AFTER DOMINATING MALIBU IN THE NORTH SEMI FINALS BEVERLY HILLS FALLS TO SOUTH CHAMPION SAN DIEGO
BUCKS FALL TO SAN DIEGO IN SCLAX FINALS
We knew going in that we hadn’t faced any competition during the year as tough as we were going to face today. We knew that we had the athletes…the skills and the drive to win the game. We hoped that San Diego’s triple overtime game the previous day would leave them a little tired today. The lack of competitive games this season turned out to be the one thing we could not overcome today as we left everything on the field.
San Diego jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the 9:15 mark of the first quarter. But we buckled down and played more of a possession game and with just twelve seconds showing on the clock Logan Soelberg swept behind the cage and fed Devin Maxwell off the right pipe. Devin didn’t disappoint as he went top left and the Bucks were on the board. For the first time this year we didn’t have our usual success at the faceoff X which actually carried through the first half. Morgan Weireter had five saves on twelve shots but San Diego pressured the Hills squad into six turnovers one of which was negated by a Griffin Perkiel takeaway.
Beverly Hills found their legs in the second quarter as Logan dished to Owen Larson at the 9:02 mark and Alex Dixon scored solo off a broken clear three minutes later. The Defense stiffened, the turnovers were cut in half and J D Johnson and Riley Lasda each pitched in with a takeaway. Matt Parham started to get his mojo back at the X, Morgan Weireter had four saves and the Beverly Hills squad was only down one going into the half.
San Diego jumped back into the scoring column with three quick scores while the Hills squad could not find the back of the net. New keeper Brad Brandenburg had four saves while he was peppered with nine shots. Riley Lasda had another takeaway and Matt Parham went 2-2 at the X but you can’t cut into a deficit if you don’t score and the quarter ended with San Diego up 7-3.
Despite being down and not playing their best lacrosse the Bucks hung in there and continued to fight. After San Diego scored at the 11:30 mark of the fourth giving them a five goal advantage George Pertessis answered with a solo rip from up top And Logan Soelberg scored off an Alex Dixon feed leaving the bucks down 8-5 with just under nine minutes left. The teams traded turnovers and as their hopes faded the Hills squad pulled their goalie and gave up an easy empty net score at the 1:10 mark. Final score San Diego nine Beverly Hills five.
It was a bitter end to a great season where the Bucks finished the season 7-1. The team pulled together as they always do and the only chatter you heard as the players were gathering their equipment and again at Oggy’s Sports bar where the team gathered to celebrate the season was unanimous. They were grateful for the season and they can’t wait to hit the field in the fall and start putting together a game plan for 2022.
Newport Beach has been the Bucks most serious rival in the SCLAX North Division over the years and we always looked forward to tight competitive games with them. Unfortunately they have had numbers problems this year and today was no different as they only had three players on the sidelines. They couldn’t keep up with the Hills squad frantic pace and as hard as they played and as talented as the Newport players were, it was never very competitive throughout the contest.
The first quarter scoring started with a solo drive by Eli Lasda off the left pipe three minutes into the game. Steve Brandenburg followed with a southpaw shot that had no visible angle from just above GLE less than a minute later. The Bucks continued to roll as Eli first went solo then scored again on a feed from Alex Jessup putting the Bucks up 4-0 halfway through the period. Just thirty six seconds later Eli fed Jack Vonarb and with just thirty seconds left in the quarter Owen Larson put one by the Newport netminder as the Hills squad ended the quarter up 6-0. The Buck’s defense was stingy yielding only one shot on goal; for Newport and Morgan Weireter was up to the task as he stopped it. Longpoles JD Johnson, Kevin Berlandi and Johnny Brasko all had takeaways as they neutralized the three Beverly Hills turnovers. Buck faceoff maven Jared Jacobs went five for six at the X.
Beverly Hills got sloppy in the second quarter as they committed six unforced turnovers. Newport also went four for four at the faceoff X but Sean Kane went solo from the wing at the 17:20 mark and then had a nice cross crease feed to Will McCance inside to add two more tallies to the Bucks ledger. Newport Beach answered with a ganja goal at the 4:20 mark as the Bucks took an 8-1 lead into halftime.
The third quarter got interesting as Beverly Hills got back into their scoring mode. Less than a minute into the period Steve Brandenburg scored from up top for his fourth goal of the afternoon. Newport answered with one goal but Eli took a nice feed from Steve Brandenburg for his fourth goal of the afternoon. Then, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to feed Steve Brandenburg and Will McCance with a bounce pass as the cut across the crease the LSM decided to take matters into his own hands and let one loose from the restraining line making it an eleven to two game halfway through the third. The teams traded goals late in the quarter as Newport put back a rebound off a Brad Brandenburg save and first half Buck keeper, long pole in hand scored from thirty yards. The faceoff combo of Matt Parham and Jared Jacobs went 6/7 at the X, Brad Brandenburg garnered two saves and JD Johnson, John Brasko each had a takeaway offsetting the three Beverly Hills third quarter turnovers.
Sean Kane started off the fourth quarter scoring at the 18:23 mark with a nifty feed to LSM Dustin Doty making Dustin the third Buck pole to score in the game. Jack Vonarb followed from up top for the third Hills hat trick of the afternoon. Steve Brandenburg continued the scoring run feeding Will McCance off the crease. After Newport answered with a transition goal at the 4:28 mark Griffen Perkiel became the fourth Buck pole to score in the game as he hit one from outside. Newport closed out the scoring with under two minutes left in the game but it was too little too late as the Beverly Hills squad walked off with a 16-5 victory and remained undefeated for the 23021 season. Brad Brandenburg had another nice quarter in the net saving six shots. The five Hills fourth quarter turnovers were countered with takeaways by Mark Bell, Kevin Berlandi and Dustin Doty.
As the SCLAX regular season starts to taper off with just two games remaining the Bucks will face their toughest two games of the season as they travel to Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego next week for an 11:00 faceoff against perennial South Division powerhouse 40 Thieves. Then two weeks later they will end their season hosting the San Diego Lacrosse Club at Mira Costa High School the week after Labor Day.
What do you get when all the big guns show up, play smart…..play fast and play with the love of the game bursting out of their helmets? You get a lopsided score and that’s exactly what happened Sunday when the Beverly Hills squad hosted Venice Lax at Mira Costa High School. Venice jumped out to an early lead about five and a half minutes into the game but that would be the last time they had an edge over the Bucks. Alex Jessup responded at the 10:18 mark with a blistering feed to Will McCance who snuck open at the crease. Eli Lasda followed two minutes later with a solo shot, Steve Brandenburg (the happiest guy on the field) followed with a feed to Logan Soelberg and Jack Vonarb went solo from the top of the box and the quarter ended with the Hills squad up 4-1. The Bucks limited their turnovers to two for the quarter, new Buck Matt Parham went 5-5 at the “X” against the legendary FOGO Ernie Melero, Morgan Weireter tallied two saves and Dustin Doty and Brock Livingston, riding like there was no tomorrow each had a take away.
The second quarter started like quarter number one ended with the Bucks rolling off four straight goals. Eli Lasda started it off at the 14:24 mark with a feed to Will McCance. Brock Livingston followed three minutes later with a feed to former Crespi mentee Alex Dixon and then doubled down with another assist as he found that sneaky Will McCance hiding off the crease who tallied his third consecutive hat trick for the season. Dustin Doty, clearing off another Weireter save found Will again halfway through the quarter to put the Bucks up 8-1. Finally Ernie Melero face dodged at the top of the box to stop the bleeding with 7:30 left in the quarter. The teams traded goals as Will McCance picked up his first assist of the evening with a feed from “X” to a cutting Brock Livingston for his first hat trick of the season. After Venice answered at the 5:10 mark Steve Brandenburg, smiling as always found Brock Livingston cutting to the cage twice and the Bucks took an 11-3 lead into halftime. Matt Parham, as always with help from short stick wing man Sean Kane and LSM Dustin Doty went 7-10 at the “X”. Some of the wins were clean but a lot of them found Kane on the ground scrapping for the ball AND coming up with it. The Bucks posted two turnovers in the quarter but they were negated by take-aways from long time Buck Johnny Brasko and Eli Lasda.
The first half of the third quarter saw the teams trading shots and turnovers but one of the highlight plays of the night added to the Hills squad lead as Morgan Weireter sent a long clearing pass off a save up field to Jack Vonarb who touched it over to Sean Kane off the right pipe. Sean immediately swung the pass over to who else…Will McCance for the first of four Bucks third quarter scores. Logan Soelberg, cutting off the right pipe followed with a behind the back cross crease pass to Sean Kane who dipped and dunked the shot into the goal. Sean followed with a solo shot at the 8:02 mark of the third and Alex Jessup went airborne to close out the scoring with a rocket from the top of the box. It was a 16-3 Buck lead at the end of the quarter. Matt Parham continued his dominance at the “X” going 4-5 and Mark Bell, JD Johnson and Riley Lasda posted take aways as the Beverly Hills squad lengthened their lead.
Steve Brandenburg started off the scoring in the fourth as he rolled solo off a dodge at the 16:33 mark to lengthen the lead. First year Buck Owen Larson followed with a solo dodge of his own and it was 18-3 Bucks. The teams traded scores as Sean Kane fed Brock Livingston for his fourth goal of the afternoon. Brock then followed with a feed to a cutting Steve Brandenburg for the Bucks final tally of the afternoon. Venice answered in the final minute but it was too little too late as the Bucks walked away with a 20-5 win. What was truly great about the win was how the Bucks spread out the scoring. Ten players scored…two with hat tricks. Out of the twenty tallies thirteen were assisted. The Buck defense only allowed eleven shots with Morgan Weireter stopping seven of them. And the Bucks broke seven Venice clearing attempts with fierce riding by whichever trio of attackmen and midfield line was on the field at the time. And ground balls? I should have kept stats as the Hills squad led by a down and dirty Sean Kane was everywhere contesting every ball that fell out of a Venice crosse.
But things are going to get a lot tougher from here as the Bucks will travel to ther North Division rival Newport Beach the week after Mother’s Day for a 1:00 face off at Vista Hermosa Sports Park. And the final two games of the regular season will pair the Hills Squad against the two dominant South Division powerhouses 40 Thieves and San Diego Lacrosse Club. Going to be some very competitive games coming up.
You never know how a season is going to pan out…..especially coming back from a pandemic 400 day layoff during which your players have scattered all over the country…… some players have moved away, some have retired and then there’s the new guys. How will they fit in? And what about the team you’re playing? Are they improved from two years ago when you swept them during the regular season? We are going to find out a lot about ourselves today.
The teams traded possessions for the first five minutes as both teams tried to maximize “touches” and let the game come to them. Unfortunately Newport found the back of the net first taking a 1-0 lead at the 15:07 mark of the first quarter. But the Bucks answered less than a minute later as Steve Brandenburg fed Brett Tietjen for the Hills squad’s first score of the new season. Newport answered less than two minutes later to take back the lead until Devin Maxwell went solo to tie the game at two’s halfway through the quarter. Jack Vonarb followed with another unassisted goal, Devin Maxwell fed new Buck Alex Dixon and Steve Brandenburg fed Eli Lasda putting the Bucks up 5-2 before Newport Beach scored a man up goal off a Bret Tietjen riding slash to close out the quarter. It was a great quarter for Jared Jacobs who went seven for nine at the “X”. Jack Vonarb and JD Johnson combined for three defensive takeaways and both teams kept their turnover numbers low at three per team. Both Buck goalies did well as Morgan Weireter garnered two saves while new Buck goalie Brad Brandenburg had four saves playing for Newport.
The second quarter scoring started with a Jack Vonarb assist to Will McCance who finally traded in his Johns Hopkins lid for an official Hill’s bucket. Three minutes later Will scored again on a feed from Sean Kane. Newport Beach slipped in a “Ganja Goal” at the 4:20 mark in the quarter but Devin spotted Will right off the left pipe and Will didn’t disappoint with a diving goal at the :02 mark as the Bucks walked into halftime with an 8-4 lead. McCance had his first “hat trick” as a Buck…….Was it the new helmet? I’m just saying! Dustin Doty pitched in with a takeaway, Jared went five for five at the “X” and Buck keeper Morgan Weireter had two more saves.
There were only two goals scored in quarter three as George Pertessis went solo at the 13:20 mark and Will McCance got his fourth goal of the afternoon off an Alex Jessup feed. The star of the quarter had to be Buck keeper who garnered six saves for Newport. Certainly a great addition to the roster.
The fourth & final period saw a lot of possession time by both teams. Finally with 5:36 left in the game Steve Brandenburg assisted Bret Tietjen for Bret’s second goal of the afternoon. George Pertessis went unassisted at the 4:20 mark for the second “Ganja Goal” of the afternoon. Devin Maxwell went solo to finish out the Buck’s scoring for the afternoon and with under a minute left Newport answered but it was too little too late as the Hills squad walked off with a 13-5 win.
Next week the Buck will take on the Malibu Lacrosse Club on the road. Game location and start will be posted soon.