Nor Cal Advances to USL Semifinals
by Brian Logue | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Joe Lang scored an extra-man goal in the fourth to seal Nor Cal's 4-2 win over Next Level in the quarters.
© Scott McCall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Defense may or may not win this championship, but if Nor Cal wins the US Lacrosse 2010 Boys' U-15 National Championship, it certainly will be because of defense. In five tournament victories, Nor Cal has allowed just a combined six goals. Nor Cal, only scored four in the quarterfinals, but the defense made that stand up in a 4-2 win over Next Level (Md.).
Nor Cal will be joined by No. 3 seed FCA (Md.), No. 4 seed For the Love of the Game (N.Y.) and No. 7 seed NESLL Black (Mass.) in the semifinals on Thursday morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The championship game is slated for Thursday at 12 noon.
"We've got a good defense and a good goalie," said Nor Cal coach Nick Mayle. "That team has been a nemesis for us. We beat them once in Vail and they beat us once."
Nor Cal finished third in that tournament, but has two earlier tournament wins – Palm Desert and the Adrenaline Challenge. Mayle said that 16 of his 23 players have played in five tournaments together this summer, helping the team to gel.
"That makes a big difference," said Mayle. "Coach (Mike) Emerson runs the defense and we've got some great slides."
Goalie Will Ernst made nine saves in the victory and Kodiak Adams and Sean Mayle each had a goal and an assist. Taylor Valencia and Mark Anstead each had a goal and an assist for Next Level.
Nor Cal will meet For the Love of the Game (FTLG) in the semifinals. FTLG, the runner-up at last year's US Lacrosse national championship, rallied from a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Greene Turtle (Md.) 9-8. Trailing 8-5 with 6:15 to play, FTLG got things going on a pair of goals by Tyler Warner to pull within one. Greene Turtle had the ball, but was forced out of the box to turn the ball over with 40 seconds left. FTLG's John Crawley muscled through two players below the goal line and tied it up 8-8 with 13 seconds left.
"We were very sloppy on offense," said FTLG coach Mike Winkoff. "We don't usually play as individuals, but we had some individual players step up. Crawley gutted out that tying goal."
Tim McDonagh then took the ensuing faceoff and won it going forward. He stuck a bounce shot with just five seconds left to deliver a 9-8 win for FTLG.
Crawley led FTLG with two goals and four assists and Warner had three goals. McDonagh had two goals, including the game-winner. Trey McGee led Greene Turtle with three goals and an assist and Louis Dubick had two goals and an assist.
"That was a great win and I'm happy for the kids," said Winkoff. "They get to play tomorrow and that was their goal. This is a great tournament."
Last year's champ, FCA, advanced to the final by hanging on to beat Denver Elite 11-10 in the quarterfinals. FCA had a 9-5 lead with just 5:30 remaining, but Denver Elite came roaring back. They pulled to with one three separate times, the last time on a man-up by Colton McCaffrey with 20 seconds to go. FCA was then able to win the faceoff thanks to a huge groundball from Leigh Hubler and ran out the clock.
Trevor Hodgins led FCA with three goals and three assists and Brendan Collins also had three goals. Pete Aplet had three goals for Denver and Hunter Thompson had two goals and two assists.
FCA will meet NESLL (Mass.) in the semifinals. NESLL ground out a 6-2 victory over second-seeded True Lacrosse (Ill.). Chris Baughan made nine saves and Michael Herring and Patrick Fraser each had a goal and an assist. Conor Walters and Will Mann each had a goal and an assist for True Lacrosse.
In the consolation bracket, Coast 2 Coast (Texas) beat Oregon Reign 13-6 and will meet up with the Florida Swashbucklers in the semifinals on Thursday morning. The Swashbucklers beat New Hampshire Lacrosse Foundation 13-3 behind three goals and two assists from Evan Deacon.
The other consolation semifinal will pit Dolphin Elite (Fla.) against the Grey Ghosts. Dolphin Elite beat the Miami Makos 22-3 behind five goals from Robert Foster. The Grey Ghosts advanced by edging the HouLA Guns 8-7.
Championship Bracket 1st round Games - Wednesday, July
No. 1 Nor Cal d. No. 16 Utah, 11-1
No. 9 Next Level (Md.) d. No. 8 Jersey Ridgers, 7-6
No. 4 For the Love of the Game (N.Y.) d. No. 13 Georgia, 12-3
No. 5 Greene Turtle (Md.) d. No. 12 Long Island Outlaws, 9-5
No. 2 True Lacrosse (Ill.) d. No. 15 Team Jersey, 8-7
No. 7 NESLL Black (Mass.) d. No. 10 Virginia LC, 13-8
No. 3 FCA (Md.) d. No. 14 Florida Elite, 16-6
No. 6 Denver Elite d. No. 11 No-Excuse (Tenn.), 12-9
Championship Quarterfinals - Wednesday, July
No. 1 Nor Cal d. No. 9 Next Level (Md.), 4-2
No. 4 For the Love of the Game (N.Y.) d. No. 5 Greene Turtle (Md.), 9-8
No. 7 NESLL Black (Mass.) d. No. 2 True Lacrosse (Ill.), 6-3
No. 3 FCA (Md.) d. No. 6 Denver Elite, 11-10
Consolation First Round - Wednesday, July
No. 24 Miami Makos d. No. 25 St. Paul's Wolves (La.), 8-6
Consolation Quarterfinals - Wednesday, July
No. 18 Coast 2 Coast (Texas) d. No. 23 Oregon, 13-6
No. 19 Florida Swashbuckers d. No. 22 New Hampshire, 13-3
No. 17 Dolphin Elite (Fla.) d. No. 24 Miami Makos, 22-3
No. 20 Grey Ghosts (Mass.) d. No. 21 HouLA Guns (Texas), 8-7
Championship Semifinals – Thursday, July
No. 1 Nor Cal vs. No. 4 For the Love of the Game (N.Y.), 8 am
No. 3 FCA (Md.) vs. No. 7 NESLL Black (Mass.), 8 am
Championship Game – Thursday, July 22
No. 1/4 vs. No. 3/7, 12 noon
Consolation Semifinals – Thursday, July
No. 17 Dolphin Elite (Fla.) vs. No. 20 Grey Ghosts (Mass.), 8 am
No. 18 Coast 2 Coast (Texas) vs. No. 19 Florida Swashbucklers, 8 am
No. 17/20 vs. No. 18/19, 11 am
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