In the sports world, the fall is generally associated with the NFL's regular season and baseball's postseason.
Autumn is also an exciting time in college lacrosse, because that’s when programs can shake off the cobwebs from an offseason that began in May and start to assess players, coaches and strategies.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as fall ball gets underway:
Fall ball is evaluation time for coaches. With a freshman class usually working out the kinks of college living, teams value the fall session as an opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their first-year players. It’s also a chance for returners who didn’t get much playing time last season to show coaches how much they have progressed since the spring.
Fall ball is not a strenuous time for returning starters. Players coming off injuries will use the time as a measure of their recovery process and may get some playing time to gauge their health. For players who played extensively last season, they may play a little to lodge some cardio, but they won’t be put in situations that risk injuries.
Fall ball involves scrimmages, but there are no official scores. Teams may keep their own stats for review later, but there is no official scorekeeper to determine winning and losing teams. And with many stars usually sitting out the scrimmages, scores wouldn’t be an accurate indicator of a team’s strength (or vulnerability).
Fall ball begins Friday. Loyola Maryland has an alumni game Friday night, and Albany scrimmages with The Hill Academy, a private school in Canada, too. The pace will pick up in October.
Fall ball has a few marquee events for area programs. Here is a sampling of some significant scrimmages for area teams:
Saturday, Oct. 4
(Navy Fall Ball, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis)
Navy vs. UMBC, 10
Navy vs. Michigan, 2
Sunday, Oct. 5
(Play for Parkinson’s, Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va.)
Loyola vs. Princeton, 1
Towson vs. Air Force, 1
Loyola vs. Air Force, 4
Towson vs. Princeton, 4
(Mount St. Mary’s Fall Ball, St. Paul’s, Brooklandville)
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Quinnipiac, 1
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Monmouth, 3
Saturday, Oct. 11
Maryland vs. Bucknell, TBA
Sunday, Oct. 12
(Capital Lacrosse Invitational, Landon School, Bethesda)
UMBC vs. Penn State, 12
UMBC vs. Georgetown, 2:30
Saturday, Oct. 25
(University Classic, Penn Park, Philadelphia)
Johns Hopkins vs. Drexel, 1:15
Johns Hopkins vs. Penn, 3