LAKE PLACID - After six years of coming close, Graph Tex finally won a title competing in the Men's Masters 1 Division at the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament.
The squad made up of Colgate alumni, along with some other former college standouts, had to go into sudden-death overtime to win its first championship in the division. In a see-saw game on Aug. 11, Graph Tex denied the Burnt Orange's bid for a three-peat when Peter Millimar scored in overtime to lift his team to a 9-8 victory over the graduates from Syracuse University.
Not only did Millimar net the game-winner in overtime, he also notched the last three goals in regulation for Graph Tex, which finished the tournament with a 4-0 record.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
A player from the Olden Flyers shoots just wide of the net against Team Harpoon/Native Staffing in the Masters 2 title game.
"It feels good to finally get past those guys," said Millimar, who hails from Rochester and played for Gettysburg College. "We've been right in the hunt, but they always seemed to beat us in the semifinals or the finals in the past. Their team is loaded with great players.
"We were kind of short on numbers, so we tried to slow it down," Millimar continued. "We had to be patient and pick our spots. I think the game plan worked out pretty nicely."
Burnt Orange held a 5-3 advantage in the game, and Graph Tex responded with five straight goals to grab what looked like a comfortable 8-5 edge well into the fourth quarter. With a sizable crowd of Syracuse lacrosse fans lining the field, Burnt Orange then rallied with three unanswered tallies, including the game-tying goal with just seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Millimar, however, ended Burnt Orange's hopes for a third championship in a row when he buried a shot on the first Graph Tex possession of sudden-death.
"Both teams played their hearts out," said Burnt Orange coach Bob "Soot" Zatorski, a Saranac Lake resident. "You couldn't have asked for a better match. We've been playing those guys for a long time, and they came up a goal better than we did this time. I'm just thankful for all the Syracuse support that we see here year after year."
"Coming in here, especially as the defending champion, you always know it's going to be difficult," said Burnt Orange captain Chris McCartan. "The competition here is great. Obviously, you always want to win, but it's hard to say you are disappointed when you are with your friends, with your family, in the mountains and having the time of your life."
In another close Lake Placid Summit championship game, Power Tek successfully defended its Men's Open 1 title, topping the Big Red Steelheads 13-11 in a battle of teams with loads of players from central New York.
"This is the only time, once a year, when we get together to have a little fun," said Graph Tex goalie Chris Lalli after the game as he nursed a split-open chin. "This division has 16 teams that are all good, and every game is competitive, so we're pretty happy going 4-0 to win a championship.
"We picked each other up on both sides of the ball," Lalli added. "We struggled scoring goals on occasion this week, and that's when our defense came through. And when our defense struggled, we did get some offense. Hopefully, we can come back and make it three in a row next year."
Ten championship games were played Aug. 11 on the final day of the tournament in Lake Placid. In the Men's Open 2, Power Strangers posted a 9-4 victory over Stixx and Stones' and Team STX topped LaxStaches 12-3 to win the Women's Open 1 division. In the Women's Open Division 2, Goons With Spoons edged Team Renegade 8-7 for the title.
Harpoon/Native Staffing topped the Olden Flyers 13-9 to take the Men's Masters 2 title, Pure Performance defeated Brown State 11-7 in Men's Masters 3, Salin Shoe stopped the Slo Moes 7-3 for the Men's Grand Masters crown, Checkmate beat Cloudsplitters 10-3 in the Men's Grand Masters 2 final. and The Guinness Stouts handed the OWU Legends a 6-4 setback to win the Mens Grand Masters 3 title.
The seven-day Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament featured more than 230 teams. The dates for the 25th Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament next year are set for Aug. 4-10.
"The scope of the tournament has certainly broadened over the past few years," Zatorski said. "They've brought in the juniors, just like they did with the women's divisions. Not only is it the largest tournament in the world, it makes more money for Lake Placid than any other event. It's the highlight of everybody's summer."
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes girls national team won the 2014-2016 girls division at the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic with an 11-6 win over Mass Elite Red.
Featuring a roster of standout players, including girls from North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, FCA outscored the competition 83-12 and won all five of its games in rolling to the title.
Arvak Marshall, who coached the FCA girls team, said the experience was a special one for the players who came together for the event.
"It was kind of unique in that we have girls from all over the place, and we really only had one practice," said Marshall, who was also the coach of the FCA girls team that competed in the girls 2013-2015 division last summer. "It was just a matter of everyone coming in on Sunday and spending an hour at practice together to get to know one another."
Standing out for FCA was Ella Bonafede (Duke), who put up two goals and an assist in the championship win and earned most valuable player honors. Taylor Gephardt (Georgetown) netted three goals in the win over Mass Elite. Other college-committed players making a big impact this week included Olivia Cole (Florida), Kelsey Dupere (Elon), Allie Rogers (Princeton), Abbit Britton (Liberty), Lizzy Schwien (Navy) and Natalie Irwin (Navy).
Other FCA titles this included U-18 Gold champion FCA National boys team and the FCA 2015 boys team that won the U-18 Silver division.
The Dazzling Divas, a team based in Rocky Point on Long Island, were crowned the champions Wednesday of the first division for girls who are rising sophomores and freshmen in high school, the 2017-2018 bracket.
The team completed a 5-0 run through the competition with a 10-8 victory over the Lady Eagles, who are also from Rocky Point.
"We've been preparing for the last six months," said Benny Moscatiello, who found the Dazzling Divas as a pickup team, which has since blossomed into a squad with select players from Rocky Point and the surrounding area.
Super Grand Masters
The Smokey Joe's Quakers won the men's Super Grand Masters championship at the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic with a 9-8 victory over Atlantic Sportswear.
Gary Martin scored in overtime to lift the Quakers on an assist from Mike Persky, who finished the game with three goals and an assist. Martin finished the game with two goals and earned MVP honors. Paul Thomas contributed a goal and an assist.
Chuck Leitner, who played at the University of Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1981, was in the cage for the Smokey Joe's Quakers, which is a team made up mostly of Penn alumni and is sponsored by a bar - Smokey Joe's - located on the edge of the Penn campus in Philadelphia.
"It was a great experience," Leitner said. "We had a great team and a good group of guys."
Leitner credited Quakers face-off men Tom Hannum and John Bodnar for helping lead the team to a clean 4-0 record, outscoring the competition 54-10 along the way.
"They were dominant in every game and won big face-offs for us in the championship," Leitner said.
The Super Grand Masters edition of the Quakers - who have teams in numerous men's and women's divisions at this year's Summit Classic - includes some players who attended other colleges, including Princeton, Harvard, Hobart and Bowdoin.
Leitner said the players came together and were excited to outlast Atlantic Sportswear.
"We really enjoy each other's company and really enjoy playing together," he said. "It was very exciting. We've played Atlantic Sportswear several times at tournaments around the country and here, so it was nice to beat them."