Would Maryland have recovered?

The reigning national champs, on the other hand, were having a historically bad start to their 2020 season. They were doubled up by Syracuse 10-5 after complaining about the weather in New York and forcing the Orange to drive down and play them in College Park (the game was originally scheduled to take place at Syracuse.) They only lost by one to Florida, but they were pummelled 19-6 by UNC. Could they have just had early season jitters? Would Cathy Reese have righted the ship?

On an individual note, Kali Hartshorn was on track to top lax legend and Maryland alum Taylor Cummings’ single-season program record for draw controls (144). Now barring a potential fifth year, she won’t get the chance.


4. In memoriam: the behind-the-backs that could have been 

Even in a shortened season, we saw an insane amount of behind-the-back goals this year. The collective skill of college laxers continues to improve year after year. It’s hard not to watch these highlights and not salivate over all the awesomeness we won’t get to see:

5. But of course… 

The storylines we’ll miss the most are the ones we can’t even imagine. The season had only just begun. Most teams had only played about 7 or 8 games, and conference play wasn’t even in full swing. Every lax fan knows that anything can happen over the course of a single game, let alone an entire season. And looking back, it’s clearly the moments, the upsets, the tournament runs and broken records that we couldn’t predict that will leave the bitterest (and most elusive) sense of FOMO in every fan’s mind.