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Friday, May 28, 2010

Shout Out to the Sponsors

One of the biggest issues we had in this year's inaugural box lacrosse league was the lack of identity among the teams. Sure Valley and ISU had team reversible jerseys, but Drake and the Demons wore a hodgepodge of white and (mostly) black shirts, respectively. Another major issue was the lack of proper box goals which meant using 6x6 field goals and created arena football scorelines, which detracted from our primary purpose of increasing shot accuracy and improving tight play.

For this year's summer league, we sought a resolution to both issues - sponsorship.

Last summer we played weekly pick up games with random teams, but decided we like the organization of the box league. As part of this organization, jerseys would be needed. While everybody in the league would be responsible for paying for their jersey, we determined selling the front and team naming rights to willing sponsors would help with other costs associated with getting the game moving in Iowa.

Three local sponsors stepped up (a big thank you to Beth for making it happen!) to help us out. Not only was I able to purchase a couple extra jerseys to meet future needs and those with special circumstances which delayed their payments, but I should have enough to take care of other needs. Among them are nets for the new box goals (thanks to Jim for making the goals themselves); shooting tarps for practices, scrimmages, and the planned youth program; balls; and related items. As we have many more plans - including some extra team gear for Valley - we will continue to seek sponsors and fundraisers.

Over the next week, I plan to give a post dedicated to each sponsor; these posts will be mirrored on the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association website. There will also be a full contact listing on the CILA website and links here as applicable. In the meantime, I wanted to at least give the sponsors a nice shout out:

Clark Physical Therapy - West Des Moines - (515) 440-3439

Wellspring Parable Christian Store - Urbandale - (515) 251-4008

Mi Casa Rustic Furniture - Urbandale - (515) 331-2165

Thank you for helping us continue the growth of lacrosse in Central Iowa. I think I speak for everybody when I say that I truly appreciate it!

I would also like to thank Dan at Lightning Wear for helping us with the jerseys. He has been very patient and professional. I cannot wait to receive and post the mock ups.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Successful Practice

Last night was the official kick off to the 2010 Summer Lacrosse season. We held an informal practice at Indian Hills Jr High. But with 4 d-poles, 12 shorties, a goalie, and a tarp, it did not take long to turn into a full fledged scrimmage.
While the bulk of the group was deeply connected to the Valley team, we did have an alum, a Drake player, and an adult player with experience via Utah's highly successful (#20 on this year's final poll) MCLA club. It was a beautiful night to play lax and the overall experience was great. I realized that even with my long hockey season, I am still far from being in running shape; the heat and humidity are a definite change. I did make an impressive (if only b/c I did not know my fat ass could move like that) shot while jumping from just above GLE. That did not quite make up for the candy-ass mistakes I made throughout the game though. With the league kicking off next Wednesday, I need to get focused...
One thing that I am quite focused on is the behind the scenes stuff. The jerseys have been ordered and I expect to post a preview of the mock-ups soon. We did have three companies step forward to help sponsor which covered some of the costs for the league and jerseys.
Along with that, the rosters are more or less set. I expect to have them posted on the CILA website and emailed out sometime this weekend. I am just waiting to clarify one thing... Overall the teams look balanced and competitive - on paper.
After last night, we are definitely considering a move to a different field. I should know about that soon too.
We have six days before the start of the league. If you are interested in getting a group together to throw around or practice, let me know when and where and I will help you set that up. I know that my weekend is booked, and I probably won't be free on Tuesday either. You can also offer to run a practice at any point during the summer. Pick up games are also on the table...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Week Away

The 2010 Central Iowa Lacrosse Association kicks off one week from today!
I am still finalizing details and expect that everything will be here and ready on time, although there is a chance that the jerseys will not be here in time for the first game. I know that the due date and start date were close together and I apologize for that. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is that we did not want to distract the Valley guys too much during the playoffs. The side effect of that is some delays with registration and payments. To those of you that met the deadline - I offer a very big thank you. The upside is that we should have a competitive league.
The full schedule and rosters will be unveiled this weekend. I think that people will be pleasantly surprised with how this shakes out. I want to schedule referees, but I know that will be difficult until we really get going. At this point I am 98% certain that we will be at Indian Hills. Parking is adequate and the field is usable. It is off the main roads enough to limit accidents, but some of the neighbors are less than thrilled with errant shots...
In the meantime, we will have an open practice session tonight at 5:30. This will be at Indian Hills and go for about an hour and a half. Pads are not required, but if we have enough guys with gear and a goalie & net, we may do light contact. Otherwise bring your stick and gloves. I'm not sure how many balls I have with me (a few were "borrowed" over the box & HS seasons), but we'll make it enough. The only thing that will stop our practice is severe weather and/or lighting.
In the meantime, we did manage three sponsors to help with jersey costs - these will be three of the team names as well:
Clark Physical Therapy
Wellspring Parable Bookstore
Mi Casa Rustic Furniture

I will post more information about each sponsor in the near future.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Practice

There have been several requests for an open practice prior to the summer league starting next Wednesday. In response, we will have a somewhat organized practice session tomorrow at 5:30 pm at Indian Hills Jr High in Clive. Attendance is in no way mandatory, but it will be a chance to bust our your stick if you have not done so in a while and also to meet some of the people you will be playing with this summer.*
It will most likely be a non contact practice, so be sure to bring your sticks and gloves. If we can get the goals out and there are enough people with pads, we might have a light contact scrimmage as well. That will be decided tomorrow.
I will be at the field as soon as I can get there from downtown; I do not know what to expect of traffic at that time, but anticipate being there a few minutes early. In the case of severe weather - especially lightning - the session will be canceled.
This may be the only practice this week. With the holiday, graduations, and NCAA championships this weekend, I am not scheduling anything. Thursday night and early next week also have some potential. I am also open to another player/location hosting a practice session. Contact me to set that up.
I hope to see everybody tomorrow.
*No, rosters have not been set yet.

Tuesday Morning Tiger Report - Week 9

Sorry for the delay. I had a fairly busy day yesterday trying to get the summer league stuff finalized. Everything is nearly complete on that matter and will be announced shortly.

On to Valley!
The team left Des Moines Friday afternoon to watch the semifinal between Lincoln and Millard West. This gave the boys plenty of time to recover from the long drive and to scout both of our potential opponents for Saturday.
Lincoln employed a very Tierney-esque offense by stalling the ball after going up by a goal. While I am not a fan of the Tierney offense as a rule, I am even more against such a tactic in the first half. Especially when the team employing the offense is only up by a single goal. While slowing down the game is a valid strategy no matter the time or scoreline, holding the ball in such a way so early allows the defending team to capitalize on mistakes. It is very difficult for an offense to recuperate from the super slow play. Final Score: Lincoln 6, Millard West 7
We had a little more than an hour to prepare for our third match up with Prep. Although we had lost the two previous games, we knew that our full team was available for this game. Prep's full squad was on hand as well. We both knew what was at stake and both teams came out with extreme intensity.
Over the course of the game, the Tigers fell behind by three or more goals on three separate occasions. Valley managed to come back on all three occasions. The game was tight all the way to the end with many chances coming from both sides and big plays being made all over the field. In the end, the Bluejays held on to continue their uninterrupted championship game streak. Final Score: Valley 10, Prep 11
After a Saturday spent bowling and hanging out at Buffalo Wild Wings, the boys seemed ready to leave Omaha in third place. The field was hot and the air was humid when we arrived at Tranquility. Lincoln was already warming up in pads while we opted to stay light.
Game time saw a careless Valley team. Friday's desire was nowhere to be found as the team sloppily played through the first half. At half time, head coach Zielonko reminded them that this was the final game of the season. This wake up call resulted in a fierce comeback and a tie score at the end of regulation. Strong defense on both sides led to a second sudden death period. Unfortunately, Lincoln managed to get a lucky bounce into the back of the Valley net and secure third place. Final Score: Valley 5, Lincoln 6 Double OT
I did not stay for the championship, but Creighton Prep easily defeated Millard West 9-2. Both teams will lose critical players next year, further opening the door for Lincoln and Valley to claim the league's top spots. Lincoln is only losing a single starter to graduation.
Overall, I am proud of the way the Tigers played this season. To finish in the top four as a first year varsity team is a great accomplishment. Considering that a significant number of our players are underclassmen, this feat is even greater. We only graduate four starters and two depth players. Our entire midfield unit is expected to return and we have confidence in next year's likely starters at all positions. Most importantly, goalie Hunter Couch should be back in net; Couch continues to improve and should have little difficulty being named the best goalie in the league next year.

Tribe 7