You could see from the pregame warmups that both teams were deep and ready to play about after both teams had just won their division finals less than 24 hours ago. How or would wither team be affected by the once per season “back to back”?
Although Beverly Hills started with a faceoff win they turned the ball over and the Thieves squad came down and bombarded Morgan Weireter with shot after shot. Morgan held out until the 17:03 mark when 40 Thieves finally hit the back of the net. They didn’t stop there as they continued to press and score and with 3:06 left in the quarter they scored again leaving the Bucks scratching their heads and down 5-0. Buck FOGO Jared Jacobs was winning most of the initial parts of the faceoffs but the Hills squad was being outhustled on the ensuing ground balls. You had to wonder if the Bucks had a comeback in them.
40Thieves fired the opening salvo of the second quarter going up 6-0 six minutes in but Collin Hoffman spotted a cutting Brad Neumann and Brad finally put the Bucks on the board halfway through the quarter. Beverly Hills scored two more in succession when Devin Maxwell fed Alex Suleskyw who proceeded to go high right corner past a very good goalie. Steve Brandenberg was up next as he fed a cutting Imari Davis for a score. All of a sudden it was a three goal game…..until the Thieves closed out the half with a score with just two seconds remaining. Beverly Hills cut down their turnovers to just two while Sean Crane and J D Johnson teamed up for two takeaways. Morgan Weireter added three saves giving him nine for the first half.
With the differential down to a manageable four goals with forty minutes remaining in the game the Hills squad felt they had a chance. Devin Maxwell fed Imari Davis from “X” two minutes into the half and a comeback started to look like a possibility. Brad Neumann scored on a crease curl for his second goal of the afternoon and Steve Brandenburg added another score off a Maxwell feed and all of a sudden it was a one goal game halfway through the third. But 40 Thieves wasn’t done yet and they closed out the quarter with two scores and taking a 9-6 lead after three.
Three minutes into the fourth Sean Kane drove hard toward the goal and pulled the Bucks within two. Brad Neumann followed with a solo shot and a hat trick for the afternoon closing the game to an 8-9 deficit. But comebacks take a lot of energy out of a team and that’s as close as they got as the Thieves went on another run and closed out the game with a 14-8 win.
They didn’t accomplish their preseason goal of getting back to the State Finals for the fourth time since 2011 but they still had a great year closing the regular season with a 6-2 record and going on to win the SCLAX North Division Championship against the Newport Beach Lacrosse Club. A lot of the guys will jump on to Brett Tietjen’s ULAX summer team and stay in “lacrosse shape” over the summer and in the fall they will turn their attention to the three or four game preseason schedule before they “get back on the horse” and start preparing for a 2020 run at the title.
And finally big thanks to our sponsor Roar Organic Electrolyte Infused Sports Drink and its president Brad Neumann. We are grateful for all of your support
BUCKS FINISH 9-1 REGULAR SEASON WITH 10-5 WIN OVER NEWPORT
Newport Beach traveled up to Culver City today to take on the SCLAX North Division’s top seeded Beverly Hills Bucks. They knew two things going in; even with a loss they still had a chance at the #2 seed in the North as they held the tiebreaker over South Bay who was facing a very good Venice Lax team. They also knew that Beverly Hills was out to avenge their five overtime loss earlier in the season at Newport.
The game started off with both teams unsettled and trading turnovers the first ten minutes of the game. But at the 11:35 mark Shane Sweigart took a clearing pass off a Morgan Weireter save and led a fast break clear feeding Casey Costello at the top of the box. Casey wasted no time juking the defender and putting the Bucks up by one. Nick Smith followed four minutes later with a clean face off win and a bull dodge from the restraining line and placed a left handed shot past the Newport keeper. But Beverly Hills went down a man on a technical holding call and Newport wasted no time cutting the lead to one goal and with just 15 seconds left in the first quarter Dave Taylor fed Andrew White coming from “X” and the quarter ended with Beverly Hills holding a 3-1 advantage. Beverly Hills held a 3-2 advantage at the faceoff “X” and each goalie had three saves. But the strong defensive play by the Bucks both close and at the midfield spoke to their scoring edge as takeaways by Mark Bell, Nick Smith and Kyle Standiford offset the four Buck turnovers while Newport had four turnovers with no takeaways.
Mark Bell added another forced turnover just three minutes into the second quarter and drove on the goal until he saw Brock Livingston set up on the crease. A quick cross crease flip and an even quicker Livingston spin put Beverly Hills up 4-1. Culver City coach Devin Maxwell pushed the lead up to four goals on a solo drive from the midfield but Newport answered at the 3:15 mark with a rocket from the midfield. Dave Taylor closed out the first half scoring when he repaid a favor and fed Andrew White for the score. It was a 6-2 Buck lead going into the half. Once again face off maestro Nick Smith held a 3-2 at the “X” and a critical ground ball by Kyle Standiford and takeaways by JD Johnson and Sean Crane more than offset the lone Beverly Hills second quarter turnover.
Just one minute and twenty seconds into the third quarter saw the most spectacular play of the game as Harvard’s Sean Kane swept around the crease without the ball. As he came beyond the pipe he made eye contact with Crespi’s Brock Livingston as he sold out and went completely horizontal Brock hit him with a hard pin point pass and Sean quicksticked the ball past the Newport keeper before he had a chance to react. Exactly three minutes later keeper Mike Gvozden worked a quick outlet pass off a save up to a streaking Buck middy that got the ball into the safe hands of Brock Livingston again. Once again the Brock to Sean Kane two man game was successful and the Beverly Hills lead stretched to six goals. But a Newport goal and lackluster play by both teams left the Bucks with an 8-3 lead going into the final quarter. Morgan Weireter split face off duty with Nick Smith and Beverly Hills went 3-4 at the “X”. JD Johnson & Mark Bell each had a critical ground ball and Sean Crane added another takeaway. Blue Jay keeper Mike Gvozden netted four saves in the quarter on five Newport shots.
Despite the five goal deficit Newport was in no mood to give up as they rattled off two quick fourth quarter scores closing the gap to three goals. But UCSB assistant coach Andrew White got involved quickly feeding Brandon Biaggi for a score with just 3:22 left in the game. And to put the game out of reach Devon Maxwell fed Andrew White with under a minute left and Beverly Hills walked away with a 10-5 win.
In its eleventh season in the SCLAX the Beverly Hills squad walked off the field knowing that this was their best campaign so far ending the regular season with a 9-1 record. There were still a few players on the team that remembered their first two seasons when they didn’t win a game. But they also remember 2011 when they won the SCLAX Championships but lost the State Championship to Olympic Club. They remember 2015 when they won the SCLAX Championship but lost the State Cup to Barbary Coast. And they certainly remember last year when they traveled up to the Bay as the SCLAX Champions and lost in overtime to Olympic Club. The expectations are very high for the 2017 Beverly Hills squad. They will have June 4th off while the #2 & #3 seeds fight it out to see who travels to Culver City on June 11th to take on the Bucks in the SCLAX North Division finals. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the South Division finals on June 17th on the home field of the North Division winner for the SCLAX SOCAL Championship. And the winner of that game will host the NORCAL Champion in the State Championship with the date to be determined.