Third Time a Charm: FLG Wins US Lacrosse National Championship
Carney Mahon had four goals to help carry For the Love of the Game to its first US Lacrosse National Championship.
© Scott McCall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The third time may have been the charm, but the third quarter was the key as For the Love of the Game (N.Y.) brought home its first US Lacrosse Boys’ U15 National Championship, presented by Champion, with a 13-7 victory over the Long Island Jesters.
For the Love of the Game (FLG), playing in the national championship game for the third straight year, outscored the Jesters 5-0 in the third quarter to pull away from a 6-5 halftime lead to take command.
“It feels amazing,” said FLG attackman Justin McBride, who had a goal and an assist. “A few of us are returning players from last year and we didn’t want to lose a game. We wanted to win the whole thing.”
“I think it was a building process over the summer,” said FLG coach Mike Hungerford, an assistant coach for Farmingdale (N.Y.) High School’s state championship this spring. “Going to play good competition, not always winning, challenging yourself to play older. We played up, lost a lot, and then you come here and play guys your own age, keep practicing and working, and good things happen.”
Keying the victory was dominance on faceoffs. After the Long Island Jesters won 5-of-7 faceoffs in the opening period, FLG came back to win 11-of-12 over the second and third quarters. Midfielder James Sullivan won 10-of-12 in the game.
“After halftime I kind of got motivated and just really wanted to win,” said Sullivan. “It’s been a great experience. I’m not going to forget this.”
“We knew we had to win this,” said McBride. “Between every quarter, everyone just gets pumped up, and everyone wanted to win it. We were putting goals in the net, and the sideline was going crazy.”
Midfielder Carney Mahon paced the FLG offense with four goals, two of them coming during FLG’s dominant third quarter, including one blistering outside shot. Jack Tigh and Michael Laviano each contributed a goal and two assists. Michael Terraciano made eight saves going the distance in goal for FLG after Brian Hughes suffered a dislocated finger in the semifinal victory over Long Island Express in the morning and was unable to play in the championship game.
Bobby Bender and Evan Gagne each scored two goals for the Long Island Jesters.
In the morning semifinals, FLG outlasted another Long Island rival, beating Long Island Express 7-6. The Express had taken a 6-5 lead with goals just 14 seconds apart, the latter coming by Brendan Simpson with 3:42 to play, but then Brian Eletti’s second goal of the game tied it 6-6 with 2:40 to play. Mahon then scored the game-winner with 29 seconds left for his second goal of the game. Simpson led the Express with two.
In the other semifinal, the Nor Cal Talons led the Long Island Jesters 6-2 late in the first half, but then the Jesters, keyed by the faceoff play of Nick Suchoki, rallied to score six straight goals. The Jesters defense held Nor Cal scoreless for a span of more than 17 minutes. James Byrns scored four goals and Suchoki had three goals in addition to his faceoff play. Craig Berge also had a goal and two assists. Joe Reid led the Talons with three goals while Ben Parietti and Duncan Hoskinson each added two.
In the third place game, the LI Express beat the Nor Cal Talons 11-8. Nor Cal was up 3-0 before the Express came back. Brian Willetts had two goals and one assist and Patrick McCormick had one goal and two assists for the Long Island Express. Ian Kirby and Kieran Byrnes also had two goals for the Express. Reid had two goals and one assist for Nor Cal and Chris Hill and Joe Rodrigues each added two goals.
Following the championship, the Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament team was named. The 12 players honored, with positions and club programs noted:
Attackman Ian Kirby, Long Island Express (N.Y.)
Attackman Dawes Milchling, Maryland Lacrosse Club
Attackman Justin McBride, For the Love of the Game (N.Y.)
Midfielder Joe Reid, Nor Cal Talons
Midfielder Brian Eletti, For the Love of the Game (N.Y.)
Midfield Evan Gagne, Long Island Jesters (N.Y.)
Midfielder Nick Suchoki, Long Island Jesters (N.Y.)
Midfielder Carney Mahon, For the Love of the Game (N.Y.)
Defenseman Benjamin Joy, Long Island Express (N.Y.)
Defenseman Robert Vavassis, For the Love of the Game (N.Y.)
Defenseman Billy Andrle, Long Island Jesters (N.Y.)
Goalie Michael Terracciano, For the Love of the Game (N.Y.)
Jacksonville (Fla.) won the event's Sportsmanship Award.