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Alyssa Long

The Sunday Slide: March 5, 2023

March 5, 2023
Kenny DeJohn
Peyton Williams

We all know that records are meant to be broken.

There’s at least one Division I women’s lacrosse record that probably never will, though. In 1983, the second year of Northwestern’s existence as a varsity program, the Wildcats allowed 4.71 goals per game (66 goals in 14 games).

Cindy Timchal’s defense was led by Jane Billeter, who is No. 9 in program history with 236 saves despite only playing from 1983-84.

That was a different time with different philosophies and different offensive capabilities. The advent of the shot clock, the overall skill of attackers and a variety of other factors have seen scoring numbers skyrocket — certainly well beyond the Northwestern defense of 40 years ago witnessed.

This is all to say that Denver’s start to 2023 might not be on true record-breaking pace. But the Pios’ efforts need to be recognized. They clipped Maryland on Sunday in College Park, the first time Denver’s ever beaten the Terps. It was an 8-7 win in which Emelia Bohi made seven saves, including a clutch one late to seal it.

Denver’s allowed 34 goals in its 6-0 start, or 5.67 goals per game. Looking ahead, the only offensive juggernaut (at least on paper) remaining on the schedule is Boston College on March 19. Jacksonville (March 22) and Stanford (April 14) can traditionally score it, too.

So, maybe Denver won’t surpass Northwestern’s vaunted defense in 1983. Six games in, I might be counting chickens before they hatch. But seriously, Denver looks on another level defensively right now.

As always, thanks for reading The Sunday Slide. Hit me up with your comments (, and we can continue the conversation in next week’s column.


It’s astounding what North Carolina is doing this season. Should we be surprised? Probably not. It’s Jenny Levy at the helm, after all. The newbies in the Tar Heels starting lineup have been remarkable, and they played a nearly flawless game in a 16-5 win over Boston College on Friday. Is North Carolina untouchable again?

Women’s lacrosse fans have rightfully celebrated the fact that over 450 games will be available this season on ESPN platforms. But at what point does the discourse pivot to broadcast quality? I get that not every school has the same resources, but I’ll settle for consistency in announcers and streams with score bugs on the screen. By and large, quality has been subpar in 2023.

The Ivy League hierarchy is going to be so fun to watch develop over the course of the spring. Right now, it’s Yale that looks every bit the favorite after a 15-10 win over Princeton — the program’s first over the Tigers since April 7, 2007. Yale’s ball movement was impressive, and the finishing ability of Fallon Vaughn and Jenna Collignon could put the Bulldogs over the top compared to their Ivy peers.

Penn State fell to Loyola on Saturday, but few have mentioned the fine start of the Nittany Lions in February. They finished the month 4-0 with three wins of at least nine goals and another over Arizona State, an NCAA tournament bubble team a year ago. March 11 against Rutgers is a game I have circled.

The rivalry between Notre Dame and Duke is fascinating. The Irish have now won 9 of the last 11 meetings against their ACC counterparts after a pretty easy 14-6 win on Saturday. It’s not like Duke has been a slouch during that streak, either. Notre Dame limited Duke to 19 shots and just seven shots in the second half, an impressive defensive showing for a team that doesn’t usually get much credit down that end of the field.

Rutgers is scuffling with two straight losses, but Cassidy Spilis is doing everything she can to keep the Scarlet Knights afloat. She scored four of Rutgers’ five goals in a 10-5 loss to Army, and then she scored four times in an 18-12 loss to Princeton.

Speaking of Army, the Black Knights had to sweat out a 14-11 win over Hofstra. I featured Michelle Tumolo and the team this week. I love learning about upstart programs, but writing about programs on a hot streak also makes me nervous because it could all fall apart at a moment’s notice. I started sweating when Army and Hofstra were tied at 10 entering the fourth quarter.


8 • The most goals James Madison has allowed during its current five-game winning streak, a three-week stretch highlight by an 8-7 win over Maryland. The Dukes have now topped the Terps in consecutive years.

15 • Hat tip to our editor in chief, Matt DaSilva, for this one. (And hat tip to an official who worked the game for letting Matt know.) All 15 goals scored by Louisville in a 15-12 win over Vanderbilt were scored by players from either Canada or Japan — Kylea Dobson (six), Nicole Perroni (four), Kokoro Nakazawa (three) and Negai Nakazawa (two).

26 • Ground balls by Stony Brook in a comeback 14-10 win over Stanford, the most ground balls Stony Brook has produced in a game since April 5, 2018 against Hartford.

48 • Goals scored by Northwestern in a 2-0 weekend without Izzy Scane, who Jake Epstein of the Daily Northwestern reports is “day to day,” although no specific injury was specified. Scane, of course, missed all of 2022 with an ACL injury but was on a tear to begin 2023 with 27 goals in four games.