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Photos by Stephen Nowland/Stephen Nowland Photography
From press release
There can only be one first time, and Team 91 Crush will go down in history as the first-ever world champions of the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse Presented by The Coca-Cola Company.
The Long Island-based club emerged victorious against the best U-13 boys teams in the world, holding off the Baltimore Lacrosse Club Crabs 19-8 in the championship game on Saturday, live on ESPN2 from Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.
The inaugural World Series brought teams from all over the United States to play during three days in Denver for an event that broadcast youth lacrosse on national television for the first time ever.
“The fact that it blew away all of our expectations with the level of play, the support of the fans and all of our sponsors and the great city of Denver,” said World Series of Youth Lacrosse founder Jake Steinfeld, “we’ll be back.”
As they did all week long in leading the event in scoring, Joey Spallina (six goals and two assists) and Andrew McAdorey (3, 4) were the catalysts in the world championship game for Team 91, who went undefeated in Denver, averaging 22 goals a game. Ninety-One beat 3d Select Colorado in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.
“I think for us this is something that’s been going on for some time, this level of play,” said 91 Crush head coach Joe Spallina, also the head coach of Major League Lacrosse’s New York Lizards and the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team. “What we talked about with our boys was that this is our opportunity to show to the world this level of lacrosse can be played at a younger level. And I can say this, they play very Major League Lacrosse like.”
The Crabs advanced past Rising Sons Lacrosse from Pennsylvania with a 10-5 Semifinal win in which goalie Harrison Spilker was named MVP. Led all tournament by Top 12 scorers Charlie O’Connor and John Gross, Baltimore went 5-1.
“I think this was a phenomenal opportunity,” said Crabs head coach Bradley Bartkowiak. “We’re here in an NFL stadium and hopefully some guys get a chance to play in a stadium like this again, but that’s not a guarantee. This was a phenomenal event, through and through first class.”
In other action on Saturday, the Michigan Warriors defeated Denver Elite 14-5, Leading Edge (N.J.) beat Team Carolina 21-7, and Eclipse (Conn.) beat C2C Dallas 12-8.
“It was a great experience,” said McAdorey of Team 91. “We were able to play on TV and we were able to do it as a group and a family. I want to thank Warrior and Coca-Cola for sponsoring us and giving youth lacrosse the opportunity to play on this level.”
ESPN2’s hour-and-a-half broadcast Saturday featured a powerful look at the Denver City Lax program five years after the release of the award-winning documentary “City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story”. Steinfeld also interviewed MLL stars Rob Pannell and Paul Rabil looking at their origins as youth lacrosse players, and seven-time NCAA Champion head coach Bill Tierney of the University of Denver Pioneers.
All players competing in the World Series of Youth Lacrosse received never-before-seen Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse apparel, including game shorts, a tech T-shirt and a hoodie, as well as a branded gear bag. In addition, all players received an official commemorative Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse stick. The two teams in the Championship Game will dress in NFL/MLL locker rooms and be outfitted in special Championship uniforms provided by Warrior.
In addition to competing in the event, players participated in a Skills Competition, attended autograph sessions with Outlaws players and other Major League Lacrosse stars and attended a banquet at Sports Authority Field at Mile High the night before the Championship Game. The event will conclude with all players being acknowledged at halftime of the Denver Outlaws versus Boston Cannons MLL game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Laxworm Radio Experience broadcast a total of 24 live games, providing live worldwide coverage of this historic event.
Plans are underway to expand the World Series of Youth Lacrosse, with the addition of a girls tournament, international teams and a series of qualifying events in 2016 and eventually a combined participation of 50,000 players.
Major sponsors of the World Series of Youth Lacrosse include The Coca-Cola Company and Warrior Lacrosse. Partners include Wheels Up, MET-Rx, Body by Jake, EDGE Sports and Entertainment, the Denver Outlaws organization and Kumu.
About the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse presented by The Coca-Cola Company
The Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse presented by The Coca-Cola Company will crown its inaugural World Champions on July 4, 2015 at 3 p.m. EDT at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. The Championship Game will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse Founder Jake Steinfeld, along with Founding Partners Steve Bornstein, Dave Morrow and Ray Schulmeyer, have created the ultimate experience for the youth lacrosse player. Ten U-13 boys teams from around the United States will compete in the preliminary games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field July 2-4, 2015.
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Posted In: Youth lacrosse