As the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives nobody is immune. All scholastic, collegiate and professional sports have been forced to shut down and the SCLAX post collegiate men’s league is no exception. We shut down play the week of March 8th and have had several league meetings about what we can do to salvage the season.
Our latest plan centers on changing our format for this season only in the hopes that we can restart in early September as a one division league instead of the usual North & South divisional format. With each team having played three games before shutdown we have created a new four game schedule in which each team will play every team in the league that it hasn’t previously played. That will leave us with a balanced seven game schedule where every team has played every team in the league once. All games for the remainder of the season that involve long travel are slated to be played at the Great Park in Irvine. If permits for the Great Park are not secured those games will default to the original home team site. Playoffs will start on October 11th. We will take the top four teams regardless of previous division and have the one seed host the four seed and the two seed host the three seed in this winner’s bracket. Additionally the remaining four teams will be seeded into a consolation bracket. The following weekend the two semifinal winners will play for the SCLAX Championship with a nominal South Division team hosting.
Normally the SCLAX Champion will play the winner of the NORCAL post collegiate league. If it can be scheduled the NORCAL team will host. The amended schedule for the remainder of the season is now posted on the sclax.net website.
BUCKS TAKE SOUTH RIVAL 40 THIEVES IN OVERTIME THRILLER
Everyone on the team knew this was going to be a tough game. We knew that in spite of overpowering our opponents in the first two games of the season this was going to be the game that told us how good we were and what we needed to do to get better. We had played this team close over the past ten years…..losing some…..winning some and every game was close featuring small leads and big comebacks and this game was no different.
The first quarter was a little sloppy with the teams feeling each other out and trying to get into a rhythm. But at the 15:45 mark the Thieves finally scored on a rebound of a Morgan Weireter save and it was “Game On”. The teams traded turnovers and short possessions for the next five minutes until Jack Vonarb went solo down the right side and tied the score at one apiece. But the Bucks continued their sloppy play while the Thieves got it together and rattled off four straight goals to go up 5-1 but with just .33 left on the clock James Burton scored with an off crease dodge as the quarter ended with the Thieves up 5-2. The good news? Buck FOGO Jared Jacobs went 4-6 at the “X”. J D Johnson and Eli Lasda each had a takeaway to counter the seven Buck turnovers in the quarter. But nobody was panicking as Buck Coach Eric Baker went over some adjustments with the team.
The Thieves led off the second quarter scoring at the 13:40 mark stretching their lead back to four goals but Brock Livingston answered going solo off the right pipe a minute later. Then with 9:12 remaining in the quarter Brock found Eli Lasda with his hands free and fed him for the score. It was now just a two goal game but with 6:16 left in the half the Thieves answered again as they walked into halftime with a 7-4 lead. Buck netminder saved three shots, Jared Jacobs went 4-4 at the “X” and the Hills squad cut their turnovers in half. J D Johnson added his second takeaway of the game and Mark Bell added his first.
The Thieves stretched their lead out to four goals just 2:20 into the third quarter but things changed dramatically seven minutes later as Sean Kane fed James Burton for his second score of the game. It seemed like the Thieves may have started to tire a little as ground balls and possession time started to go the Bucks way. With 4:40 left Brock Livingston found LSM Johnny Brasko breaking off a clear and Johnny did not disappoint as he fired from downtown to make it a two goal game. Eli Lasda followed with a feed to Jack Vonarb and the Bucks closed out the quarter trailing by one goal down 8-7. Once again Jared was undefeated at the “X” going 5-5 but the big story was the Buck goalie Morgan Weireter as he made spectacular save after save garnering seven in the quarter with two of them diving off stick side and two one on one. New Buck Grant Firestone had a takeaway and the Bucks limited their turnovers to just one in the period……possession is king!
Going into the final quarter down by just one goal the Hills squad felt good considering they were down four at the beginning of the third. Both teams were cautious with the ball as they tried to avoid a costly mistake but with just 12:32 remaining on the clock home field coach Devin Maxwell found Brock Livingston free and fed him for the game tying score. The teams were knotted at eight apiece. But the Thieves weren’t done as an attackman scored on an inside roll to retake the lead with 10:00 showing on the clock. There was still half a quarter to play and the Bucks remained confident. And with exactly three minutes left in the game Devin Maxwell spotted Mikey Doneger up top and Mike did not disappoint as he rocketed a shot into the back of the net for the final score of regulation as the teams were tied 9-98. Faceoffs were split at two apiece for the quarter as Morgan Weireter continued his outrageous play in the cage netting seven more saves while giving up just one goal. Both teams took care of the ball as possession really mattered.
Overtime started with a huge Beverly Hills clean faceoff win and a quick thinking Eric Baker called for a timeout to get the right offence onto the field. The Bucks couldn’t score off the timeout and Morgan had to make two more saves before “the other Lasda” Riley took the ball away from a Thieves carrier and pushed the ball quickly up the field to Devin Maxwell. Devin drove toward the right pipe and shoveled an awkward pass to Mikey Doneger who was cutting off the crease. Mikey had to dive for the pass but he controlled it right off the crease and quicksticked it past the Thieves keeper for the win as the Bucks walked off the field with a 10-9 victory.
The Bucks will travel to Newport Beach next Sunday for an 11:00 matchup with their traditional North Division rival.
The first game of the season is always a crapshoot……you’ve lost some guys from the previous season……..you’ve added some new players……………and who knows what’s going on with the team you are playing? Well we certainly lost some talent but for the first time in a few years the Bucks definitely got younger with the addition of the Lasda brothers Eli & Riley from U of Albany, Grant Firestone from Haverford College, James Burton from Salisbury, Dann Carr from Lehigh University and Adam Lynne from Bucknell University. It’s early but some of the veterans on the team think this may be the best team that the Bucks have assembled since our first trip to the State Championships in 2011…….only time will tell.
But it certainly didn’t take long for the “new guys” to contribute as James Burton hit the back of the net less than a minute into the game going solo at the right pipe. Eli Lasda followed five minutes later and at the 10:14 mark Adam Lynne fed a Steve Brandenburg cutting off the crease and the Bucks were up 3-0. Venice answered with 6:15 left in the quarter but Beverly Hills rattled off two more goals when Adam Lynne fed Brett Tietjen on the left post and again when Brett Tietjen circled behind the cage and fired a backhand shot past the Venice keeper. Venice retaliated with just eight ticks left on the clock and the Bucks lead 5-2 after one. Going against one of the best faceoff guys in the North Division, Ernie Melero close defender Mark Bell held his own in the absence of Buck FOGO Jared Jacobs going three for eight at the “X” in the quarter. Starting keeper Morgan Weireter had seven saves and Kevin Berlandi had a takeaway which all contributed to the three goal differential.
Culver City High School coach started off the second quarter scoring at the 17:34 mark with a shot from up top. Adam Lynne, James Burton and Brock Livingston all followed with solo shots and the Buck advantage moved to 9-2 at the 7:13 mark of the second. Venice scored a minute later But Adam Lynne went solo again and Mikey Doneger closed out the half with a wraparound worm burner at the 1:02 mark giving the Beverly Hills squad an 11-3 lead going into halftime. The Buck defenders wreaked havoc on the Venice squad causing six turnovers while at the same time not allowing the Venice shooters to get their hands free to shoot. The Bucks limited their turnovers to two for the quarter one of which was canceled by a Riley Lasda takeaway.
The third quarter belonged completely to the Hills squad. Steve Brandenburg started off with a solo shot 53 seconds into the quarter and again at the 15:34 mark on a feed from Adam Lynne. Brett Tietjen followed with a shot from downtown, Eli Lasda got in close with a double face dodge, Adam Lynne scored off a clear and Eli fed Brock Livingston at the 2:38 mark to end the third quarter scoring as the Bucks’ lead ballooned to 17-3. First half netminder Morgan Weireter was replaced in goal by New Buck Dan Carr who went unscored upon with three saves in the period. Morgan moved over to the faceoff “X” and went three for seven….damn good.
Mikey Doneger fed Brock Livingston to start off the fourth quarter scoring at the 18:10 mark. Great to have Brock back on the field after his 2019 sabbatical. Venice answered with a one on one matchup with Dan Carr but Devin Maxwell went solo off a face dodge and James Burton fed Will McCance leaving the Bucks up 20-4 with nine left in the game. Venice “found their groove” netting two scores toward the end of the quarter but it was too little too late at Beverly Hills walked off with a 20-6 win on opening day.
All the favorites won in both the North & South SCLAX Divisions on opening day. Next Sunday the Bucks will host the Malibu Lacrosse Club at Culver City High School. The game will faceoff at 1:30.
It was supposed to be a four team offseason tournament but after BUKU and Newport Beach dropped out at the last minute it turned into a two hour contest between a very good MCLA team and the 2019 SCLAX North Division Champions.
The Hills squad was light at midfield and missing their starting FOGO but mixing in a deep attack group with a solid midfield group proved to be the secret ingredient to a successful afternoon. And the deep long pole squad allowed Mark Bell to move to the faceoff “X” and he did not disappoint with a winning combination of speed, strength and technique.
Concordia University got on the board first just two minutes into the game Andrew White got the Bucks evat at 1’s two minutes later with a solo drive off the crease. Concordia doubled down inside to retake the lead halfway through quarter number one but Steve Brandenburg dodged into the lane a few minutes later for the final score of the quarter leaving the game tied at 2’s after one. Morgan Weireter tallied two saves in the period and Mark Bell took two out of five faceoffs. Both team’s offences were crippled by turnovers in the quarter but takeaways by J D Johnson and Mark Bell helped get some possession time back for the Bucks.
Andrew White started off the second quarter scoring with a behind the back feed to a cutting Billy Hedges to put the Bucks up by one. Devin Maxwell followed with a feed to Steve Brandenburg for his second score of the afternoon as the Bucks jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Concordia answered with the next two goals leaving the game tied at four but Dustin Doty picked up a ground ball off a Weireter save and ran the ball over the midfield line and fired from “downtown” putting Beverly Hills up 5-4 at the half. Mark Bell stepped it up and took half of the second quarter faceoffs, Morgan Weireter added three saves one of which was Sports Center worthy and the Bucks cut their turnovers in half.
Devin Maxwell fed Steve Brandenburg from up top for the Buck’s first third quarter score giving Steve a “hat trick” for the afternoon. Steve followed with a feed to Sean Reilly as Beverly Hills built a 7-4 lead but after a simultaneous unsportsmanlike conduct foul sent off one player from each team Concordia found the back of the net and cut their deficit to two goals. A few minutes later they scored again and the third quarter ended with the Bucks ahead by only one goal 7-6. Mark Bell pitched in with three faceoff wins out of five, the Hills squad cut down their turnovers again and Sean Reilly’s takeaway gave Beverly Hills an extra possession.
Clinging to one goal leas every possession was critical and after a Concordia shot went wide Buck defenseman Sean Crane hustles to the end line giving his team the ball. Sean transitioned the ball upfield eventually winding up in Steve Brandenburg’s crosse. Steve took the shot and although the Concordia keeper stopped it he couldn’t hold onto it. It deflected to Andrew White who was in the right place at the right time and the Hills lead increased to 8-6. Alex Jessup followed with a shot from way downtown which snuck under the crossbar giving Beverly Hills a 9-6 lead with under four minutes to play. Concordia scored again but it was too little too late and Beverly Hills walked away with a 9-7 win.
The Bucks will look to get in a couple more preseason games including their annual faceoff against UCSB.