Four Corners: Calif., Fla., Join Md., N.Y. in US Lacrosse U15 Semifinals
Midfielder Connor McNeill of Norcal Talon gets free against Blue Devil Elite in a 5-3 win for the Californians in the quarterfinals of the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited. Norcal Talon returns to the semifinals for a third straight year, joining teams from Maryland, New York and Florida.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Teams from Maryland, New York, California and Florida today advanced to the semifinals of the US Lacrosse Boys' U15 National Championship, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The new four corners of the lacrosse world, perhaps.
No. 11 seed Norcal Talon (Calif.) used a stifling defense to shut down No. 3 seed Blue Devil Elite, 5-3, to join No. 1 seed FCA (Md.), No. 2 seed Long Island Express, and No. 13 seed Florida as quarterfinal winners, blending the sport's establishment and developing areas in a final four that begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow. FCA will meet Florida, and Norcal Talon, a semifinalist for the third straight year, will play the Express.
"This is a big achievement for us, because we have a lot of younger kids," said Norcal Talon coach Ted Spencer, who's been to each of the program's three semifinal berths and is working with a new roster this year. "There is tradition here. The kids wanted to be there in the end for that reason. We don't want to take a step down. To go back to the semifinals for the third year in a row is tremendous. We'd love to get past that, and that's the goal."
To get back to the semis, Norcal Talon needed to find a way to slow down Blue Devil Elite's Zach Crotty and Jesse Foertmeyer, who combined for five goals in 6-2 win over Norcal Talon in pool play yesterday and for seven goals in a 10-4 beating of No. 19 seed Long Island Outlaws (N.Y.) in the second round. Norcal Talon long poles Tyler Maddalon, Jarrett Jones and Arend Boekmate were up to the task. Aided by eight saves from Philip Goss, they held the potent duo to three goals.
"Yesterday we found out that [Foertmeyer] liked the sweep a lot, so made sure to press out and force him back to his left hand," Boekmate said. "We didn't let him get the right-handed sweep that he wanted. He still got a few goals, but that was what helped us keep him down today."
Foertmeyer's second goal, on assist from Riley Smith, converted a man-up opportunity that brought Blue Devil Elite to within 4-3 at the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter. But a save by Goss got the ball back for Norcal, and Sean O'Keefe (2g, 1a) fed Wiley Bonham for the clincher at 3:23. With the clock winding under 2 minutes, Trenton Shore withstood several slashes by Blue Devil Elite, and Norcal Talon finished the win while man-up.
The narrow win marked Norcal Talon's second revenge win, as it eliminated the No. 6 seed Long Island Jesters in overtime, 6-5, in the second round. Shore fed Brook Rideau (3g), who scored on a tough-angle shot from the left side to help Norcal Talon avenge a 9-8 loss to the Jesters in last year's semifinals.
"Our tradition means a lot," Maddalon said. "I remember when the Talon lost to the Jesters last year, so it felt good to knock them out. Hopefully we'll take it strong right until the end."
In another revenge game, the Express eliminated defending national champion and No. 10 seed For the Love of the Game (N.Y.), 9-6, in the latest renewal of a Long Island club lacrosse rivalry. John Daniggelis scored his third goal of the game 69 seconds into the fourth quarter to break a 6-6 tie. Joe Licciardi had two assists in the quarter, and Express held FLG without a goal in the final frame in avenging a loss in last year's semifinals. Joe McGuigan made six saves in his second-half duty, as Express survived a hat trick by Connor Toes.
"This game couldn't have been more competitive," Express coach Mike Schwalje said. "A few of our shots fell, and a few of theirs didn't. If we play 10 times, every time could be a loss or a win. I was proud of the kids. They played hard. It's a big rivalry. We get to play tomorrow."
Two-time event champion FCA scored four goals in the final two minutes of the first quarter to break open a one-goal game and went on to a 17-3 victory over No. 9 seed Looney's (Md.). Three of the goals came in a span of just 34 seconds, with two of those coming from Timmy Kelly. Grant Ament paced the FCA offense with four goals and two assists and Henry Grass also had four goals. A.J. Barretto played the first half in goal for FCA and made six saves while allowing just two goals. Blake Gray had two goals for Looneys and Ryan Conrad had a goal and an assist.
Team Florida used a relentless pressure defense to force a number of turnovers and defeated No. 13 seed NESLL, 10-2. Joe Kissick made six saves for Florida and Zach Smith paced a balanced offense with two goals and an assist. Keith Mahler and Addison Lutes also added two goals and Parker Giarratana had two assists. Billy Philpott paced NESLL with a goal and an assist.
SCORES FROM SATURDAY, JULY 28
No. 1 FCA 17, No. 9 Looney's 3
No. 2 LI Express 9, No. 10 FLG 6
No. 11 Norcal Talon 5, No. 3 Blue Devil Elite 3
No. 13 Florida 10, No. 5 NESLL 2
No. 13 Florida 10, No. 4 DH Lax Elite 9
No. 5 NESLL 6, No. 12 Dukes HHH 2
No. 3 Blue Devil Elite 10, No. 19 Long Island Outlaws 4
No. 11 Norcal Talon 6, No. 6 Long Island Jesters 5 (ot)
No. 1 FCA 13, No 17 3d Select 7
No. 9 Looney's 15, No. 8 No Limit Ballers 2
No. 2 Long Island Express 10, No. 15 Florida Swashbucklers 1
No. 10 For the Love of the Game 10, No. 7 Colorado 3
No. 13 Florida 15, No. 20 Atlanta Coyotes 10
No. 12 Dukes HHH 8, No. 21 Norcal Platinum 3
No. 19 Long Island Outlaws 8, No. 14 Illinois United/Team One 7 (ot)
No. 11 Norcal Talon 10, No. 22 Orlando 1
No. 17 3d Select 8, No. 16 Utah 2
No. 9 Looney's 21, No. 24 Norcal Blue 0
No. 8 No Limit Ballers 16, No. 25 Palm Beach Storm 1
No. 15 Florida Swashbucklers 9, No. 18 Bamalax 8 (ot)
No. 10 For the Love of the Game 12, No. 23 Minnesota 1
No. 7 Colorado 16, No. 26 Jacksonville 2
Norcal Platinum 6, Atlanta Coyotes 2
No Limit Ballers 6, Colorado 5
DH Elite 9, LI Outlaws 3
LI Jesters 6, Dukes HHH 5 (ot)
3d Select 17, Florida Swashbucklers 2
Minnesota 10, Bamalax 5
Atlanta Coyotes 11, Illinois United/Team One 4
Norcal Platinum 10, Orlando 8
Minnesota 5, Norcal Blue 4
Palm Beach Storm 7, Jacksonville 1
Bamalax 8, Utah 7
SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 29
No. 1 FCA vs. No. 13 Florida, 8 a.m.
No. 2 Long Island Express vs. No. 11 Nor Cal Talon, 8 a.m.
Semifinal winners, 12 noon
THIRD PLACE GAME
Semifinal losers, 11 a.m.
Minnesota vs. Palm Beach Storm, 8 am.
Utah vs. Nor Cal Blue, 8 a.m.
Illinois United/Team One vs. Lacrosse Club Orlando, 8 a.m.
Bamalax vs. Atlanta Coyotes, 8 a.m.
3d Select National vs. DH Lax Elite, 9:30 a.m.
No Limit Ballers vs. Long Island Jesters, 9:30 a.m.
Florida Swashbucklers vs. Long Island Outlaws, 9:30 a.m.
Colorado vs. Dukes HHH, 9:30 a.m.
Looney's vs. For the Love of the Game, 9:30 a.m.
NESLL vs. Blue Devil Elite, 9:30 a.m.
Nor Cal Platinum vs. Minnesota/Palm Beach Storm winner, 11 a.m.
Jacksonville Lacrosse Club vs. Illinois Unted/Orlando winner, 11 a.m.