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Thursday, August 5, 2010

CILA Summer League - Week 9 Results

Last night was the final game of the regular season for the 2010 Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Summer League. Every team was unexpededly shorthanded, which resulted in some terrible predictions yesterday. At the time of writing, I only knew of five players that would be absent - in the entire league. I learned of a couple more a few hours before game time. I figured that a couple more would miss due to various sports camps and vacations. Every team ended up missing roughly half of their rosters.
Game 1 - Clark Physical Therapy 7, Mi Casa 3
Due to absences, both teams had substitute goalies. Mark Anderson ventured to Des Moines once again to fill in for Clark. Kaufmann graciously hopped in the net for Mi Casa. The number of absences resulted in a 2-3-2 field once again with Levis and McDougal from Lightning filling in the holes on Clark's bench.
Newcomers Berg and Ladd were gone for Clark but leading attackman Ripchinski was on the field. Shoff was a strong leader in defense as always and Anderson wsa clutch in the net. Despite missing several key guys, Clark's ball movement was superb. Based on this performance, there is no doubt that they will be a formidable opponent to Wellspring next week.
Miska made a triumphant return for Mi Casa by scoring all three goals. My own return was less than glorious, but improved significantly when I switched to defense in the second half. Johnston was as strong as ever and Blay might just be the best all around defender in the league. The pieces are there for a strong run against undefeated Lightning Wear next week. It is just a matter of everybody showing up and working together.
Game 2 - Lightning Wear 14, Wellspring Parable 4
This game was in trouble from the start. Both teams were missing a large number of players, resulting in only two players at each position with no substitutes. With everybody exhausted from the first game, only one sub, Jacobs, was able to stick around. The absences for the Young Guns included Zielonko, Nielsen, and Crites - the core scorers. The Brothers Greiss were among those MIA for the Bolts, but leading scorers Bostwick and Ben Couch were present.
Couch and Bostwick kicked the game off with repeated runs through Kurt Sundermann and Dirk Arends to exploit goalie Taylor's rustiness after a month-long absence. Their run-and-gun style of play quickly drove up the score as Taylor tried to relocate his presence in net. The second quarter saw higher confidence from Taylor who demonstrated his ability to make tough saves despite letting in sloppy shots early.
The league's youngest player, Gardner, got on the board before the night was over. But the real story was Dirk Arends ability to score. After switching to attack, Poppa Arends put in a couple for the Young Guns - more than young Benny Arends. Meanwhile, Sam Arends grabbed a hat trick for the Bolts.
Despite the scoreline, the game had an air of pure fun. Both teams seemed relaxed and patient. Only one penalty was called, but that was due to a sloppy check rather than malice. Overall, this game was a nice way to close out the season.
Next week the intensity should pick up with the playoffs. Players should notify their captains ASAP if they will not make it. Since the playoffs carry more weight, I would prefer to avoid using subs from other teams if at all possible. A couple more experienced players have moved to the metro and contacted me this week. I have invited these players to serve as subs for the next two weeks to prevent potential subterfuge. Hopefully every team will have enough guys for us to play regular lax with a full line.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CILA Summer League Predictions - Week 9

Tonight marks the end of the CILA Summer League's regular season. Coming into tonight, the playoff pairings have been established: Clark Physical Therapy will face Wellspring Parable in the first game and #4 Mi Casa Rustic Furniture will face #1 Lightning Wear in the second. One win and six goals separate Clark from second place overall, which includes bragging rights over both teams comprised mainly of Valley players.

Game 1 - 5:45 -Clark Phyisical Therapy vs Mi Casa Rustic Furniture
Clark is looking to continue their strong play with a big win tonight. Although nothing will prevent them from facing the Young Guns next week, they are looking to take the mental edge with the #2 seed. Goalie Fitch is out this week, but league back up Anderson will be playing in his stead. Anderson is a solid keeper and will work hard to keep the Mi Casa shots out. Combined with Clark's strong play at all positions, this team will be a dominant force tonight.
Mi Casa has struggled to find the back of the net all summer. Last week saw a tight two goal loss to the league's best team, which is definitely a positive sign for the team. Key players Miska and Johnston have been MIA lately; the reemergence of both would do a lot to bolster Mi Casa's confidence. Aukes and Blay have been clutch with the d-poles and have helped bring Cafferata and Cook up to speed over the summer. Van Dyke has become something of an all star over the last few weeks and has worked well with Thompson at midfield. The rest of the team has shown improvement and their play gets stronger every game. I anticipate my return to the field tonight, possibly in a limited capacity. Burk will be out tonight.
Prediction: The passion is there for both teams, but Drake needs the win more and takes it by a pair.

Game 2 - 6:45 -Lightning Wear vs Wellspring Parable
Lightning Wear heads into this game looking to end the regular season with a perfect record. Their strong shooting and even stronger defense will pose a great challenge for the Young Guns. Their biggest weakness is ball movement. Their primary scorers tend to hold the ball rather than pass. So far the glory seeking strategy has paid off, but last week's tussle with last place Mi Casa was a little close for comfort.
The Young Guns want to beat Lightning. They want to teach the older players some humility. Largely comprised of Valley's future, they want to show that they will be able to dominate Nebraska League teams without Valley's players and graduates. This game is a chance for the Young Guns to make a statement about the next generation of lacrosse in West Des Moines. Their grit and determination will be strong. The communication is amazing and the ball movement is superb. The only question is whether or not goalie Taylor shows up - in the literal sense.
Prediction: Wellspring capitalizes on Lightning's confidence and goes full throttle for a one goal squeaker.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Louie D's Authentic Philly Steaks

Okay, this post has absolutely nothing to do with lacrosse. Sometimes I come across something so great that I simply have to share it with the world.
Last Friday my wife and I were running errands in West Des Moines. It was about dinner time as we headed home. I asked her if she wanted to stop and grab a bite. She suggested the newly opened Louie D's Authentic Philly Steaks on EP True Parkway. She previously ate at the downtown location (700 Locust) during a lunch break and had raved about how great Louie D's was. It was a no brainer.
The 1903 EP True Parkway location is not very large, but it packs a great atmosphere. Reminiscent of sandwich shops in much larger cities, the decor is simple and classy. The smell of beef with a faint tinge of grilled onions greets you from the open kitchen. The menu is large but not complicated. Louie offers a choice of steak or chicken Phillys; you can have yours plain or with cheese. Louie offers Provolone, American, or Whiz, which is highly recommended. You can add onions, peppers, or mushrooms for a quarter.
Sides are reasonably priced as well. Louie D's also offers pasta, salads, and other sandwiches. Everything is reasonable.
We both ordered a steak whiz wit* onions; I also had peppers. Oh my God! It was the best Philly Steak I have had in the Midwest. The meat was tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The onions and peppers were a treasure of caramelized sweetness. The cheese whiz brought the whole thing together. And the bread! Louie has real Amoroso Rolls flown in from Philadelphia to make his sandwiches truly authentic. It is just one of the little things that makes his sandwiches perfect.
The potato salad was quite great as well.
We were fortunate enough to visit when Louie himself was in the kitchen. As it was not yet peak dinner time, Louie came out to hang with us in the dining area. We learned of his start in catering, his long running career in insurance (which brought him to Des Moines), and more importantly, his quest to find a perfect Philly in Iowa. After growing frustrated with not getting the taste he remembers, Louie decided to open his own place. He opened his downtown location (lunch hours only) in March. The West Des Moines location had its grand opening on July 14.
Louie told us that he will be expanding the menu to include his homemade cheesecakes and other fresh desert items. Louie plans to sell the cheesecakes by the slice and half slice (they are massive). You can currently order whole ten inch cheesecakes 48 hours in advance.
He will also be adding another iconic sandwich soon - the Chicago Italian Beef. Surprisingly, nobody in Des Moines sells the Windy City's favorite sandwich. Just hearing him describe the new sandwich sparked a craving that brought me to the verge of a weekend road trip. You had better believe I am eager for him to launch it.

Downtown: 700 Locust St Ste 7 515-288-3115
West Des Moines: 1903 EP True Pkwy Ste 308 515-226-8368
*Not a typo! Louie asks that you order properly!

Tribe 7