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Salmon survives scare: Colorado Rolls

Tom Winter
Josh Saunders of QC Lax and Jon Fallers of Harrow Team Colorado Thursday at Ford Field in Vail during the Vail/Avon Lacrosse shootout.
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On a hot afternoon at Ford Field, Team Merrill Lynch made this year’s Vail/Avon Lacrosse Shootout’s No. 1-seed, the Northwest Jammin’ Salmon, sweat it out.

Playing for the first time in Vail, Merrill Lynch held the Northwest powerhouse to a mere seven goals at the half, while notching up six themselves to put the heat on.

Bolstered by the stellar play of attackman Devan Spilker, Merrill Lynch made a surprising run at the Salmon. Spilker, the Division II College Player of the Year and a varsity player for Limestone College, the DII 2003 National Champions, racked up five goals and one assist in what would prove to be a futile effort as Merrill Lynch succumbed to the Salmon, 19-13.



“We expected a cupcake game,” said Jammin’ Salmon’s Joe Hope. “They had a lot of good, young college kids. I didn’t expect it to be so tough. They’re

fast.”



In fact, both teams showed quickness, as fast breaks kept the pace of action high. But despite an obvious speed advantage in the midfield, Merrill wasn’t able to capitalize.

“It was an up-tempo, exciting game,” said Spilker after the contest. “It’s great to be here, and there’s good competition. Being the 16th-seed, I think we surprised them.”

Spilker’s effort on the attack for Merrill Lynch was bolstered by the play of Luke Gilbert. Gilbert, a two-time All American and Inside Lacrosse Magazine player of the week racked up three goals and an assist.



The Salmon was led by attackman Dave Maguire who matched Spilker’s numbers with one assist and five goals. Fellow Salmon attackman Joe High scored a hat trick.

“We’ve got a great sponsor, 13 All Americans and a great group of guys,” Merrill Lynch coach P.J. Landaiche said after the loss. “It’s our first year here. We’ll be around for a long time. We’re going to win the consolation bracket.”

But while the Salmon struggled to contain the youth and speed of a surprisingly talented Merrill team, its depth and experience showed as the Northwesterners kept their composure through the close of the fourth quarter and earned the victory.

With a total of 21 former or current All Americans, the Salmon would seem to be the favorites here this year. But they will have to play much, much better if they are to avoid an early exit from the winners bracket.

While the Jammin’ Salmon was content to walk away with a hard-fought victory, hometown favorites Harrow Team Colorado took command early and never looked back as they trounced a clearly outclassed QC Lacrosse Club.

Colorado, the No. 2-seed of the tournament, racked up a impressive 24 -4 victory to serve notice that last year’s third place finisher must be considered a serious contender for this year’s title.

Led by a powerhouse offense which includes professional lacrosse standouts Bill Edell and Chad Wittmann. Colorado dominated QC Lacrosse. Particularly impressive was the attack unit, which looks to be one of the best in this year’s tourney. Led by Edell, who scored a game-high seven goals and an assist, Colorado kept QC’s defense off balance for the entire game.

Edell was joined by teammates Geff Snider who scored five goals and Adam Stifel, with four. QC Lacrosse’s Ben Sadler was the leading scorer for his team, with a total of two goals.

Thursday’s Games

Men’s Elite

NW Jammin’ Salmon 19, Team Merrill Lynch 13

Harrow Team Colorado 24, QC Lax 4

Lax.com/Team Mercury 17, Team Orvis 1

Team Warrior 17, LacrosseGiant.com 9

GMH 8, Bullets Lacrosse 3

Team Guttman 11,Team Fubar 6

Team Dulles 6, Rocky Mountain Oysters 5

Rock-It Pocket 12, MCLC 2

Friday Games

Championship Bracket

At Ford Field

Lax.com/Mercury vs. Guttman, 9 a.m.

Dulles vs. Harrow Team Colorado, 11 a.m.

NW Jammin’ Salmon vs. Rock-it Pocket, 1 p.m.

GMH vs. Warrior, 3 p.m.


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