On Monday, more than 40,000 fans packed into Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to watch the biggest lacrosse game of the season. It was the 2009 NCAA National Lacrosse Championship, between the fifth-ranked Cornell and second-ranked Syracuse.
It was by far the most exciting lacrosse game I’ve ever seen. Through all of the perfectly executed plays and amazing saves, I kept thinking about the college lacrosse recruiters who assembled these teams. You know, the ones giving themselves a huge pat on the back.
A few years ago, back in 2004, Syracuse had managed to recruit three of the best high school lacrosse players in the country. All three, now seniors, had proven their talent throughout the years. But on this past Memorial Day, one player in particular, senior attackman Kenny Nims, made those recruiters very happy.
With only a few minutes left to play in regulation, Syracuse found themselves down by three goals. It looked like the road may have finally been coming to an end for the Orange, who were favored to win. But with great skill and remarkable ease (at least it looked that way) Syracuse came within a goal of Cornell with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation. Then, it was Nims’s time to shine.
With just 4.5 seconds left to play the game, Nims received a pass from Matt Abbott and scored the tying goal, leading to overtime and, a few minutes later, a Syracuse win.
Just a little history here: Kenny Nims had pretty big shoes to fill. His father had played goalie at Syracuse from 1982-85 and still ranks third on the school’s all-time saves list (692). Kenny had proven that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His stats were remarkable – in the 2009 season alone, Nims had 32 goals and 42 assists.
On Wednesday night, the Chicago Machine made Nims the first overall selection of the Major League Lacrosse Draft. I’m sure they won’t be sorry.