Lightning Strikes as Spirit Wins Champion All-American Showcase
by Nicole Saavedra | LaxMagazine.com | Box Score
Canisius recruit Tim Edwards had a goal and two assists while winning six face-offs to help Spirit beat Freedom in the Champion All-American Showcase.
© Scott McCall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Team Spirit nabbed an
8-6 victory over Team Freedom in the Champion All-American Showcase
championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Friday. The game,
which will be aired on ESPNU on Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m., was
shortened to three quarters after an extended lightning delay.
Kylor Bellistri, a rising senior the Bullis School (Md.) who has verbally committed to Brown, scored three goals for the second straight game to lead Spirit and Tim Edwards finished with one goal and two assists.
“We were working really well together,” Bellistri said. “Our coach emphasized ball movement and that was huge today. We had the second pass, third pass, wide open shots and that contributed.”
Spirit and Freedom traded goals until the third quarter, when Chad Hyslop, Brian Schlansker, Bellistri and Cameron Dabir scored consecutive goals for Spirit and stretched the lead to 8-5. Drew Hanson added a goal for Freedom with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
“We kept it close and after halftime we had a big third quarter,” Bellistri said. “We went up 8-6 and they had a few late and we were just able to hold off.”
The game was delayed due to lightning before the fourth quarter began and was officially ended almost two hours later.
“We were pretty evenly matched, just like our first game against them,” West Virginia native Kris Lankford said. “We did well and our team was working the ball well. It would have been nice to see a final quarter, but a good game, good competition and a good finish.”
For Spirit, the finish was different than their first meeting with Freedom. The teams met in the opening game on Wednesday. Spirit jumped out to an early 5-2 lead but ended up falling 14-10 to Freedom.
“The first game I didn’t think that we played as a team as much,” Edwards said. “As we got used to each other we started to play as a team instead of individuals.”
The teams ended the first quarter in a tie after Edwards and Bellistri scored for Spirit and Halston Harding and Kyle Keenan scored for Freedom.
Jamie Shand pushed Freedom to a 3-2 lead early in the second quarter when he scored off an assist from Mitchell Chapman with under ten minutes remaining in the half. Spirit’s Frank Miller evened the score with a goal with just over six minutes left. Kevin Rice added another goal for Freedom and Bellistri scored off an assist from Edwards to tie the score before the half.
Freedom struck first in the second half with a goal from Mitchell Dupere with just under eleven minutes left in the third quarter. A four-goal burst gave Spirit the largest lead in the game.
“I think a huge part of it was just really noticing in the final game everyone’s talents and that everyone was great,” Bellistri said. “Not only that, but people were working together. I think that everyone knows that they can play at this level, compete at this level, but it was working together that was able to give us the victory today even though we lost to this team earlier in the week. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.”