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Schools of Thought

Northing to see here

April 7, 2008
By Bill Cain, The Leader-Herald
As much as I enjoy lacrosse and think the more I see of it, the better, I believe the Johnstown girls’ lacrosse team will be playing 27 extra minutes of lacrosse this season that they should not have to play.

The Lady Bills led 14-7 over South Glens Falls in Tuesday’s game at Knox Field when thunder and lightning chased everyone home to watch the Yankees game on TV. There was 22:23 left in the second half, meaning the two teams already had played 27:37 of the game.

When the game was called 30 minutes after the first thunderclap, when there was no sign of a reprieve from the light show in the clouds, all that had transpired in that first 27:37 was effectively erased from the books.

Never happened.

Johnstown’s Jami Murray never scored four goals. Erica Kelly never scored three and assisted on two. Kelsey Palcovic and Kristin Wilson didn’t score twice apiece, Palcovic assisting on a goal as well. Kara Gagliardo didn’t score once and assist twice. Amie Sedal and Adele Friello never scored their goals, Friello never assisted on another.

Michelle Raspanti didn’t let in seven goals, which I’m sure she’s glad of, but also never stopped nearly twice that many.

According to the books, the game never happened. At least, the 27:37 that was played was never officially played. I guess I was mistaken and I wasn’t there to see it. I must have been at home eating a thick, juicy steak and feeling contentedly fat.

All this is so because of the rule regarding stopped games. If a girls’ lacrosse game is not 80 percent complete when stopped, it must be started from scratch, not resumed from where it left off, and not called final.

If 10:01 remains in a 50-minute game that is called because of weather, it must be started from scratch.

This is ridiculous. Even if you don’t want to call it final and give Johnstown a 14-7 win, like you would if it were a baseball game or soccer match that had been 50 percent complete, at least resume from where you left off.

The time is recorded, the score recorded and the stats written down. There is absolutely no reason to restart it from the beginning.

I’ll bet the refs still got paid for this game that didn’t happen. I imagine if they didn’t, they’d be waiting out the storm to its end. But it’s not the refs’ fault, it’s the fault of the rule, and it needs to be amended.

While I wasn’t at this game, since it didn’t happen, what I didn’t see would have been encouraging for the Lady Bills. That is, of course, if they were there to see it.

The passing and catching, ground-ball skills and aggression was a vast improvement from last year. The girls passed with precision from distance. When receiving short passes near the goal, the ensuing shot was quick. The movement to receive that pass was made with purpose. Girls attacked the defense with teammates and alone, depending on the situation.

Erica Kelly drove the offense. Jami Murray drove the South High coaches and bench nuts by winning draws and racing upfield through a host of defenders and scoring four goals. Five other Lady Bills got into the scorebook. If another 23 minutes were played, several others would have found their way into the book.

Raspanti’s positioning in goal was superb. More than her reaction to shots, her positioning prepared her for most attacks. The only hole the Bulldogs found was when they wrapped the attack around the back of the goal, from the right side around to the left, where there was an inch or two space between Raspanti and the near post to sqeeze a shot. She was otherwise unbeatable.

The Bulldogs scored three goals during a 1:12 span and another two just 34 seconds apart near the end of the half. During the other 25:51 the two teams played, the Johnstown defense and Raspanti kept South High at bay.

Yes, South High was on the field for the first time this season, having been stuck in the gym with snow still on its field, but that had little to do with how the Lady Bills passed, caught, moved and attacked. More time on a field would improve the South High play and probably result in a closer score, but it would not make the Lady Bills play poorly.

The stats are gone, made unofficial by an officially nonsensical rule. Still, the memory of the game that — on paper — never happened should at least provide the Lady Bills some confidence heading into the rest of their games. They proved on the field, to themselves and anybody else that wasn’t officially there, that what they had been doing in the gym was no fluke.

Bill Cain is a sportswriter for The Leader-Herald. We invite your feedback on this or any other sports-related topic. E-mail your opinions or ideas to us at


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