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Tuition Saturday: And then there was one (team that could be remotely considered to be in competition for a national title)

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I like my post titles short and sweet.

So, last week, NU had two teams that looked to be potential national championship candidates, this week, well, we have one. Pretty much every team besides women's lax seems has Darwin Awards-ed themselves out of contention, except the baseball team, who won in the most ridiculous awesome fashion possible, so, let's get to it.

Lacrosse: NU realized Duke needed to chill the hell out with the whole championship winning thing after winning a men's basketball title - c'mon, fellas, one at a time - and promptly smacked the living hell out of the less dicky of Duke's two lacrosse teams, winning 18-8. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and, unlike our baseball team, that means they won. 

They'll face North Carolina - WHO THEY LOST TO EARLIER THIS YEAR OMG - on Friday in Towson, Maryland, where the local populace is presumably still devastated by their local football team's season-opening 47-14 loss to Northwestern - don't rub it in, ladies!

Hit the jump if you wanna read about how baseball did some crazy stuff in ridiculous fashion.

Baseball: So, the beisbol Cats entered the weekend one game ahead of sixth place in the conference, where they'd need to finish to qualify for the Big Ten tournament, which they'd need to win to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which they'd need to win to even up with those dastardly 1800's tug-of-war assholes to even them up in NCAA championships. The team they were playing: Michigan State, the team one game behind them. On Thursday, 8.2 innings from Eric Jokisch gave NU a 2-1 victory, with Paul Sneider shutting the door for the save. On Friday, being able to seal their own fate with a win to qualify, the Cats were up 1-0 going into the eighth but gave up runs in the eighth and ninth earning Sneider the loss and spoiling 7 scoreless from Francis Brooke. 

So Saturday, NU entered the day a game ahead of Michigan State and Indiana. Indiana got the memo that they were playing an elimination game and beat Illinois, 16-6, meaning that if NU was in a classic win-and-you're in, don't-win-and-you're-out-and-you-also-lost-a-game-last-week-that-you-were-leading-14-to-0-and-lost-anyway-and-you-would've-qualified-if-you-had-held-the-14-run-lead-and-have-to-think-about-that-all-summer situation, considering they have the worst out-of-conference record in the Big Ten, making them last place in any tiebreakers. They went up 2-0, but gave up four unearned runs in the sixth and seventh and trailed 6-3. That's when things got nuts.

In the eighth, NU scored a run to make it 6-4, loaded the bases, and a two-out Chris Kontos single appeared ready to score two, but the catcher decided to block home plate despite not having the ball yet. Trevor Stevens knocked him over and scored the run, but was called out for interfering with the catcher, ending the inning with the Cats down 6-5 and causing him and his father, coach Paul Stevens (nepotism, it worked for Todd Lickliter!) to vehemently argue until they got ejected.Things looked bleak. Paul Sneider worked a perfect ninth. Arby Fields (RB #1!) opened off the bottom half of the inning with a double, and Chad Noble advanced him to third, leaving the tying run 90 feet away with Sneider - who is the team's closer AND LEADS THE TEAM IN BATTING AVERAGE - coming up to the plate. 

Yeah, he hit a three-run walkoff homer to qualify the team for the Big Ten tournament. And giving him the win for the game, meaning he finished the weekend with a win, a loss, a save, and a walk-off home run that gave NU their first trip to a postseason tournament since 2005. Not a bad weekend. What did you do this weekend? I plan on napping a lot. I think Paul Sneider wins.

Big Ten tourney play starts later this week - I'll keep y'all updated.

(If there's one thing writing this post has taught me, it's that I can't spell the word "eighth" despite a high school degree and two years of Medill classes.)

(also, that "Beisbol Cats" should be a Saturday morning cartoon show in the Dominican Republic. Hey, Dominican TV reps, if this isn't true, hit me up! We can make this work)

Women's Tennis: For the 12th straight year, NU won the Big Ten, and then didn't win the national title. They were seeded No. 5, and you have to figure a team that consistently manages to be one of the top 5-10 in the nation will eventually win a tournament, but, instead, for the sixth straight year, they lost in the Sweet 16, this time falling 4-1 to the Miami Hurricanes. Meaning when this athletic year closes, NU's women's lacrosse team will once again end the year with infinity% more titles than the rest of NU's 18 varsity sports combined, unless, of course, you count our dominant Tug-of-War teams from the late 1800's, who brought home multiple chips in their day, and judging from those photos, probably rode around on those bikes with the one really huge wheel and the one really tiny wheel.

Men's Golf: It's what you've all been waiting for, ain't it? The squad needed place in fifth or higher at the NCAA regionals to qualify for the National Championship, and after a dramatic comeback (according to the NUsports_live twitter feed, that is) finished at 848 for the three round tournament. However, they needed to be at 847 to be tied with LSU for fifth and ended up falling one stroke short of qualification, bringing sadness to the hearts of children everywhere. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!