Schneider, Romero put Go Fast in finals
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL ” Team 21 coach/player David Coors really wanted Rocco Romero on his squad for this year’s Vail Lacrosse Shootout.
After Tuesday’s semifinal matchup between Team 21 and Go Fast, Coors may start the recruiting a bit earlier.
Romero, a Cornell midfielder from Colorado, scored the game-winning goal for Go Fast against the Cornell-comprised Team 21 with just over 13 seconds left to propel Go Fast to today’s finals.
“I tried to pick him up for the squad, and he already committed to (Go Fast),” Coors said. “So I learned my lesson. I’ll get to him earlier next year.”
With the game knotted at 9-9, Romero leaped to catch a pass at the top of the box, circled back a few steps, then charged in and rifled a shot into the upper left corner of the net.
“They were heckling me a bit,” Romero said of the Cornell guys a few minutes after his team won, 10-9.
Had it not been for Go Fast’s goalie, Doc Schneider, Romero wouldn’t have had a chance to play spoiler.
“He’s been keeping us in it all tournament,” Romero said of Schneider, who plays for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “He showed it last year when he took UMass all the way to the (NCAA Division I) championship game.”
“This game belongs to our goalie,” said Go Fast coach Jon Barocas. “That was one of the most phenomenal games I’ve ever seen a goalie play. He came up big every time.”
Throughout the game, Schneider made some saves on what looked like sure goals, including back-to-back point-blank shots in the second quarter with his team leading, 4-2.
Go Fast had flashes of offensive firepower ” like when it scored three straight goals in about three minutes early in the third quarter to take an 8-6 lead ” but then got shut down for long stretches by the Team 21 defense.
Team 21 was without the services of midfielder Max Seibald, who netted four goals in the team’s quarterfinals, as he suffered a concussion in the 16-15 overtime win.
“We really showed we had a lot of depth today ” everyone played awesome,” Coors said. “I’m proud of the group.”
Trailing 8-6, Team 21 scored two goals in the third quarter, then added a tally on a man advantage early in the fourth quarter to take the lead. With about three minutes left in the game, Team 21’s Mike Riordan held the ball at the top of the Go Fast box when he lost one of his shoes. The official then whistled Riordan for an illegal procedure, and immediately, Go Fast’s Brian Jaconna picked up the ball and stormed down the field on a fast break. Jaconna fed teammate Adam Stifel with a pass on top of the crease, and Stifel then pushed the ball in between his legs for a goal.
“We’re going to get new laces for everyone next year,” Coors joked.
After Go Fast took a 10-9 lead, Team 21 won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout with 9.7 seconds left. Team 21 managed to get a solid shot on net in the final seconds, but Schneider came up big again, and a rebound dribbled just wide of the net as time expired.
Lax Grip used stifling defense and an efficient offense to beat Young Guns in the other semifinals, 11-6.
“We set the tone early physically,” said Lax Grip coach and goalie Chris Sanderson, who is also the goalie for Team Canada.
Sanderson was a force in net, stuffing the Young Guns on many great chances.
“If you can set up looks, you’re doing a good job as a team,” said Dan Murray, coach of the Young Guns. “But there’s a reason (Sanderson) is all-world.”
Sanderson got some help from his defenders all game.
“Our guys keep their feet moving, which as a defender allows you to stay close enough to make a check late,” Sanderson said. “Our guys don’t give up, so we get a lot of late strips.”
Lax Grip took a 4-1 lead into the half, but the Young Guns broke for two quick goals in the third quarter, pulling to within one goal. Lax Grip then scored the next five goals to earn a 9-3 advantage.
“We have a couple great feeders and guys who can find the open man,” Sanderson said. “And we’ve got great finishers.”
Brad Favero had five goals for Lax Grip, many coming off feeds from teammate Andrew Wasik, who netted four himself. On one of Favero’s goals, Wasik sent a behind-the-back pass in mid stride right into Favero’s stick.
The Young Guns wouldn’t go away easily, however, and scored three goals in just over two minutes to close the deficit to 9-6.
“This team showed a lot of resolve,” Murray said. “We’re a good, young athletic team. (Lax Grip) has about five to seven years experience on us.”
Lax Grip’s Matt Hajek dominated faceoffs.
“They threw three guys at him, and he took them all down,” Sanderson said.
Lax Grip will play Go Fast in the finals today at 2:30 p.m.
“They’re a good team and well coached,” Sanderson said. “I think we’re happy to have made it this far. We’ll give them a game.”
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.