Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse coach Janine Tucker has filed a protest with the Big Ten Conference over the final seconds of regulation in Thursday's 10-9 overtime loss at Northwestern, asserting that the Wildcats' tying goal was scored after time expired.
Video from the game televised on the Big Ten Network shows Northwestern's Sheila Nesselbush setting up for an 8-meter free-position shot with 0.2 of a second left on the game clock. Slow motion shows that when the clock hits 0.0, the ball is still in Nesselbush's stick.
"The protest rules exist for this very reason. I am hopeful that by following the protocol to protest the outcome of this game, something good can come from all of this," said Tucker, who had never protested a game in 24 years as the Blue Jays head coach.
The NCAA rule book, Section 9C, stipulates that "a goal is not scored when the ball enters the goal after the whistle has blown or the horn sounds."
Even if there's evidence that the shot was late, it's unclear if the league can retroactively overturn the result of a game. Big Ten officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Tucker filed the protest Thursday after the Blue Jays rallied from a 7-1 deficit to take a 9-8 lead with three minutes left in game, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.
"I felt compelled, given the situation, the video evidence, just knowing that it was physically impossible for a person to throw a ball that far in that amount of time, and I needed to fight for my team," she said.
Tucker said it was a difficult situation and not just for the Blue Jays.
"This was a very challenging situation for everyone involved, for the officials, for my team and for Northwestern, and that's not lost on me. There was a human element with respect to decisions that were made. For me, a lot of it is black and white — time was out, the horn had sounded, the ball hadn't crossed the goal line."
Ideally, video review would be the best option for being 100 percent sure in cases like this, Tucker said, but that's not possible because not all games are televised or streamed.
"In the end, this was a hard-fought game between two great teams and I'm hopeful this will spark some healthy discussion for the good of the growth of women's lacrosse," she said.