July 3, 2014

Vail Elite Men's Tourney Set to Go Off

by Garrett Fitzgerald

Numbers always seem to be heavily associated with the Vail Lacrosse Shootout. Whether it's the altitude of 8,150 feet, the 100+ mph shots or the thousands of teams that have participated over the 42 years of the tournament, this year will add a few new numbers to take note of: 6,930, 7,450 and 8,270. While it might not be obvious at first, these numbers represent a dedication and love of the game that we all should be aware of, they are the number of miles from Israel, New Zealand and Australia to Vail, Colorado, respectively.

The Vail Lacrosse Shootout is honored that three squads have traveled from halfway across the globe to participate in this tournament in order to acclimate, tune up and finalize their teams for the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships.

This year's international flair of the Shootout deserves some back story.

Starting with Israel, the team has local squads based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Israelis are relatively new to the international Lacrosse world, playing within the European Lacrosse Federation, they finished 8th in the 2012 ELF Championships, but have yet to compete at the World Championships. Judging by the early reports of the roster, Israel will be a team that will impress, and are a dark horse for a run at the Vail Shootout Championship.

Schedule: Thursday 7/3
Athletic Field
9am - Warrior X vs Prestige Lacrosse Club
11am - Motive Pure vs Steve French
1pm - The Cage Goes All Out vs 9am Winner
3pm - On The Hop Nation/Lacrossewear vs 11am Winner

Vail Mountain School
10am - Brine Elite vs Team Gutman
12pm - Big Green Herd vs Rock-it Pocket Pirates
2pm - Adrenaline Tropics vs New Zealand

Edwards Turf
12pm - The Sharks vs The LOFers
2pm - Rocky Mountain Oysters vs Jammin' Salmon
4pm - Israel National Team vs Millenium Chiefs

People in New Zealand began playing Lacrosse more than 125 years ago. After having played for a couple of decades, World War I halted the sport for the Kiwis and until 2000, lacrosse was absent in New Zealand. Since then, the country has competed in the last three FIL World Championships - the team finished 15th in 2002, 19th in 2006 and 15th in 2010.

Beginning around the same time as New Zealand, Australian lacrosse got off the ground in 1887 when South Australia matched up against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Beyond the long history of the game being played in Australia, the Sharks have an incredibly storied history in competition on the international stage. Competing in every FIL World Championship since its inception, the men from down under have perpetually been oh so close, finishing 2nd or 3rd in every World Championship. In 1994 the Australians finished 2nd defeating Canada in the semi-finals, in 2002 lost 15-14 to Canada in the semi-finals and lost 13-10 to the USA in the 2006 semi-finals.

In the rest of the Men's Elite Field – last year's champions The Cage Goes All Out bring back a Colorado heavy roster of current NCAA Division I players and will be as dangerous as any team in their second year of Shootout participation.

On the Hop Nation / Lacrossewear always comes to the Vail valley with a stacked roster, and after having finished second in both 2013 & 2012, the 2011 champions will look to return to the top in 2014. Coach/organizer Paul Landaiche Jr. has a knack for guiding his team to the finals and his team will be a favorite to return to the championship game.

After having reached the final four for two consecutive years, Brine Elite will look to break down the proverbial championship door. Big Green Herd are relative newcomers to the Vail Lacrosse Shootout, finishing 7th in 2012 and 4th in 2013. Look for BGH to make a championship run after losing a heart breaker last year, 15-16 in OT to Lacrossewear, in last year's semifinals.
From the rest of the field, returning teams Adrenaline Tropics, the Rocky Mountain Oysters, Millennium Chiefs and Jammin' Salmon—all have the ability to put together a championship run. Additional returning teams to the tournament are Steve French, Team Gutman, the LOFers, Warrior X, Motive Pure, and Prestige Lacrosse.

As for new teams in the 2014 Vail Lacrosse Shootout, The Sharks look to have the best opportunity to make waves and swim away with a Vail title. The Israel National Team has a roster worthy of the championship bracket. The New Zealand National Team is a bit more of an unknown but don't be surprised if they put together some important wins. Rounding out the Mens Elite field, The Rock-it-Pocket Pirates return to the Shootout for the first time since 2008. Being primarily made up of Colorado State University based players who have considerable tournament experience, the Pirates have found some ringers and are capable of pulling out an upset or two in this year's Shootout.

Pretournament odds:
2/1 - The Cage Goes All Out
5/2 - On the Hop Nation / Lacrossewear
5/1 - Brine Elite
7/1 - The Big Green Herd
10/1 - The Sharks
15/1 - Adrenaline Tropics
20/1 - Rocky Mountain Oysters
25/1 - Israel National Team
30/1 - Millennium Chiefs
35/1 - Jammin' Salmon
40/1 - Rock-it-Pocket Pirates
50/1 - The LOFers
60/1 - New Zealand National Team
75/1 - Team Gutman
100/1 - Motive Pure
150/1 - Warrior X
200/1 - Steve French
250/1 - Prestige Lacrosse Club

(note: odds were made prior to finalized rosters so should be taken with a grain of salt)

Now, everyone's favorite part of the program—let's meet the teams!

After a brief stop in Southern California, the Sharks move on to Vail for a run at the elite division crown before heading to Commerce City next week to play in the FIL World Championships. (via Australia Men's Lacrosse Squad 2014 on Facebook)

Team Previews

The Cage Goes All Out
Key Players: Nick Ossello (Notre Dame), Billy Ward (Syracuse), Tyler German (UVa), Rhody Heller (UVa), Isaac Bock (Penn), Ryan LaPlante (DU), Greg Coholan (UVa), Tanner Ottenbreit (UVa), Peter McCartney (Syracuse), Sean Cannizaro (DU), Zed Williams (UVa)
Team Preview: The 2013 Vail Shootout Champions intend to go All Out again in 2014, with help from Vaught Oil and The Cage Sports (a Colorado born-and-bred lacrosse/hockey store in Grand Junction -www.cagesportsco.com). The team's double-overtime win in the Championship game last year was pretty great lacrosse, and All Out—dressed by The Cage— has once again put together a core group of Colorado natives who each bring a teammate or two from their current college teams (all now honorary Coloradoans!). A rag-tag bunch who have serious fire power when they get serious. All in, All Out!

On the Hop Nation/Lacrossewear
Paul Landaiche Jr., Clark Mercer
Key Players: Kevin Massa (Bryant '16); Deemer Class (Duke '16); Tanner Scales (Virginia '16); Sergio Perkovic (Notre Dame '17)
Team Preview: On the Hop Nation / Lacrossewear is in its fourteenth Vail Shootout and has earned a reputation as one of the premier Men's Elite teams in the nation. Lacrossewear's team consistently features many of the most highly skilled players in lacrosse, young men who are leaders on the field, in their classrooms and in their communities. The mission is always to maintain a consistent focus on community involvement and philanthropy in addition to academic and athletic endeavors.

Team Lacrossewear decided back in 2005 to expand the scope and the significance of participation in the Shootout by benefiting the American Cancer Society and organizations committed to finding a cure for breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer; they incorporate pink and purple in their uniforms, colors representing cancer awareness, as a visible reminder of their causes. With your support, they can continue their great efforts both on the field and in their local areas, highlighting the impact that we as individuals can have each day on the lives of others. As a team and with their partner organizations, Team On the Hop Nation / Lacrossewear supports health and social services causes and research through contributing to the American Cancer Society and with exposure in events such as the Vail Shootout. Each year is another step closer to a cure!

We are proud to welcome our title sponsor "On the Hop Nation" who is creating an exciting, all-encompassing new movement in the world of sports. They have developed the ultimate online resource for all things sports-related for the student athlete. The team would also like to thank Lacrossewear founder Bo Lamon for his continued partnership and support and for providing the highest quality apparel in the lacrosse industry. They would also like to recognize Tivoli Brewing Company who remains an important Vail partner and a strong supporter of the lacrosse community and this year's World Games.

Brine Elite
Team Founder:
ENS Matt Keller – USNA 2009
Team Managers: Tom Keller (Williams '80)
Key Players: Attack: Grant Whiteway (UMass '15), Ryan Danehy (Dartmouth '06), Mike Maggio (Lasell '09)
Midfield: Connor Mooney (UMass '14), Randy Fraser (Springfield '90), Andrew Sokol (UMass '15), Nick Maggio (Merrimack '12)
Defense: Sam Mayes (Pheiffer '10), Jordan Hendry (Denver '10)
Goal: Mike Levin (Brown '04), Chris Hettler (Colgate '02)
Team Preview: This year's Brine Elite squad will look to build on its two straight trips to the final four of the Men's Elite Division. The rarified air of Vail left the team eager to compete for the title once again. Some of the best players to ever play in the BRINE Elite Summer Lacrosse League make up about half of the roster. The other half has a distinct Colorado flavoring. With this melting pot of lacrosse talent, the team really looks forward to the 4th of July and the Vail Shootout.

Thanks go out to our sponsors for their continued support; BRINE and the BRINE Elite Lacrosse League.

Our thoughts and prayers are always with the people serving to protect our country, especially the members of Riverine Squadron 3, USN.

The Big Green Herd
Ryan O'Connor, Brad Heritage
Key Players: Trey Wilkes (M, Ohio State, 2009); Kyle Menendez (D, Stevenson, 2011); Mike Novosel (G, Dartmouth, 2010); Sean Doyle (A, Bucknell, 2016)
Team Preview: The Big Green Herd is back again in 2014 determined to overcome the disappointment of coming up just short in last year's semifinal game. Once again, our team is made up of a strong core of current and former players from Dartmouth College and Bucknell University, rounded out by family and friends, who have excelled at all levels of the game. With an experienced and seasoned defense, led by savvy veterans Ryan O'Connor and Michael DeGuzman, and backstopped by net minder Mike Novosel, goals should be hard to come by for the Herd's opponents.

Offensively, the BGH has very capable playmakers in attackmen Todd Heritage, Sean Doyle, and Mike Olentine, while the presence of Nick Bonacci, Cam Lee, Kyle Shanahan, and Peter Burke from the midfield stripe should put serious pressure on opposing defenses. Our squad prides itself on making plays on and off the field with respect and high integrity.

The Big Green Herd is powered by Motive Pure and styled by Kind Design. Finally, we'd like to thank the Vail Shootout organizers and staff for their tireless efforts in making this tournament such a huge success.

Adrenaline Tropics
Jono Zissi & Maria Brooks

Rocky Mountain Oysters
Logan Bobzien
Key Players: Ben Brown (G, Whittier); Ryan Parietti (A, Penn); Bryce Parietti (A, Denver); Jack Bobzien (A, Denver); Brian Kormondy (M, Delaware); Chace Calkin (M, Denver); Taylor Young (M, Denver); Drew Babb (D, Denver); Mitch Boh (D, Air Force); Ryan Cunningham (D, Loyola)
Team Preview: The RM Oysters are excited once more to be a part of the Vail Tournament. With a mixture of talent from within and without Colorado they are looking to make it the most memorable yet. Ben Brown returns as the anchor in net with a deep, athletic, experienced defense in front of him from DU, Loyola, Air Force, and CSU. The midfielders and attack match the play of the defense and then some. Ryan Parietti, Taylor Young, Chace Calkin, and Brian Kormondy have been playing together since elementary school. Their chemistry on field automatically spreads to the rest of the team. With a smoke machine and mirrors in tow, a fun sponge or two, OX, belly flops, and brooms, no matter what this team will bring the energy and compete over the four days.

Most importantly - we could not be more excited to welcome the competitors from across the World in preparation for the World Games. We hope their experience in Vail is as memorable as ours and keeps them coming back for years to come.

Millennium Chiefs
Key Players:
Brendan Caputo (M- Brown), John Baker (D- Colgate), Bailey Tills (M- Brown), Peter Conley (A- Georgetown), Jordan Friedman (LSM- Colgate)
Team Preview: The Millennium Chiefs are back and are a dangerous squad based out of Colorado, and are constructed of D1 and D3 players. The slick attack and devastating midfield will be what carries the Chiefs team. Many of the players are on the same team in college or they have played together since a very young age - the chemistry is going to be scary. Millennium is confident that they are going to make some noise and turn heads this year at the Shootout.

Millennium would like to thank our sponsors Flavors and D H Friedman Properties for their support!

The LOFers
Coach and Organizer:
By Committee
Key Players: Pat Berry (Goalie, Saint Leo University), Pat Young (Midfield, UMBC), Matt Obermeyer (Attack, Saint Leo University), Justin Dunn (Defense, Goucher), Tyler Baruch (Midfield, University of Colorado)
Team Preview: Representing the Lacrosse Outreach Foundation (LOF), the LOFers again return to Vail, CO for another run at the title. Will this be the year?

Special thanks to Ted and Nancy Baruch and the rest of the Lacrosse Outreach Foundation, we appreciate all of their support, and appreciate what they have done and continue to do for the lacrosse community in CO.

Jammin' Salmon
Justin Porter
Key Players: Alex Love (A - Hobart College), Torin Varn (A - Hofstra), Mike Malave (M - Hofstra), Bobby DeWees (GettysBurg), Brett Neal (D - NYIT), Andrew Newbold (D - Sacred Heart), & Andrew Gvodzen (G - Hofstra)
Team Preview: The Jammin' Salmon are back, and ready for 2014! This years "school" is a mix of collegiate standouts and the return of some ol'friends to add experience, as the "Fish" look to swim back into title contention!

A high powered attack will provide scoring upfront, with All-American Alex Love, accompanied by Torin Varn & Dalston Day! A tough midfield of 2-Way players will angle their way in-between the lines, with new addition Mike Malave! Defensively, big fins; Andrew Newbold and Brett Neal will anchor the fish down bottom!

Special Thanks to our sponsor Allied Solutions (FL) - thanks TK! Also, thanks to BackCountry Brewery (CO) for their donations/support & last but not least; BreakAway Sports Lacrosse (Jeff Serge)www.breakawaylacrosse.com.

Steve French
Brian Leistikow & Steve Louro
Key Players: Corey Johnson (Middie, Western New England), Connor Saller (Middie, UNC), Aaron Harris (Defenseman, Western New England), Matt Kramer (Defenseman, DU)
Team Preview: Steve French is back for a 4th year. After three years under the team name Southern Combat Americans, the team is hoping with a new name there will be an added element of success. Made up of guys from Western New England, Hampden Sydney, and other Division 1, 2, 3 and MCLA clubs, Steve French is ready to be better than their teams of the past. A special thanks to our sponsor PGP Benefits.

Motive Pure
Dylan Davie
Key Players: Blake Knobloch (Jacksonville), Nic Bevaqua (Stevenson), Parker Jackson (USAF), Jack Stebbins (Colgate), Jake Gonzalez (Drexel), Drew Stormo (Dennison), Grey Ritger (Colorado College), Jason Cleary (Washington and Lee).
Team Preview: Team Motive Pure is heading up to Vail with a crew of studs ready to represent the rehydration formula we love. We have a tried and true attack, a stacked midfield and a tight-knit D, which we hope will lead us through some spirited battles. Remember, stay hydrated... Absorb and Conquer.

Warrior X
Coaches and Organizers:
Tom Conrad, Craig Haynes
Team Preview: These are Colorado Boys. Warrior X is made up primarily of Arapahoe High School Alumni (Centennial Colorado) who played on the 2009, 2012 and 2013 Colorado State 5A Championship Lacrosse teams. The team is complemented with additional players from other premier Colorado programs of those eras including Cherry Creek, Mountain Vista and Fort Collins Unified. Many of the players have played with or against each other since grade school and continue to play with or against each other for CU, CSU and Northern Colorado. Others are playing for Division II and Division III programs and have brought along some friends most notably from D-III power house Rochester Institute of Technology.

Uniforms designed and produced by Breakaway Sports to honor the Warrior spirit in all Lacrosse Players.

Team Gutman
Jeff Begin and Skyler Hopkins
Key Players: Nate Gaudio (G - Middlebury College '14), Ned Dilisio (D - Middlebury College '13), Nick Stevens (M - Middlebury College, '11)
Team Preview: Team Gutman returns to Vail to follow up their heralded 2013 performance of 3-1 overall for a strong 17th place finish and unofficial "Champions of Edwards" title. Between the pipes, they have Nate Gaudio, fresh off a 1st Team All-NESCAC performance in his final year at Middlebury, to anchor the defense. He is joined by former defensive standout Ned Dilisio, and his younger brother Gary Dilisio, whose off-season training regimen has set a new gold standard for all former panthers. Though he was unable to make it this year, Chris Teves will serve as the spiritual leader of the Gutman squad in absentia - his persistence in the face of adversity and "do whatever it takes" attitude will be sorely missed. Fortunately Nick Stevens (Middlebury '11) has come out of retirement to carry on his legacy in the Midfield. Proudly sporting uniforms featuring the unmistakable grin of their beloved Peter Kohn - the team's namesake and former Head Coach / Hydration Specialist / Motivational Speaker / Chewing Gum Aficionado / Lead Singer / Railroad Expert - Gutman is proud to continue its tradition at the Vail Shootout and is looking forward to another year of choir practice on the village shuttle. Cheer Boys Cheer!

Prestige Lacrosse Club
Coach and Organizer:
Greg Sprenzel
Key Players: Peter DeFinis (Drexel '02), Ryan Knautz (Adrian '11), Ben Sataloff (Washington College '13), Ben Weisz (Colorado '11)
Team Preview: Nachos, lemon heads and my Dad's boat...Prestige is back! Our goalies Mitchell Fenton and Michael Grinnell will be our backstop to our defense with James Miller leading the crew. Running midfield and taking our draws this year will be Ben Sataloff and Tyler Padzik. Our attack will be stronger than ever and yes, Ryan Knautz will be healthy this year. Pull up your anchor 'cause we're leaving dry land.

Rock-it Pocket Pirates
Coaches and Organizers:
Kyle Gies, Flip Naumburg
Team Preview: The Rock-it Pocket Pirate Team coordinator Kyle Gies (CSU LSM 2013) explains, "This team is made up of past CSU lacrosse players that wanted to bring together one team for the mid-Summer, 4th of July Vail Lacrosse Shootout."

This self-proclaimed gang of ship raiders will be led on offense by Cooper Kehoe (CSU First Team MCLA AA 2011), and the lacrosse smart, attack active Austin Fisher (CSU MCLA First team AA 2013). The Pirate offensive movement should get a power boost from Wilkins Desmuke, a prolific high school scorer from Colorado currently playing DI lacrosse in Baltimore as a Blue Jay at Johns Hopkins. The defense will deploy the "All hands on deck" CSU Team Defensive approach, led by the fair-haired Tyler Zabor (CSU 2013), one of the best ever to carry a 'green and gold pole'. First Team 2014 MCLA All-American Defenseman Tim Miaskiewicz (CSU 2014) will provide a solid presence inside and out in the collective effort to keep the ball out of and away from our goal. First Team 2014 MCLA All American Goalie Jack Regan (CSU 2014) and Koltin Fatzinger (CSU 2014) will be anchoring the defense, standing tall at the front of our net.

The Pirates hope to hi-jack a few face offs with former CSU and MCLA standout Dan Warfield (CSU 2013) groveling for balls at the midline X. Matthew Jui (CSU 2012) heads up a list of 'transition' middies, complimented by the likes of Alex Devlin.

The Pirates want to thank Coach Flip Naumburg, Mike Naumburg, and Rock-it Pocket for helping to make this 2014 Vail Family happen.

The Sharks
Coaches and Organizers:
Glenn Meredith, Peter Brown, Murray Keen, Rod Ansell, Phil Ackland
Key Players: John Tokarua, Call Robinson, Keith Nyberg, Callum Mortimer, Ross Hamilton, Brad Sheldon, Andrew Ham, Warren Brown, Tom Vickery, David Gal, Luke Keesing, Stephen Mortimer, Ben Newman, Nigel Morton, Will Pickett, Tom Freeman, Anson Carter, Sam Bullock, Marty Hyde, James Lawerson, Chris Plumb, Matt Fuss, Nathan Stiglich, Alex Brown, Thomas Graham and Matt Diver.
Team Preview: The Sharks are taking a bite out of Vail for the first time and look forward to getting amongst it in the thin air of the beautiful Rockies, a solid mixture of youth of experienced players from all over the place brings a unique style of lax and skill to one of the World's best tournaments.


New Zealand National Team
Coaches and Organizers:
Robert Macaluso, Jim Kaspar, Roger Snow, Jeremy Rualo, Gavin Higgins
Key Players: Andrew Clayton (A- Chapman University), Nick Ravenhall (F/O Oslo Legends), Toby Delamore (M – New England College), Eddie Roberts (M – Oregon State), Jeremy Kinkaid (M- Eastern Cheifz), Alex Pritzlaff (D – Hampden Sydney)
Team Preview: New Zealand is making its first appearance in the Vail Shootout and will be looking to find its form in preparation for the Denver World Games. The team will look to find its groove on offense with a lot of new faces to the team. Team veteran Face/Off Specialist and vocal leader, Nick Ravenhall will look to control the X for his country in what will be his last national team campaign. Leading a group of young guns looking to make their mark are Jeremy Kinkaid (M) and John Clayton (A). Team NZ will look to its veteran defensive unit for leadership anchored by brothers John and Alex Pritzlaff.

Team New Zealand would like to thank all of their fans and supporters with special thanks to Nike Lacrosse, STX and Lids Team Sports for their generous support.

Israel National Team
Coaches and Organizers:
Bill Beroza (HC), Jeff Goldberg (AC), Mark Greenberg (AC), Eric Wolf (AC), Pete Ginnegar (AC), Howard Borkan (GM), Jon Barocas (Dir Ops)
Key Players: Matthew Cherry (F - Dickinson, #3), Casey Cittadino (M - Charlotte Hounds #5), Jacob Silberlicht (M - Hobart #7), Lee Coppersmith (M - Florida Launch, #23), Ari Sussman (F - Dartmouth, #33), Noach Miller (F - Vermont, #41)
Team Preview: From one of the lowest points on earth—near the Dead Sea—to one of the highest here in Vail, the Israel men's national team is getting acclimated to the altitude and making their final preparations for the World Championships. The blue-and-white must trim their roster from 35 down to their final 23-man FIL-regulation squad, with competitions at several key positions. Team Israel boasts some serious firepower on attack (they actually call them "forwards" in the Middle East) with former pro Ari Sussman and company, as well as a smattering of current and former MLL stalwarts at every position. While half the squad is Israel-based, two players in particular – native Israeli prospects Benor Buniel and Yotram Drori—will be gaining immense experience, and you can expect Team Israel to get them, and others from the Jewish State plenty of action.

The Israel Lacrosse Association would like to express a big "Todah Rabah" (thank you!) to EL AL Airlines, STX, Taglit-Birthright, JCC Denver, Rock-it Pocket, Abu-Hassan Restaurant, and countless other dedicated organizations and individuals for their support.

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