Jacqui Hallack 1 4-2.jpeg

ITHACA, NY -- Ever since Karrie Moore was hired after the 2015 season as the head coach of women’s lacrosse at Ithaca College, the program has been on an upward arc. Coming into the 2020 season, coach Moore and the seniors that had been with her since they all started together were looking to accomplish big things. They roared out to a 5–0 start — taking down ranked teams one after another — and then… Well, you know… 

That five-game win streak has now been stretched to 16 games, as the Bombers have run the table heading into this week’s Liberty League tournament. Ithaca’s 11-0 season has, fittingly, earned them home-field advantage for the tournament, and they will face off against St. Lawrence on Wednesday. Given they win that semi-final match up, the Bombers will play for the L.L. title on Saturday, and for the automatic bid that comes with it. That automatic bid is an important goal, because as Moore said, “They have reduced the size of the NCAA tournament field this year, and, it’s uncertain how many at-large bids will be given out.” 

I asked Moore if the Bombers have ever been ranked as high as #7, and whether such a lofty ranking serves as a motivator or a distraction. She replied, “For us, a high ranking is exciting, but we don’t talk about it very much. We expect excellence, it’s what we prepare for and play for, and the ranking is just a function of that.” 

Moore talked about what she calls “a great senior class.” She said, “There are twelve seniors, and four are co-captains [Jacqui Hallack, Caroline Grant, Molly Nodiff and Megan Motkowski], and we have gotten awesome leadership from them. I am grateful to them and to so many others. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get us on the field this year. I appreciate that we were able to get in as many games as we did.” 

The coach also had high praise for Bailey Herr, who was a senior on the 2020 team that had the rug pulled out from under it, so to speak. “Bailey was a dominant player and probably would have been an All-American,” Moore offered. “She has been helping out this year, and it has been great to have her still connected to the program.”

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More on Tim Locastro, who is preparing to come off the MLB 10-day injured list… 

After setting an all-time Major League Baseball record by stealing 28 bases without getting caught to start his career, Locastro was thrown out (by about a millimeter) attempting to pilfer second base against the Washington Nationals on April 17. Employing his customary Kamikaze, full-speed, flat-out, head-first slide, Locastro caught his left hand on the base and dislocated his pinky finger. 

I talked to George Valesente — who recruited Tim out of Auburn, New York, and coached him for four years at Ithaca College — and the now-retired coach told me (after I questioned the call), “Yes, he was out, and after that slide his bone was sticking out of the skin. He popped it back in, they stitched it up and he’ll be fine.” 

I have been watching a lot of Locastro highlight clips on YouTube, and I implore any athlete or coach to do the same. The guy plays like we all like to think we would play if given the chance, and the list of clips keeps growing. “Tim Locastro Makes History.” “Tim Locastro Highlights, 2019 and 2020.” “Tim Locastro Hitting Infield Singles.” “Tim Locastro Hitting Home Runs.” “Why Tim Locastro Should Be Your Favorite Weird Player.” I want every young player to watch these clips and make a commitment to bring some of that passion and desire to whatever they do in whatever sports they play. Locastro’s is a blue-collar, underdog story — a Division III player drafted in the 13th round — and while many are surprised by his success in The Bigs, Valesente is not one of them. “Tim just does whatever it takes to win,” he told me. “He was exactly the same way when he played for us.” 

 

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