Thanks to Coach Lloyd Hamilton for the write up and pictures of the trip!
Day 1. Thursday. June 23, 2016-
After a week and a half of recruiting in the Maryland area I couldn’t have been more excited to fly back to South Florida to get the Florida Kings experience started! My excitement soon turned to frustration as my flight from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale was cancelled due to weather in the Baltimore area. After a few moments of panic Southwest was able to sneak me on a flight into West Palm Beach and I was off! It was great to get back to Lynn University, I have recruited at various schools throughout the country this summer however something about this place is just truly special… The Itinerary of the first night of the Florida Kings can be seen below.
6pm – 7pm = Check-in at EML residence halls. (Here we got the boys checked into the dorm rooms that they would be staying in for the two day Florida Kings training camp at Lynn University.
7pm – 7:45pm = Dinner in Elmore Dining hall (This was a great opportunity for our players and coaches to get to know each other. We played a little icebreaker game going around the dinner table and letting everyone know your name, position, school, future school etc.
8:30- 10 PM = Practice – Our first practice began at approximately 8:30. Can you really beat 80 degrees under the lights in South Florida?? Our first practice consisted of stick work, one on ones, two on twos, and a basic introduction to our offense. The boys displayed great focus and attentiveness and we were able to rip through the session and get a lot done. The following players were able to take part in the 2 day training camp at Lynn University.
Nick McCabe Midfield Boca Raton/ Rutgers
Andrew Packer Attack Benjamin/ Maryland
Christian Cropp Midfield Benjamin/ Yale
Brandon Rudtiz LSM Boca Raton/ Cleveland State
Reagan Griffith Attack Cardinal Mooney/ Lynn
Jared Chaloux Midfield St John Paul II/ Lynn
Jeremy Lapayowker University School 18
Chase Stokes Vero Beach/ Lynn
Davis Diamond St Andrews/ Albany
Jesse Devoursney Boca Raton/ Essex Community College
Roberto Villisana American Heritage/ Florida Tech
Coach Lloyd Hamilton Lynn University
Coach Brian Kingsbury Lynn University
Shaun Mcdonald – Cicero North Syracuse/ Lynn
Mikey Urso – St John Paul II/ Lynn
Pat Brothers – Malden Catholic/ Le Moyne/ Lynn
10:30-11:30- After practice concluded the boys showered up and we all gathered in one of the dorm rooms to chat it up and get to know each other a little bit. This turned into a platform for Coach Kingsbury to tell some of his many ridiculous stories about his travels after graduating from the University of Maryland. I think this is the point some of the boys began thinking to themselves “What the hell did we get ourselves into with these two coaches!” After chatting it up for hours it was time for lights out as we had a long day of practices the next day. (Side note. No one got any sleep as Coach Kingsbury was snoring so loud that the Boca PD was receiving noise complaints the entire night!)
Day 2 Friday June 24th 2016
7am – 7:45am = Breakfast- The Lynn University dining staff was on top of their game this morning providing with a great spread to energize our boys for a long day of double sessions. Our attendance was 100 percent at breakfast which amazed me as David Diamond claimed he hadn’t been awake before 10 am in months! After the conclusion of breakfast we gave the boys an hour to relax before our first session.
10AM- 12PM= It was a scorcher for the first session but the boys were ready to put in the work regardless. The first practice of the day consisted of stick work, groundballs, shooting, 1 on 1s, 2 on 2’s as well as an introduction into man up and man down. At the conclusion of practice the boys were given two hours to swim, eat and relax before the next session at 2 PM.
2PM- 3PM= After the morning session I didn’t think it was possible for it to get any hotter however, I was certainly wrong. With this being said, we decided to shorten up the practice and really get after it for that short period of time. The second session consisted of stick work and then 40 minutes of 6 v 6 and man up man down. The boys got a lot out of this session and truly did a great job battling the heat. After the session we all headed our separate ways and got ready to travel Saturday to Colorado.
Day 3 June 25th 2016
Saturday the 25th was intended as a travel day for the Kings to travel to Denver and then up to Vail. My flight out to Denver left at 7:30 AM out of Fort Lauderdale. It was an early morning to say the least. I was tasked with traveling with all of the uniforms and paperwork needed for the tournament. The entire flight to Denver I was a nervous wreck that somehow the luggage was going to be lost and we would not have any jerseys for the tournament. I was even starting to prepare my speech to Coach Kingsbury letting him know that this was indeed not my fault for once! Luckily United did a great job and all of our belongings made it safely to Denver. I cannot say the same about two of our local Boca Raton products…. The dynamic duo of Jesse Devoursney and Davis Diamond called me to let me know that they had missed their flights as they were sitting at the wrong gate…. They would now be getting into Denver at 11 PM. With the Lloyd Van departing for Vail at 4PM it was Lynn student athlete Cody Bartusiak to the rescue. Luckily Cody lives in Denver and was able to pick the Boca boys up at the airport and transport the 2 hours up to Vail! Way to save the day Barr!
Day 4 June 26th
The opening day of the tournament is finally upon us. Opening day consists of 3 games in which you play every team in your group once. We were tasked with playing at 11, 1 and 3 PM. We were supposed to meet at the field at 10 AM to pass out uniforms and get to know each other before the first game. This however would not be the case as Coach Lloyd decided it would be a good idea to lock the van keys in the car with all the uniforms inside of it! Needless to say I was very happy that Coach Kingsbury was still traveling to Vail and unable to yell at me for being a moron! After 20 minutes of panic Beaver Creek security was able to unlock the door and we were off to the fields! We arrived at the fields and were mesmerized with the scenery surround our location. Were we really about to play a lacrosse game here? The remaining players arrived at the fields and we finally had our full roster in front of us! The following players met us in Vail:
Dryden Brous FOGO Steven Decatur/ Lynn
Jackson Colling Midfield Lake Highland Prep/ Boston University
Colin O’Hare Midfield Benjamin School/ Ohio State
Michael Fricke/ Valor/ Bentley
Carson Pratt Colorado Academy/ Onondaga Community College
Sean Escalante Glenelg/ Lynn
Colin McClelland Howard/ Lynn
Daniel Simpson Chaparral/ Lynn
Tyler Reynolds Regis Jesuit/ Sacred Heart
Cleveland McCarthy Boulder HS/ CO Boulder
Coach Nate Watkins Colorado Fire/ Maryland-
Game #1 11AM vs Red Bandanas (National Team)
Game 1 we were tasked with competing against a very talented Red Bandanas team who would go on to win the division 1 championship. The Bandanas were loaded with division 1 talent including Harvard bound midfielder Jeremy Magno, Pennsylvania bound defender Kyle Thornton, and Yale bound midfielder Lucas Cotler to name a few. The boys battled hard however fell 8-5 against the Bandanas. Some of the highlights from this game include Lynn Bound FOGO Dryden Brous winning 8-17 draws against Notre Dame bound Kyle Hyland. Ohio State bound Midfielder Colin O’Hare scored two very nice goals dodging down the left and right alley. The highlight of the game came from Rutgers bound Nick McCabe. Davis Diamond carried the ball behind the cage and fed McCabe in front of the goal. McCabe caught the ball under a great deal of pressure and unleashed a behind the back shot from about 10 yards out into the lower corner of the goal. This brought a bunch of oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
Game #2 1 PM vs Minnesota Chill
Game 2 came and the boys were ready to roll vs. a very talented Minnesota Chill team. With one game under our belts the boys were much more comfortable playing with each other. The Florida Kings ended up defeating the Chill 7-3. Some highlights include the introduction of the Kings two way midfield line. Sean Escalante (Glenelg/ Lynn) Nick McCabe (Boca Raton/ Rutgers) Michael Fricke (Valor/ Bentley) I was extremely impressed with this lines ability to play on both sides of the ball. These 3 along with Long stick midfielders Brandon Ruditz (Boca Raton/ Cleveland State) and Carson Pratt (Colorado Academy/ OCC) made it very difficult for an extremely potent Chill midfield to get anything going. Offensively , Vail got its first taste of the Benjamin duo of Yale Bound Christian Cropp and Maryland bound Andrew Packer. Both players did a great job of dodging and finishing their open opportunities. Overall it was a solid win which gave the Florida Kings its first ever victory as a team!
Game #3 3 PM vs FCA National
It was time for game #3 of the day for the Kings VS FCA National. FCA was loaded with division 1 talent including Hopkins bound attackmen Forry Smith, UPenn bound goalie Alex Demarco and local Oxbridge product Colin Hayek who is heading to the University of Maryland. Game 3 was very special for the Kings as our leader Coach Kingsbury and Director of Media Relations Jessica Kingsbury finally arrived from a wedding in Vermont. Now the team was 100% complete. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead the Kings ended up falling to FCA 8-6 in a great game. Some highlights included two Davis Diamond behind the back goals as well as some big hits by Lynn bound Daniel Simpson. Both McClleland and Lapayowker did a great job in the cage only allowing 8 goals to a very potent offense. After the game the team headed to the Eagle River to take a dip in the ice cold water. Following our refreshing swim we headed to Ti Amo Italian restaurant for a great team meal. Overall despite a 1-2 start it was a great first day for the Florida Kings!
Day #5 9AM vs Brady’s Bunch
Today was the beginning of division 2 bracket play for the Vail Shootout. The Kings were tasked with taking on Brady’s Bunch National in the quarterfinals. The Bunch are a team consisting of several very talented d1 and d2 commits. From the opening faceoff you had a feeling that this game was going to be an absolute war as neither team wanted to lose. The Kings ended up winning a penalty filled game (13 total penalties) 13-11. The stars of this game certainly had to be our man down defense as they were tasked with killing 9 penalties including 4 sepeprate 2 minute non releasable penalties. The man down unit consisted of.. Goalies Colin Mcclleland and Jeremy Lapayowker. Defenders. Daniel Simpson, Cleveland McCarthy, Tyler Reynolds, Jesse Devoursney. Brandon Ruditz, Carson Pratt, and crease guy Sean Escalante. Besides the man down unit the Kings were carried by Albany bound Davis Diamond who had 3 goals and an assist as well as Lynn bound Jared Chaloux who had 2 goals out of the midfield. The win would send the Kings to the semifinals where they would meet the winner of Minnesota and Kansas City.
Day #6 11AM vs Minnesota Chill
The semifinals for the Florida Kings was against a familiar foe in the Minnesota Chill. The Kings were ready to play from the opening faceoff and ended up defeating the chill 12-3. Two players that stood out in this semifinal matchup were Reagan Griffith and Chase Stokes who did a great job finishing the ball. Jeremy Lapayowker of University School had a few big saves to keep the Chill off the board. Andrew Packer did a great job dodging from x and demonstrating his lightning quick first step. With the win the Kings advanced to the Division 2 championship.
After the conclusion of the semifinals it was time for the Kings to head rafting on the Eagle River! Most of the boys had never been rafting before so needless to say the excitement level was very high.
Raft #1- Coach Kingsbury, Coach Lloyd, Coach Watkins, Jessica Kingsbury, Cody Bartusiak
Raft #2- Colin O’Hare, Christian Cropp, Mr. Cropp, Andrew Packer, Roberto Villisana
Raft #3- Davis Diamond, Brandon Ruditz, Jared Chaloux, Chase Stokes, Jesse Devoursney
Raft #1- Raft 1 had an eventful trip but not nearly as eventful as raft #3. The highlight of raft #1 was when our Guide Glenn fell out of the raft and was panicking. If it wasn’t for the quick thinking of former Terp Nate Watkins old Glenn might still be floating down the Ol Eagle River!
Raft #2- Raft #2 had a relatively uneventful trip other than splashing the other boats raft #2 stayed relatively chill. This could be a result of the fact that the Cropps are seasoned rafters.
Raft #3- While raft #2 was relatively uneventful the same cannot be said about raft #3. We will call this the Boca Raft. The Boca Raft ended up flipping over after the raft guide took his eyes off of the River to laugh at old Glenn from Raft #1 floating in the water. Needless to say after flipping raft #3 will remember their trip for a long time!
Championship Wednesday Rematch vs Brady’s Bunch.
Championship Wednesday consisted of a rematch vs the Brady’s Bunch. From warm-ups it was evident that both teams were fired up and ready to go. From the opening faceoff it was a very physical and intense game. Lynn bound Dryden Brous did a great job controlling the possession battle by winning faceoff after faceoff. Brady’s Bunch tried using a variety of faceoff men both short and long poles however Brous was overall too strong. Michael Fricke started the Kings scoring by scoring two great goals off feeds from the slick Davis Diamond. Christian Cropp put the Kings on his back and scored 4 straight goals for the Kings. The Yale product demonstrated his rare combination of size and speed making him a nightmare for the Bunch to matchup with. Jackson Colling who is headed to Boston University saved his best game for last scoring three very impressive goals. The Kings would go on to defeat Brady Bunch 16-10 to win the division 2 championship. It was a perfect ending to a perfect week.
Overall the Vail Shootout provided an excellent opportunity for the Florida Kings to compete against some of the best lacrosse players in the country. I couldn’t have been prouder to coach these young men. They were a phenomenal representation of the state of Florida as well as the sport of lacrosse in general. I could go on all day talking about how good of players these kids were however more importantly these kids are AMAZING PEOPLE. I look forward to watching all of these players at the next level. Year 1 of the Florida Kings is in the books and we can’t wait for year #2.
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