On The Hop Nation/Lacrossewear 12, The Cage Goes All Out 8
It was almost déjà vu at the Lacrosse Vail Shootout, but this time around On The Hop Nation / Lacrosswear went home with the hardware, edging out defending champion The Cage Goes All Out.
The two teams faced off last year in the men’s elite finals game with The Cage Goes All Out winning in a thrilling double-overtime game.
On Sunday though, after jumping out to an early lead, Lacrosswear was able to hang on, winning, 12-8.
Lacrosswear got on the board first with early goals from attack men Anthony Biscardi and Deemer Class. After a slashing penalty, The Cage Goes All Out took advantage of the man-up situation and Billy Ward found twine. But Lacrossewear midfielder Ryan Tucker got the goal back just 30 seconds later to put his team up, 3-1, after the first quarter.
In the second frame, the two teams traded goals with neither team scoring more than two goals in a row. The Cage Goes All Out found the net twice early, evening the score at 3-3. Then Class found himself with a clear look again after a dish from Steve Romano, and put the ball in to give Lacrossewear the edge again.
Next, The Cage Goes All Out’s Kevin Wylie netted a goal to even the score, but just seven seconds later, Kevin Massa of Lacrossewear won the face off and took the ball down the field for a quick score.
The Cage Goes All Out scored the next two goals, and then Lacrossewear’s Nick Mariano took over.
Mariano evened the score at six goals apiece with just under two minutes to go in the half, and then, got another shot to go with less than two seconds to go in the frame to send Lacrossewear into the half up by one. Mariano wasn’t done though; he kicked off the third quarter with his third goal of the game to complete the hat trick.
“I was just put in a good opportunity to finish the ball,” Mariano said. “That’s why I’m on the team, just to finish the ball and look for my open opportunities and just score. I had good shots on goal and luckily they went in.”
Lacrosswear’s Ryan Brown fired a goal in off of a Ryan Tucker assist to put his squad up, 9-6, giving it its largest lead of the game up until that point. The Cage Goes All Out snagged one more goal before the frame’s final whistle to set the stage for the fourth quarter with Lacrossewear leading, 9-7.
Defenses dominated the first half of the fourth, but Lacrossewear finally broke out with goals from Romar Dennis, Class and TJ Neubauer. Ward got a goal for The Cage Goes All Out late, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Lacrossewear.
“The guys did a great job today,” said Lacrossewear head coach Paul Landaiche. “They really played well. They’ve been very consistent all week in how they’ve played. A lot of times out here it’s matchups, so we really didn’t know until we got near the game exactly how it was going to play out, and Nick and Anthony both on attack did really, really well today matching up so we kept them in there.”
Landaiche isn’t starting to think about next year’s tournament just yet.
“I’m only thinking now how I’m going to get that big trophy through security,” he said.
But tournament organizers are already getting exciting for the 2015 Vail Lacrosse Shootout. The tournament will return to the mountain town in full force June 27-July 5, 2015. Next year’s tournament will feature four more divisions as the Shootout returns to its typical eight-division setup.
The tournament will also feature a new and improved complex at Ford Field in 2015 which while will provide multiple fields in one location and increased convenience for players and fans.
“The scenery is magnificent,” said Team Australia head coach Glenn Merit who participated in his first Vail Lacrosse Shootout this year. “The people are terrific. The place is fantastic. I can’t believe I haven’t been here before.”