Baltimore Crabs roll to another Shootout crown
VAIL — It really is a Maryland thing.
While lacrosse started with the Iroquois in New York and Pennsylvania, the Old Line State calls the sport its own, and after the Vail Lacrosse Shootout U19 boys tournament, who’s to argue?
The Baltimore Crabs turned aside Team Colorado, 17-13, in Wednesday’s title game for their third straight Shootout crown and ninth championship in 10 years.
“It’s incredible,” Crabs attacker Louis Dubick said. “It’s Maryland lacrosse.”
And as a side note, the one year the Crabs didn’t win the Shootout, 2012, they weren’t at the tournament.
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“There’s a lot of pride,” Crabs coach Terry Moreland said. “There’s a lot of pride playing the game the right way. We play a lot of team lacrosse, and we like to share the ball. It’s important when we come out here.”
And paced by six goals from Dubick, who earned tournament MVP honors, Baltimore jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never relinquished the lead.
While they are from different parts of the country, both Baltimore and Team Colorado faced the same challenge coming into this year’s Shootout — taking the all-stars from different high schools and clubs and melding them into a unit.
Team Colorado boasted players from 10 different schools, including familiar names like Regis, Cherry Creek, Mountain Vista, Kent Denver, Heritage, Highlands Ranch, Wheat Ridge and Alexander Dawson.
Both coaches had the same approach — keep it simple.
“There’s basic lacrosse and fundamentals,” Moreland said. “All these kids have the fundamentals. Once they accept to play together as a team, you see what can happen. It’s really hard to do. It shows you how hard the kids play and what it means to us in this great atmosphere.”
In fact, Dubick felt he had been in a bit of a slump coming into Wednesday’s game because he’s surrounded by talented teammates.
“We’ve got so many good kids it’s hard to get touches,” he said. “When someone touches the ball, it’s usually going into the back of the net. Once you find a rhythm, it’s kind of easy to keep going. That’s good teammates and good coaching.”
And that was on display after Team Colorado notched the game’s first goal. The Crabs ran off four scores in 1:13 and were up 6-1 with 7:13 to go in the first quarter with a display of passing akin to the Harlem Globetrotters.
Team Colorado did the state proud, rallying in the second with four strikes to pull within 7-6.
“It’s the first time in about six years since we’ve been in the finals,” Team Colorado coach Jon Cohen said. “We’re really proud of these guys. … Lacrosse is a game of runs. They got out to a big lead, a 7-1 lead. We chipped away. They just didn’t make a lot of errors.”
Crabs’ midfielder Andrew Garstka stopped the run with a tally. It’s significant that a middie did that. One of the keys to Baltimore’s success was depth. The Crabs rotated through three midfield units keeping Baltimore fresh, particularly at 8,150 feet.
Dubick, who will attend the University of Maryland to play for the Terps, scored the next three, and the Crabs were up 11-7 at the break.
While the latest victim of Baltimore’s run at this tournament, Team Colorado could leave the Shootout proud of its accomplishments as the sport grows in the state.
“We want a wide representation of Colorado from Boulder down to (Colorado) Springs,” Cohen said. “I’d love to get some mountain kids, too. Each year, it gets bigger and bigger.”
The funniest moment of postgame was when Cohen referred to Alexander Dawson as a 4A school, as if the Mustangs needed clarification in their identity. Dawson eliminated Battle Mountain in the 4A state playoffs in May … Speaking of local lacrosse, Local Favorites, a squad of Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain School players, finished the Shootout with a 16-5 win over the Trojans on Wednesday morning.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.