Lax Grip, Mermen make a splash on Day 1
With apologies to the sport of golf, Day 1 of the Vail Lacrosse Shootout’s men’s elite division is moving day.
On Sunday, the contenders separated themselves from the pretenders, but not without a few first-day bracket-busters, due to some newcomers slotted as lower seeds.
Because it was making its first Shootout appearance, Lax Grip entered as the 11th seed, but had no problems in a so-called upset of No. 6 Tap Room/5,280, 12-4 at Freedom Park at Edwards.
“Long way to go,” Lax Grip’s Brad Brewster said. “This is a good team, but we’re working some things out.”
With a district Canadian flavor, including goalie Chris Sanderson from the Great White North’s National Team, Lax Grip dispatched Denver-based Tap Room/5,280, blowing open a 4-1 game at halftime with a six-goal third period.
Andrew Wasik and Brad Faveio each had two goals for Lax Grip.
“We had a good practice (Saturday),” Sanderson said. “We went for two hours to get to know one another. We had a shoot around this morning at 6 a.m. We’re trying to do all we can.”
No. 12 Mermen bounced the fifth-ranked Rocky Mountain Oysters, 10-4. Though new to the elite division, the members of Mermen are not new to the Shootout. A good portion of the Baltimore-based club is former members of the Baltimore Crabs, who won the boys’ high school championship last year and now are playing at Division I schools along the Atlantic seaboard.
Top-seed Go Fast bounced the Generals, 11-5. Led by coach Jon Barocas, Go Fast has finished second the last two years. With last year’s champion, Team Mammoth/Team Canada not in the field, Go Fast is looking to shed the bridesmaid label.
No. 2 Jammin’ Salmon, fresh off third last year, opened up with an 11-9 win against Black Seal. No. 3 Merrill Lynch, which has been making strides in the Shootout the last few years, had no problem with Brine Elite.
The Cornell crew of Team 21 knocked off Team Guttman, 13-7, while the Young Guns took care of IAS Team Breakaway, 15-10.
In the closest game of the day, Club All Stars, edged Dunn Financial, 6-5, on a late goal by Hunter Combs.
“I was blocked on one side,” Combs said. “I did a roll, took the shot and it was inside the pipe. I saw an opening and rolled back.
“We had a late player come. John Watts, he was huge. He really contributed. I’d say that’s what pulled us together.”
On the lighter side of things, both teams made fashion statements. Dunn Financial, apparently not knowing that Colorado is Broncos’ country, wore silver and black and the Oakland Raiders’ insignia. Meanwhile, The Club All Stars were wearing brown and blue argyles on their jerseys.
“We might not win many games,” team coach Mike Johnston said with a laugh, noting that his squad advanced to the winner’s bracket for the first time in 10 years. “But every year, we have the best jerseys.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
Men’s elite quarterfinals
All games at Ford Park
Merrill Lynch vs. Lax Grip, 8:30 a.m.
Young Guns vs. Jammin’ Salmon, 10:30 a.m.
Go Fast vs. Club All-Stars, 2:30 p.m.
Mermen vs. Team 21, 4:30 p.m.