FCA, For Love of Game Advance to U-15 Title Game
Midfielder Stephen Kelly and the FCA U-15 (Md.) boys meet For Love of the Game (N.Y.) in the championship game of the US Lacrosse U-15 National Championship at 2 p.m. today.
© Steve DeMeo
BEL AIR, Md. -- Teams from Long Island and Baltimore will meet in the championship game of the US Lacrosse U-15 Boys' National Championship, presented by Modell's Sporting Goods, at 2 p.m. today at Cedar Lane Sports Park.
Fifth-seeded FCA (Md./Calif.) used a dramatic comeback to upset top-seeded Next Level (Md.), 10-8, and seventh-seeded For Love of the Game (N.Y.) defeated 11th-seeded New England Select (Mass.), 8-1, in this morning's tournament semifinals.
FCA (Md./Calif.) 10, Next Level (Md.) 8
A goalie's circus-like goal and a defenseman's game-winner resonated in an unlikely comeback for fifth-seeded FCA (Md./Calif.), which upset top-seeded Next Level (Md.) 10-8 in the semifinals of the US Lacrosse U-15 Boys' National Championship.
Trailing 7-2 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, FCA mounted a furious rally with five unanswered goals. Goalie Brian Rasinski keyed the run with what will likely go down as this tournament's most talked about goal.
After making a save, Rasinski left the crease to rein in the rebound and started up field. He carried the ball coast-to-coast and into the corner of FCA's offensive end, beat a defenseman, absorbed a hit from an oncoming slide, dipped low and scored underhand on the nearside pipe to pull FCA within 7-6 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
"I turned on the jets down the field, the defense slid and I just tried to shoot it hard," said Rasinksi, who added seven saves in relief of starter Thomas McBride (12 saves).
FCA attackman Matt Verderamo capped the rally with the game-tying goal 15 seconds later.
The teams exchanged goals early in the fourth quarter, with goalies on both ends -- Next Level keepers Preston Anderson and Brandon Burke combined for 12 saves -- coming up big.
Following an FCA timeout with the score tied 8-8, defenseman Garrett Flannery received a clearing pass near midfield, went unmarked into the offensive end and ripped the game-winning goal with 1:55 remaining.
"Coach was saying to give it to a middy, but no one picked me up," said Flannery, who also held Next Level's Bear Altemus without a goal. "I go with instinct."
Midfielders Nick Fisher and Nick Carpenter led Next Level with three goals apiece.
FCA meets seventh-seeded For Love of the Game (N.Y.) in the championship game at 2 p.m.
For Love of the Game (N.Y.) 8, NESLL (Mass.) 1
After scoring 15 goals in the quarterfinals, it took a little while For Love of the Game (N.Y.) to get going, but it did eventually to defeat New England Select 8-1 in the semifinal round of the US Lacrosse U-15 Boys' National Championship.
For Love scored just once in the first 18 minutes of the game before scoring two late in the first half, but its goalie, Daniel Marino, made four first-half saves, including three on the doorstep to blank NESLL in the first half.
"I think we were a little tight," said For Love of the Game coach Mike Winkoff of the slow early start, but he also pointed out the 9 a.m. start time for the semifinal. "These guys are 14 and 15 years old, it takes them a little while to wake up. They're hanging with their buddies in the hotel at night."
NESLL got on the board in the second half when Jake McLaughlin scored off a feed from Michael Herring less than two minutes into the third quarter, but they were shut out the rest of the way as For Love got its offense on track.
Liam Kennedy assisted on For Love's first goal and then scored two in the final 1:26 of the first half to pace his team's offense. Justin Guterding added two goals and middie Robert Savage had a goal while winning all five faceoffs he took.
NESLL goalies Greg Stamatov and Eric Dolan combined to make 11 saves.
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