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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Canada Vs USA Reminder + Other Stuff to Watch

As I head off to work this morning - yes, I have to work OT today - I wanted to remind everybody that the 2010 FIL World Championship game will be on ESPNU today. The game is on ESPNU at 10:00 AM (Iowa time). For Mediacom subscribers, that is digital channel 178. I have no clue what it is on Dish Network or Direct TV.
I was going to write a big preview of the game, but 412 already did a great job. By the way, if you've never read Tumbas' blog, you really owe it to yourself to read through it. The man knows his stuff. He played high school lax in Pittsburgh, played a year of D3 before deciding it was not for him, and later went on to help run the MCLA team at Pitt. He has spent his summer working at numerous camps alongside players and coaches from NCAA and MLL teams.
ESPN3 will be carrying the Toronto Nationals vs Boston Cannons at 6:00 PM (Iowa) and the Chicago Machine vs Denver Outlaws at 8:00 PM (Iowa).
I also wanted to throw out a reminder about the Boys High School Showcase Championship game tomorrow. This game will also be on ESPNU. It starts at 6:00 pm.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adidas - Improvement Continues

When they launched their initial line, nearly everybody agreed that it was complete crap. When John Grant Jr signed on as their top endorser, people saw dollar signs in his eyes. When Michigan's MCLA team switched to their gear, people thought the move would doom them. After Michigan won two of their three consecutive MCLA championships wearing only Adidas gear, people claimed that it was "the wizard and not the wand."
But very few would argue that the Grant line is garbage. The gloves are protective, breathable, and (in my opinion) stylish. Most members of the Michigan team wore Grants throughout the season.
The shafts are quietly gaining a strong reputation for being reliable and of high quality. Offered in all lengths, the stick line is functionally complete. Not too many things have been said about their heads, but that is not surprising. No other piece of equipment seems to command as much loyalty or skepticism as the head.
Although their shoulder pads still look suspicious, the rest of the Adidas line seems to be maturing quickly. The company recently announced its 2011 line. Opposite most conventional product lines, higher numbers indicate lower price points - 111 is the top of the line (presumably under Grant) while 311 is the bottom. The utilization of Adidas technology such as Formation and ClimaLite brings plenty of promise to the new line as players seek to find the answer to sweaty palms.
The styling is classy and clean, as one would expect from such a storied company. Visually, this line is a major departure from their first attempt - and that is a great thing. The gloves finally look like something that any player would be proud and comfortable to wear.
Perhaps the most interesting thing the 2011 line offers is customization. Both the 111 and 211 ranges are available for tweaking which increases the likelihood that club teams across the country will at least explore Adidas. Sponsored schools such as Notre Dame and Brown are now one step closer to using Adidas lax gear. I anticipate that the former will definitely move to Adidas once their Brine contract runs out, if not sooner.
*The included images are mock ups of Drake University lax gear used to illustrate the 111 line. Drake was chosen because they are an Adidas sponsored school and they recently launched a lacrosse club. There is no indication that the club team will wear Adidas, however.

Dubuque Lax Anyone?

Alan Temperly is currently trying to start a lax program in Dubuque. To aid him, Temperly has formed a group on Simply Lacrosse. His mission is simple enough: Looking for players, coaches and volunteers to start a 5&6, 7&8 and high school lacrosse teams in Dubuque area. Temperly brings a wealth of experience with him. Prior to arriving in Dubuque, he served as the president of the Waterford Youth Lacrosse Association in Michigan.
If you are interested in playing, learning, or coaching lacrosse in Dubuque then please contact Alan directly. Valley player Sam Lozada will be attending college in Dubuque this fall and has been in contact with Temperly about establishing programs in the community. Lozada's ultimate goal is to establish a club team at Loras.
Simply Lacrosse is a hub of user content geared towards helping spread the gospel of lacrosse. I am also a registered user and contribute blogs occasionally. Most are reprints from this site, but they help increase exposure.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CILA Summer League - Week 7 Results

Holy twofer Batman! I actually managed to pick not one, but both winners in last night's CILA Summer League games. I even managed to nail the scoreline! Unprecedented. Too bad I was secretly hoping that the game one scoreline would have been reversed...
Game 1 - Mi Casa Rustic Furniture 6, Wellspring Parable 10
History has proven that we have had issues finishing. Specifically I have failed to put the ball in the net. When I made the predictions yesterday, I had no idea that we would be missing any players, let alone some of our key guys. Miska, Aukes, Blay, Kaufmann, Steele, and Strachan were all MIA last night. A few Lightning players filled in for us at defense and attack. We were also fortunate to have a visiting midfielder, form University of South Dakota laxer Nate aka Professor M. His ability to run was a big help in the second half.
Ben Couch was a big help as he scored at least a couple for us. Van Dyke and Johnston made extra special efforts on the field and found the back of the net. Although I was held scoreless, I did manage to get a couple of decent shots and was more effective than I have been recently. I did manage to get a penalty for a hit on defender Jamie Tornberg; it was retaliation for making me run hard...
The Young Guns played in typical fashion. Their defense was on the spot and stingy. Taylor was pretty solid despite having not played for three weeks. The ball moved effectively around the midfield and attack. The only thing slowing the team down was the bad mojo from Zielonko's Buddha's Ballers Pro7. The bucket looked strangely out of place...
It was a well fought game and the Young Guns definitely earned their victory.
Game 2 - Lightning Wear 7, Clark Physical Therapy 2
I will be honest, I did not see much of this game. Zielonko and Burk both volunteered to ref so I set about doing a ball search (we ended up losing two). Along the way I got sidetracked talking to Nate and then a neighborhood resident. The gentleman lives roughly behind the goal and has been watching us off and on throughout the season from the comfort of his driveway. Gotta say, sitting out with a cold beer to watch some lax doesn't sound half bad...
One thing I did notice was that the field was much quieter than usual during the 6:45 game. There also seemed to be fewer shenanigans. Wonder why that was - almost like somebody was absent...
From what I did see, Clark played much better than the scoreline. Goalie Fitch was making some great saves on hard shots; this game tied for the fewest goals scored by the Bolts (7). The Bolts' ability to possess the ball seemed to confound Clark, which may have been the difference.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CILA Summer League Predictions - Week 7

After the extreme temperature and its imminent threat of death forced us to cancel last week, I had to shuffle the games a bit. Because I am lazy, I just pushed last week's game to today and today's game to Monday. It should all be very clear on the website, but by all means, please contact me with questions.
This week's games mark the second half of the regular season. Comprised of rematches from the league's first week, this week's match ups will be repeated on Monday. Call it poor scheduling if you must; after all one would think a simple three week cycle would have worked just fine...
Anyway, let's move on to the predictions:
Game 1 - Mi Casa Rustic Furniture vs Wellspring Parable
Mi Casa has been unable to win. Wellspring has really only been challenged by Lightning. This should be a no brainer. With Zielonko and Nielsen helming a team of young talent, the Young Guns are a virtual strike force. They are quick and agile with great communication and organization. Mi Casa has a wealth of talent spread across the field, but is unable to function as a unit. As a leader and a player, I have consistently failed to perform, but I seek to rectify that every week.
Prediction: Wellspring by 4
Game 2 - Lightning Wear vs Clark Physical Therapy
Clark has improved significantly since the last time these teams met. Unfortunately for them, so has Lightning Wear. Despite having a strong team, Clark will face an uphill battle with the Bolts. The Bolts will barely break a sweat in this one despite Clark's strong and impressive play.
Lightning Wear by 5

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Championship High School Showcase

I told you earlier that ESPNU is a great channel for lacrosse fans. This week, the U will be airing the Champion High School Showcase, a US Lacrosse event featuring the top high school boys' and girls' lacrosse players in the nation, will be featured on the ESPN networks. The Champion High School Showcase begins on Sunday, July 18 from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and runs through Thursday, July 22. The girls' games will be live online. The boys game will be aired via tape delay on ESPNU.
The times listed below are Des Moines time.

ESPN Schedule of Championship High School Showcase

July 19Girls HSS ConsolationESPN3.com9 a.m.
July 19Girls HSS ChampionshipESPN3.com11 a.m.
July 25Boys HSS ChampionshipESPNU6 p.m.

Opening Round Winding Down

Today is the last day of the opening round of the 2010 FIL World Championships. At this point we know that Canada is advancing straight to the semifinals. The US is assured an opportunity to move on. Germany cannot advance to the medal round. And the Iroquois have been officially disqualified. Nearly everything else is up for grabs in the Blue Division.
Coming into today's games, Canada is sitting on a perfect record (4-0) and is facing England (2-2). Aside from the single goal loss to Canada, the US (3-1) has been perfect. We will face Japan (2-2) today. Australia (1-3), ranked third prior to the tournament is looking for a chance to squeak into the semifinals against winless Germany (0-4) today.
The top two teams from the Blue Division will advance directly to the semifinals. Canada has clinched their spot and the US will most likely receive the second. In a surprising turn of events, Japan will advance to the quarterfinal round following yesterday's 11-9 upset against Australia. Despite the prospect of losing to the US today, the win is enough to propel the Japanese toward medal contention. England may sit atop the Japanese in the standings, but their loss to Australia might be their undoing. According to the tournament website:
England can still get through to the semis if they beat Canada, the defending champions, tonight, or Germany surprise Australia. But with the top four positions decided by head-to-head meetings it now looks like both Australia and Japan will progress.
The third and fourth place teams from the Blue Division will advance to the quarterfinals where they will face the top two teams from the remaining divisions. The winners of those games will advance to the semi finals and medal round.
The Netherlands confirmed their spot in the quarterfinals with a 9-8 victory over Wales earlier today. Scotland and Ireland will play for the last spot later today. The two are very familiar with each other after playing in numerous European and Celtic Cup competitions over the years. Scotland is more established, but Ireland seems to have more access to American players and instructors. This game will be a battle which may wear the winning team out to the point of fatigue in their next game.
I predicted the Japanese win yesterday in an email to my wife. Although I am cheering for the US, Japan has won my heart. In a way, they remind me of lacrosse in the Midwest. Most of the athletes in Japan never played the sport before college and have to rely on their raw athletic ability to win games. They incorporate their basic knowledge and use what strengths they have to make up for a lack of experience. They stay committed to their game plan and demonstrate a lot of heart on the field. At this moment, no other team in this tournament embodies the spirit of lacrosse like the Japanese.
Mark it down: Japan will win the bronze this year.
As a side note - did you notice who makes their uniforms? Look closely. That is a Mizuno logo on the left chest. You may recall that way back in November 2008 I said that Mizuno will eventually move into lacrosse, most likely after Easton. Now that the latter has done so, surely the Japanese company cannot be too far behind. I realize that the uniform means very little, after all Nike made lax uniforms for years before producing equipment. But it is an interesting thought, isn't it?

US Lax Team on ESPNU This Weekend

For those that are not registered US Lacrosse members or choose to ignore their email, I received some great news this morning - US Lacrosse has taken action to get Saturday's Championship game broadcast on ESPNU!!!! The game will be shown live at 10:00 AM Des Moines time on Mediacom Channel 178 (check the Direct TV and Dish Network listings for ESPNU).If you do not have ESPNU, then I have to ask: What the hell is wrong with you?! ESPNU shows countless college lax games all spring and many great football games in the fall. They even show the occasional one off like this game. I highly advise looking into adding the channel.
Yes, this was originally posted last week. then it was pointed out to me that I do not know how to read a calendar. The game is scheduled for Saturday, July 24, 2010.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Up Games - Summer League

The 7/14/2010 CILA Summer League games have been reschedueld for Monday, July 26.

5:45 Wellspring vs Mi Casa

6:45 Clark vs Lightning

Sunday, July 18, 2010

US at the World Championships Thus Far

The Unites States opened their 2010 FIL World Championships with a massive 21-5 win over Australia on Friday. Unfortunately the second game was a 10-9 loss to Canada yesterday. Given that this roster was designed to beat Canada above all else, this loss looks bad. However, it was only a single goal. Also, Canada lost to the Us in their opening round meeting back in 2006. We all know what happened when they met in the final...
Blue Division Standings
Team Played Won Lost GF GA
Canada 2 2 0 27 13
United States 2 1 1 30 15
England 2 1 1 20 13
Japan 2 1 1 19 26
Australia 2 1 1 15 29
Germany 2 0 2 12 27

Orange Division
Ireland 2 2 0 44 7
Switzerland 2 1 1 14 16
Slovakia 2 1 1 14 27
South Korea 2 0 2 9 31

Plum Division
Spain 1 1 0 11 8
Hong Kong 1 1 0 10 8
Iroquois 0 0 0 0 0
Norway 2 0 2 16 21

Yellow Division
Poland 2 2 0 31 7
Finland 2 2 0 25 7
Bermuda 2 0 2 7 27
Denmark 2 0 2 7 29

Red Division
Czech Republic 2 2 0 38 4
Sweden 2 2 0 36 5
Italy 2 0 2 6 33
Mexico 2 0 2 3 41

Turquoise Division
Scotland 2 2 0 38 12
New Zealand 2 1 1 26 21
Latvia 2 1 1 20 26
France 2 0 2 9 34

Grey Division
Wales 2 2 0 29 9
Netherlands 2 1 1 38 13
Austria 2 1 1 16 24
Argentina 2 0 2 8 45

The Iroquois have yet to arrive and compete. At this point, they have no chance of advancing. All indications are that they will not make any further attempts at travelling. What a shame.

Tribe 7