Go Fast holds off late Lax Grip charge
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL ” Overcoming a three-goal deficit in lacrosse isn’t impossible, especially with plenty of time.
But when Doc Schneider is in between the pipes, a three goals may as well be 10.
Schneider, the Go Fast goalie, had another stellar game Wednesday, helping his team earn its first title in the Vail Lacrosse Shootout as they held on to beat Lax Grip, 7-6, in the finals at Ford Field in Vail.
“Doc was unbelievable this whole tourney,” said Go Fast coach Jon Barocas. “It takes the support of the team, but when that ball gets shot, I don’t think I’d rather have anybody in the goal.”
Schneider, who was named the tournament MVP, had several big saves early in the game, and a few clutch stops late to foil Lax Grip’s come-from-behind bid.
“They are a very tough team, and great competitors, but we played well,” said Schneider, who led the University of Massachusetts to the NCAA Division I finals his freshman year. “I was seeing the ball well because my defense was playing well in front of me.”
At the other end of the field, Lax Grip goalie Chris Sanderson came up with some spectacular stops to give his team a chance to upset the No. 1 seed Go Fast.
“That’s what you can do as a goalie ” you have to make the saves to change the momentum,” Sanderson said. “We had a couple of (goals) late, but just didn’t have enough time left.”
After Go Fast scored a late goal in the third quarter to take a 5-4 lead, Lax Grip took three consecutive penalties early in the fourth quarter, and Go Fast’s Michael Donegar netted back-to-back tallies on the advantage to extend the lead to 7-4 with 9:16 left in the game.
Less than two minutes later, Lax Grip began its rally when Andrew Wasik scored his fourth goal of the game. Then, with just under three minutes to go, Lax Grip’s Pack Janes ripped a fancy shot from the right side of the cage to pull his team within one.
“I knew they were coming back,” Barocas said. “They are not a team that just gives up.”
With one minute to go, Sanderson made a save and Lax Grip called a timeout. After a clear, Lax Grip held the ball at midfield and Go Fast sent a double team of defender Matt Nader and defensive midfielder Kevin Unterstein to ride the ball carrier.
Before Lax Grip had a chance to bring the ball into the box, Unterstein stripped the ball, and following a timeout, Go Fast held the ball until time expired.
“I went over and I almost had it the first time,” Unterstein said. “The (Lax Grip midfielder) went around and I just threw (the stick check). I did that against (Team 21 in the semifinals) and came no where near it, but I said, ‘Why not,’ and it worked.”
Sanderson, who also coached the Lax Grip team, was proud of the effort his No. 11-seed team gave.
“I think we gave (Go Fast) a little more than they were expecting,” he said. “Look at our roster, we have high school players, Division III players and guys in their 30’s. We played them to a one-goal game. We’re pretty happy.”
Go Fast, which lost in the finals last year to Team Mammoth (the Canadian National Team), took a few measure to avoid any level of team fatigue.
“We were a little short on numbers last year ” we had 17 guys in the finals,” Barocas said. “This year I made sure we had enough guys. There was no way we were running out of guys.”
Go Fast had between 32-35 guys on the roster during the tournament.
For the second day in a row, Go Fast won a one-goal game.
“It was a good game, I enjoyed it,” said the highly-animated Barocas. “I get very emotional on the field. I’m pretty loud.”
Schneider’s best stops came late in the third quarter with his team down a man and the game tied at 4. After stuffing Wasik on a rifle of a shot, Schneider denied him again on a point-blank rebound.
Barocas tried to mask when his team had too many men on the field by quickly calling a timeout and sending his full squad onto the pitch. After the referee’s quick count confirmed the Lax Grip suspicion of the infraction, Barocas shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.