OT Thrillers, Sweep Cap US Lacrosse Central Championships
|Players from Special Forces
(Mich.) celebrate their 10-9 overtime win over the Dane County
(Wis.) Coyotes in the U15 boys' final at the US Lacrosse Central
VERONA, Wis. – A pair of overtime games on the boys' side and two one-sided contests on the girls' side signaled the end of the US Lacrosse Central Championships as four champions were crowned on Sunday at Reddan Soccer Park in south central Wisconsin.
The first title game of the day matched the undefeated Dane County (Wis.) Coyotes against Special Forces (Mich.) in U15 play. A back-and-forth affair saw Special Forces jump out to an early 4-1 lead before the Coyotes fought back to tie the game at 5 heading into halftime.
Both teams tallied one goal in the third quarter before Special Forces opened the final frame on a 3-0 run. Travis Barr punctuated the run after a great face dodge, putting the team from Ann Arbor up 9-6 with about five minutes left in regulation.
The hometown Coyotes would not go quietly, however, mounting a charge with three unanswered goals over the final four minutes. Connor Finnegan went coast-to-coast, finishing left-handed after a nifty roll dodge to send the game into overtime tied 9-9.
The momentum would quickly shift again as Special Forces attackman Dylan Day, son of head coach Corbett Day, ended the game midway through the four-minute overtime period. Day started his dodge from behind the cage, executed a textbook inside roll and buried a shot into the back of the net to give Special Forces a 10-9 win and the U15 Boys title.
About 15 minutes later on the same field, the U13 Boys championship game pitted another local team, the War Eagles (Wis.) against the Prior Lake Lakers (Minn.) in a rematch of a game Saturday that saw the Lakers prevail, 3-1. Another low-scoring affair on Sunday had Prior Lake leading 1-0 after the first quarter and 3-0 at halftime.
Things started to change on the opening faceoff of the second half as the War Eagles' Nathan Kapp won the draw, sprinted down the middle of the field and fired a long-range shot to get the local team on the board. That would be the only goal by either team in the third quarter.
The War Eagles cut the deficit to one goal in the opening minute of the fourth quarter as they cashed in on a man-up opportunity that had carried over from the previous quarter. Prior Lake maintained its one-goal lead until Kapp struck again, intercepting a clearing pass, executing a nifty split dodge and tying the game late in the fourth with a left-handed goal.
In overtime, a key man-ball play executed by Sean Sullivan and Ayden Henderson allowed Sullivan to scoop a ground ball near the sideline. Sullivan then sprinted to the middle of the field and uncorked a shot that just trickled in after Lakers' goalie Jaeden King, who played a tremendous game, got a piece of it, giving the War Eagles the gold medal.
The War Eagles defense, led by goalie Derek Pawlak and defenseman Ryan Reed, was tremendous, shutting out Prior Lake after halftime. Pawlak came up with some big saves in the fourth quarter to keep the War Eagles within striking distance. Replays of both boys' championship games can be downloaded from the US Lacrosse channel on CoachesAid.com.
While lacking the drama of the boys' finals, the girls' finals did have familiarity on their side as both championships games pitted Michigan Select against the Detroit Coyotes.
In the U13 Girls final, both teams entered the game undefeated and having outscored their opponents by more than 30 goals each over the course of the tournament. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, Michigan Select jumped out to an early lead and was never really threatened, taking the crown with an 18-6 victory.
It was much the same story in the U15 Girls title game. Both teams had rolled through the tournament with perfect 6-0 records, Michigan Select having beaten its opponents by a combined 83-18 and the Detroit Coyotes outscoring its foes 89-26. Again, Michigan started quickly, leading 9-4 at halftime. The same score in the second half led to an 18-8 win for Michigan Select and a clean sweep of the U13 and U15 Girls divisions.
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