Londonderry Youth Lacrosse (LYLA) participated this past weekend in the 2nd annual Laurie Cox Lacrosse Classic at New England College in Henniker New Hampshire. The jamboree was composed of 14 total teams from Henniker NH, York ME, Salem MA, Lakes Region NH, Laconia NH, North-Middlesex MA, Twin-State (Lebanon NH & White River Junction VT), Melrose MA, Leominster MA, and Londonderry. Competition was held at the U13 (ages 12 and under) and U15 (ages 14 and under) divisions.
Seeking volunteers from the Londonderry U13A, U15C, U15B and U15A levels Coaches Jim Loiselle and Mike McInnis were able to assemble a select team of 20 players to participate at the U15 level, even though many of the players were eligible for the U13 division. One long practice last Thursday in 95+ degree heat brought the group of young players together to go over team building exercises and basic defensive and offensive sets.
The jamboree featured a 4 game schedule for each team with the top 4 teams advancing to the championship series. With tie-breakers going to the team that allowed the fewest goals deciding who would advance to the round of 4.
The day would not start out well for the Londonderry boys in blue. Their first game was against an evenly matched team from Salem MA. Salem pulled ahead 3-0 at the end of the first half. Below #99 Mason Smith launches the ball out of the defensive end. Goalie #89 Alex Fawcett looks on.
The press-zone defense new to many of the boys was working full time in the 2nd half as Salem was shot down offensively. Londonderry scored its only goal on a “worm-burner” from Bobby McEachern (assisted by Peter Navarro). Londonderry would fall to Salem 3-1. On the day Londonderry goalies Alex Fawcett and Patrick McKinnon would garner nearly 30 saves combined. They were backed up defensively by Sean Fitzgerald, Mason Smith and the “twin towers” Zach and Justin Thomas.
Lots going on in the shot below. #46 Sean Fitzgerald and #82 Justin Thomas guard the goal. The player on the “turf” was just checked down by goalie #37 Patrick McKinnon…….ball at top of shot floats away. Count that as a save.
The blended Londonderry team would face the tough (and in the season undefeated) team from North Middlesex MA. The local boys had their hands full in the 12-1 loss to the Middlesex squad. With two games remaining Londonderry would need to win out with any chance to make the final four – based upon the critical tie-breaking rules. Below young Lancer #16 Bobby McEchern scores the loan Londonderry goal.
With a quick breather and some input from Coach Loiselle to put the two losses behind them and to go out and have some fun, the boys immediately took the field to play York Maine.
With quick goals from attack-men and brothers Anthony and Dominic Federico Londonderry took an early 2-0 lead. York would answer and early in the 2nd half would pull ahead 3-2. Below #29 Anthony Federico splits the defense and gets the ball past the goalie.
#30 Peter Navarro slams one past the goalie……you can see the ball in the air just behind the goalie…..
How would the game end ? Would Londonderry pull out the victory ? Would the home-town boys make it to the finals ??
With an assist from Dom Federico, Bobby McEachern would pull Londonderry even. Conor Cote would put Londonderry ahead 4-3 with under five minutes left in the game. With a flurry of quick breaks York would again lead 5-4.
Peter Navarro (assisted by Conor Cote) would tie the score with two minutes left in the game. With under a minute remaining Christian Flores would take the pass from Travis Marchant and put Londonderry ahead for the final 6-5 victory. Below just before the goal #74 Cristian Flores, #68 Travis Marchant go for the ball – as #96 Conor Cote looks on.
After playing three games in 4 hours Londonderry would take a well deserved rest before playing their final regular game against Lakes Region.
In their match against Lakes Region Londonderry would record 6 goals. Ryan Goggin (Dom Federico assist), Bobby McEachern (Dom assist), Peter Navarro (Ryan Kelly assist), and Anthony Federico (Dom assist) would each score a goal. U13A attackmen Cole Ferguson showing that skills not size scores LAX goals tallied two scores (Navarro and Travis Lantry assists) in the Londonderry win. Officially Londonderry would win the game 1-0 as Lakes Region needed to “forfeit” due to injury and lack of players. The teams played a modified 8 on 8 scrimmage. Cole Ferguson #81 goes for his second goal of the game, #80 Nate Robilard looks on….ball in net.
Londonderry with a record of 2-2 and a goals against of 20 placed in the final four and would have faced Salem again in the semi-finals of the championship round.
However just as the final goal in the Lakes Region game was scored a massive thunderstorm with lightning would move in forcing the organizers to cancel the final set of games.
Londonderry went to Henniker to play some lacrosse and have some fun. We may never know who would have won the championship but with the help of parents, siblings and friends the boys won the fun trophy hands down.
Photos courtesy of Mike Marchant and George Thomas