BEVERLY HILLS DEFENSE SHUTS DOWN NEWP[ORT BEACH LACROSSE CLUB WITH A 6-1 WIN TALING THE REGULAR SEASON NORTH DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
BUCKS DEFENSE SHUTS DOWN NEWPORT BEACH
It’s been a strange relationship between Beverly Hills L.C. and Newport Beach L C over the years….there have been season sweeps….season sweeps followed with playoff losses…..five overtime games. But they are almost always close with lead changes and a decent amount of scoring….until today.
In a game that would decide the regular season North champion and reward that team with a first round playoff bye Beverly Hills had more takeaways than goals and the combination of Michael Gvozden and Pat Johnston in the Buck goal had six saves on seven Newport shots. The reason? The Buck defense played their best game of the season and the Buck offense, missing some of their big scorers played their smartest game of the year. And down to one full time FOGO with season ending injury to Nick Smith Wesleyan alum Jared Jacobs went nine for eleven at the “X” winning some cleanly and others with the help of his wing middies.
The scoring started three and a half minutes into the game withy close defenseman J D Johnson picking up a loose ball and clearing it past the Newport keeper giving Beverly Hills a one goal advantage. That was it for the first quarter scoring but the real story was the two takeaways by Dustin Doty and Johnny Brasko and one each by Alec Suleskyw and Sean Crane. They were successful going six for six on clearing attempts and had only two turnovers for the quarter.
Going into the second quarter with a one goal edge was certainly not comforting knowing how close these two teams usually played each other. The Bucks continues to reel off shots for the first seventeen minutes of the second quarter but the Newport keeper was a wall turning away seven shots up to that point. It wasn’t until there was 2:58 left on the clock when Sean Crane took the ball away from a Newport attacker and got the ball upfield to Will McCance who started a tic tac toe play with the ball passing to Casey Costello and finally Brett Tietjen who faked high and low and hit the back of the net. Brock Livingston followed at the 1:10 mark of the quarter feeding Will McCance for the score and giving Beverly Hills a 3-0 lead going into the half.
The third quarter saw only one score as Newport found the back of the net with 4:12 left and pulling within two goals. But Beverly Hills was still hungry and came out firing in the fourth and final quarter. First Will McCance returned the favor and fed Brock Livingston at the 14:47 k bringing the Buck lead back to three goals. Less than a minute later Jared Jacobs took the ball cleanly at the “X”. Newport doubled him with two poles and forced Jared into the corner but Jared was more than a FOGO and was able to fire a lefty pass to Will McCance just off the crease for another tally and a four goal edge. Brock Livingston closed out the scoring for the afternoon with a feed to none other than Will McCance and the Beverly Hills squad walked away with a 6-1 victory and a first round playoff bye.
The SCLAX League will close down for Fathers Day next Sunday but third seeded Venice Lax will have to travel down to Peninsula Park next Saturday to take on two seed Newport Beach. Beverly Hills will get back to action on Saturday June 23rd and will host the winner of the Newport/Venice game for the SCLAX North Division Championship. Game time and location will be announced.
A few players have asked about the new website banner that was posted last week so I’d like to explain my thinking. As is often the case the picture speaks for itself. Its #11 Sean Kane celebrating #18 Conor O’toole’s overtime winner against Beachcomber in the 2016 SCLAX Socal Championship game. But that’s only part of the story as the array of game shorts starting with the black shorts worn in our inaugural 2007 season transition to the blue shorts worn by the team today.
The black shorts were a last minute decision as Eric Baker who was coaching for me at Beverly Hills High School and I agreed that between us we knew of enough players to put together a team that could play with the likes of South Bay, 40 Thieves and the now defunct Hollywood Lacrosse Club. Our Beverly Hills Coaching staff alone created the nucleus of the team with Head Coach Tim Ray, Notre Dame faceoff middie Greg Glenday and Navy faceoff middie Perry Taylor. We had the numbers, a good core group but we were a little light in the goal. Those black shorts with our orange reversibles were getting old fast as we didn’t win a game the first two years although we took South Bay to overtime in year two and played a couple of other teams close.
In 2008 we knew we were starting to get some respect around the league as some familiar names permeated the squad…..John Brasko, Ray Erikson, Billy Wren, Kevin Berlandi who rejoined the Bucks this year, Mike Delabar and one of our biggest game changers, Dash Pomerantz who stepped into the cage. But everything really started to come together in 2009 when we switched to the white shorts. Casey Costello from UMass, Lee Alexanderson from RPI, Seth Cohen from Gettysburg, Sam Vollen from Syracuse and Michael Doneger from Johns Hopkins all joined the team as we started to draw some serious players. Adam Liegner from Vanderbilt also joined that year giving us two strong goalies. We all know how important numbers are in post collegiate ball as our roster grew to 32 players. We opened that season with a 12-10 win over Hollywood LC, the “jewel” of the league. That was more of a statement than a win because it was our first. We followed up the following week with an 11-5 win over a very strong Newport Beach club before losing to Adrenaline 8-6 in the next week. But we were on the map and lots of people wanted to play for us.
We were very optimistic going into the 2010 season as we figured “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and kept our white shorts. 2010 was a strong recruiting year as we added Brett Tietjen from Hofstra at attack, U of Penn’s Alex Weber at the midfield, Hobart’s Alex Jessup and our first UCSB alumni, James Guzik who settled into a close “D” anchored by Sam Vollen, John Brasko and Navy’s Paul Haberlein. Harvard’s Garret Schabb joined us at the faceoff “X” and we were ready to “rock n’roll”. Keep in mind that as we added some of the players that I mentioned, not too many guys were leaving. It was a fun team to play on. We weren’t the only team that was improving as the game grew out here on the coast. But we were competitive with everyone except San Diego’s Quiksilver Lacrosse Club.
So what do you do when you’re close to the top of the mountain? You upgrade your uniforms of course and that’s exactly what we did as we added orange shooter jerseys to the white shorts in 2011. Now I’m not saying they came for the new uniforms or just to play with Big James Guzik but all of a sudden we were “Gaucho Rich” as longpole Chris Schaible, middy Greg Fish and David Gorham joined the team along with U of Denver’s Cory Schaeffler and Claremont’s Phillip Trapp. Interestingly enough, all six of those guys played together at RLS Stevenson Prep in Pebble Beach. Skidmore College’s Charlie McNeill and Brendan Luftus, a ‘Cuse grad also joined the midfield and we were ready to take on anybody. We had won the SCLAX North Division in 2010. This year we won it all and despite being blown out by Olympic Club (Sean Kane & Nick Smith played on that team) we were a very satisfied club. But let’s get back to the uniforms.
We decided to go full blown orange in 2012 including our Cascade CPX team helmets. We continued to add strong players.. But a combination of a smaller roster, a tough schedule and players who couldn’t make a lot of the big games couldn’t be overcome. Going into the playoffs with a 9-1 record and beating Newport twice during the season the Bucks to Newport Beach in the second round of the playoffs.
Despite the downswing (we hadn’t missed the playoffs since 2008), we decided to keep our orange fashion statement and fill in some holes for the 2013 season. Devin Maxwell joined the squad after graduation and Stony Brook’s Scott Rothstein joined keeper Dash Pomerantz and replaced Adam Liegner & Sam Bennet in the cage. UCLA’s Alex Shen was added at close “D” and LSM. Ohio State’s Bryce Woodson and Middlebury’s Skyler Hopkins joined Devin in the midfield and Amherst attackman Evan Redwood stepped into a huge role at attack. The team placed second in the regular season and once again lost to Newport Beach in the SCLAX North Division finals.
We were going into the 2014 season and we were now two years removed from our last SCLAX Division Championship let alone the SCLAX SOCAL Championship. So what do you do? Well you change your uniforms….out with the orange and in with the gray. Our “D” was as strong as ever but we wanted to add some depth so we picked up Crespi High School All American and Wagner LSM Dustin Doty and his high school coach Brock Livingston who was going to anchor our new attack. We also added Johns Hopkins darting attackman Will McCance and another RLS alumni Kyle Peterson. With Evan Redwood still on the team and another RLS and UNC player joining in, points were not going to be a problem but just to make sure we added Jordan Bar and C J Jacobs at the midfield. Beverly Hills split with South Bay and swept Newport during the regular season. They took Newport 8-3 in the first round of the playoffs but their North Division finals opponent, South Bay was just too strong as their season ended with a 19-10 loss.
Beverly Hills was happy to go through the 2015 season with their gray uniforms but they were not happy about failing to get to the SCLAX SOCAL finals for three straight years. They needed to get their roster size up so they wouldn’t get stuck short on numbers when too many players had other commitments on game day. And they didn’t just add numbers……they added quality as in defenders and high school buddies Sean Crane who played at U of Colorado Boulder and J D Johnson who played at U of Michigan. Then we added another standout goalie Michael Levin, Brown All American and MLL Lizards goalie. Mike found Harvard teammates Sean Kane & Nick Smith and J D coaxed Conor O’toole onto the team and we were set for a run. The final piece of the puzzle was FOGO Cyle Moskowitz who would become a dominant faceoff specialist in tandem with faceoff middy Nick Smith.
Well who can forget the 2016 uniform “upgrade”? Yellow? Who the hell came up with that one. But you have to admit….we were noticed and we rode them right up through a second consecutive SCLAX SOCAL Championship. It was a great offseason as we added standouts like Tyler Hill, Dave Taylor, Alex Marcus, Tyler Landis, Alex de la Pena and Andrew Marcus to the midfield. Alex Jessup rejoined the club and as if our “D” wasn’t strong enough Shane Sweigart & Mark Bell stepped in to defensive roles. Combined to the talent we already had, that new group took us to starting with the ball in overtime against Olympic Club in the State Championship game.
That Championship game wetted our appetite but 2017 started off with the loss of a lot of talent. Skyler Hopkins moved up North, long time Buck and defensive standout James Guzik moved to Sacramento, Buck defensive anchor John Brasko changed jobs preventing him from playing, Andrew Mosko & Kyle Peterson went back East, FOGO Cyle Moskowitz went back to school, Tyler Landis jumped ship to South Bay, and SCLAX SOCAL Championship game winner Conor O’toole moved to Texas……….time to get out of the yellow and into some new blue uniforms thanks to Herbalife. The one thing about success on the field is that it really helps with bringing in new players and that’s what we did. WE filled in at attack with UCSB assistant coach Andrew White and Brandon Biaggi. With Cyle Moskowitz back in school, Tony Cavalero came out of retirement to help the team at the face off “X” giving some breathing room to Nick Smith. And you can never have enough defenders. Kyle Standiford joined the team and we all saw what he did last Sunday against Beachcomber. And by the way, have you looked in the cage lately? Michael Gvozden is no longer the enemy as the former Blue Jay is now sharing keeper responsibilities with Morgan Weireter. If one of these keepers can’t make a game we are still in great shape. What if both of these standouts are missing?....we have long time Beverly Hills goalie Dash Pomerantz and former MLL Lizard keeper Michael Levin waiting in the wings.
Eleven years and there are only two things that Beverly Hills has not done……win the State Championship and start a season 3-0……….Well we are now 3-0.