For Issaquah High School junior Tyler Lucas, the highlight of the 2009 Sammamish Shootout happened in the playoff game against the team from Skyline.
The best part of the day, Lucas said, was “seeing Jake Fritz doing an around-the-world. He pretty much went behind the back, but the other way.”
The shot came as Fritz sprinted toward the 12-inch-wide goal with defenders in his face. He whipped the stick right-to-left across his body, behind his left shoulder. To their surprise, the ball hit the net for a goal.
“I was running down the left side and I just kind of did it,” Fritz said.
The goal helped Lucas’ and Fritz’s team, the Sonics, win its way to the Sammamish Shootout high school-level championship game July 3 at Pine Lake Middle School. The four-man, all-Issaquah High team eventually beat the Issaquah Eagles’ five-man team 8-4 to take the gold medal in the final. The win was Fritz’s third time winning the tournament.Hundreds of lacrosse players, coaches and their families from Washington, Oregon and Canada converged on the fields at Pine Lake Middle School to partake in the final major lacrosse tournament of the 2009 season. Unlike other area lacrosse tournaments, though, each of the 55 participating teams was comprised of three to five players, rather than a dozen or more, from various league teams. Players ranged the third- to 12th-grade levels. The playfields at Pine Lake were divided into 10 fields, thus optimizing the number of games played.
Other local teams performed well in the low-stakes, post-season tournament, too, but the 7/8 Chopsticks, made up of all Sammamish residents, earned a silver medal after going 5-1 in the Chumash-style contest. The four-man team lost to Bellevue 6-1 in the final.
“Just making it into the finals, that was a good achievement for us,” said eighth-grade Chopsticks attackman Nick Mauzy.
Mauzy, who played on a four-man squad, said playing six games — each about 30 minutes long — in one day in the 80-degree heat made for a challenging tournament. Many of the three-person teams dropped out quickly, due to lack of rest, he said.
The Native American Chumash-style play also takes more out of a player, because it’s faster paced. Unlike traditional lacrosse, with a larger, manned goal, Chumash lacrosse involves just three players per team and is played on a smaller field with an unmanned, approximately 6-foot-by-1-foot goal. The ball must hit the net to count and may not hit the goal’s posts.
“It’s definitely different. It’s a lot more fast-paced and a lot more movements. The ball’s going back and forth faster than in regular lacrosse,” Mauzy said. “It’s a good opportunity to increase skills for any level. It requires a lot of finesse shots and good stick skills.”
The Sammamish Shootout ran all day and hosted more teams than ever, according to event organizers. This year brought 13 more teams than last year’s 42. The female laxers also saw more competition than in 2008. Twenty-one teams competed this year over last year’s nine.
“It’s just been exploding,” said tournament director Eric Bean. “It’s really rewarding to see it expand as much as it has.”
Scoring on the narrow goal was tough, players said, but many of them spent extra time finessing their shots before the July 3 event. With fewer players on the field at once, teamwork was even more important at the shootout. Some said it helped to know their teammates well.
“All of us four are like really good friends and we all know each other really well, and we’ve played together for five years, so it all just kind of came together,” Lucas said.
Overall, the shootout served as extra experience for next year’s regular season competition, Mauzy said.
“I think it’s a very exciting tournament. It’s very challenging. They have some great teams,” he said. “It’s just something fun to do during the off-season. And it’s great that they can get so many teams to come down there. It’s pretty fun. A lot of competition.”