Above – FCA SoFlo wins U13 Championship
Delray Beach, FL – This Father’s Day Weekend was a fun one as the inaugural Florida Lacrosse Cup faced off at the Seacrest Lacrosse Fields in Delray Beach. Seven division of boys and girls matched up for two days of tough competition on the grass mixed in with a fun and interactive tournament village and a Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Florida Launch game.
The fields opened early Saturday as games began at 8am. Players arriving for warmups as early as 6:30 from programs all over the Sunshine State quickly noticed they were in for a few new wrinkles at this tournament. Every goal on every field was provided by Boca Raton’s own Gladiator Lacrosse. Their Casey Powell Signature Edition black goals with heavy gauge black netting stood out immediately. Gatorade, a prominent tournament sponsor, provided hydration stations with their sports drink and water on every sideline while shading the scorers’ tables with large orange tents and the scorekeepers at the Florida Lacrosse Cup were the third referees adding an extra official to every game while allowing referee groups to rotate one member out of the sun every game – a much appreciated aspect in their day which translated to better managed games for the players. All officials were under the direction of tournament referee director, Michael Bolger.
The Ballistic program from Ft. Myers had an early game against the Florida Aces, formerly the Wellington Lacrosse Club. Monsters Lacrosse came down from Sarasota to take on a different Aces club and two area stalwarts, FCA SoFlo and Florida Elite rounded out the first trio of matches on the day. Soon followed players from clubs like Braveheart, the SOFLA Sharks, Lady Swashbucklers and Choas as the girls HS division began. The World Lacrosse Foundation team in their final tune up for the World Series of Lacrosse in Denver, CO, arrived for their late morning first match against Florida Elite.
As the players were beginning their weekend so were the vendors. One clear goal of the event organizers was to create an interactive space for companies to show off their wares. Two of the tournament sponsors paired up to create one very popular exhibit when Gladiator Lacrosse and True got together juxtaposing demo models of the entire line of True lacrosse shafts with Gladiator’s goals and bouncebacks for players to really get a good feel for both company’s products. Adding to the fun was a DYG Max-It unit to measure the speed of player’s shots and Rukket Sports provided the safety backstop. Cascade and Maverik Lacrosse was set up not far away with more demo models of their gear and Rukket portable goals. Maverik rep Chris Keating soon found himself in the midst of some 2 on 2 pickup games. Simax Sports brought their on-the-spot custom apparel exhibit to the venue making tournament tees that allowed people to add their own flair. SKLZ, a company known far more in the soccer, football and baseball worlds, set up their training gear for players to use as a warm-up zone and recovery area. MacWear Lacrosse brought their usual spectacular selection of equipment, apparel and accessories. Throw in the buzz around the Florida Launch tent and the tournament village was bustling all weekend.
Saturday night all tournament players and coaches received tickets to the Florida Launch game at FAU Stadium against the Charlotte Hounds. And while the weather cooperated for the tournament on Saturday, it seemed bound and determined to have its way that evening. Storms brought heavy rains, wind and lightning to South Florida and drove spectators under cover. Tournament teams had been looking forward to playing an exhibition on the field prior to the pro game but their matchup was cancelled when the delays went past the first hour. Benefitting from the squalls were the coaches and VIPs and the Coaches Social in the stadium Recruiting Room who were dry and comfortable with a catered dinner and visits from Launch coaches and players. Not to leave out the fans upstairs, both Launch and Hounds players spent a lot of time mixing with the fans, signing autographs and making life long memories for the young ones. The continued storms forced the first game cancellation in the 16 years of Major League Lacrosse but at least fans got the silver lining of being a part of history.
Championship Day on Sunday brought about a lot of smiles. The rains from the previous night had cleared and sun dried the fields quickly for some fierce play. After winding down pool play, the HS A Boys were the first division to hang gold medals around their neck. There Florida Elite completed an 18-0 summer season with its fourth tournament title. Title game kept coming fast and furious after that and with each one came a round of finalists presented with silver medals and champions receiving their gold. Teams were given pieces of Mogul Mesh to award to their weekend leaders and the MVPs earned custom white and gold composite shafts made by True exclusively for the winners of a few select tournaments across the country this summer. Boca Bandits took home HS B honors. The World Lacrosse Foundation captured the U15 division. FCA SoFlo won U13 while Tony Lowe’s Snipers program garnered gold in both the U11 and U9 groups. The ladies title was earned by Braveheart Lacrosse coached by 2016 NCAA champ Olivia Ferrucci from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Without question the Florida Lacrosse Cup established itself as a destination event in the landscape of summer ball in Florida. A well-run tournament that provided participating programs with good value for their entry fee and great fun for the players and families both on and off the field.
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