I spent this past weekend with the LaxPower.com crew in Annapolis, Maryland for the All-Star Express tournament, the nations largest, most prestigious womens lacrosse tournament in the country. The tournament was first held in 1993 and quickly became the largest recruiting showcase in the country. Each year there are around 5,000 girls lacrosse players representing 250 teams who all play in front of a crowd of fans and college coaches.
I would say the majority of the college coaches were present and have been since the tournament started. All-Star Express was a very useful recruiting tool for me back in 1999-2000 when I played in it as Im sure it still is today for many players.
It was just as hot as I remember with temperatures maxing out around 100 degrees on some days. I have no idea how the girls run up and down the field in that type of heat, but I guess I did the same thing back in the day. When youre playing in front of an audience of college coaches you dont have time to worry about the weather you just play.
Its really fun going to these tournaments because I get to see so many formers college players and current coaches who I have known throughout the years and it is always interesting to find out one of the high school players standing in front of you goes to the high school you attended, which happened to me twice.
I spent most of the weekend in the LaxPower.com tent answering questions, handing out giveaways, doing interviews and informing people about the most popular lacrosse website in the world. The majority of the lacrosse community uses the site or has an idea of what it is so mostly we were there to support the sport of lacrosse and stay involved whether it be talking to people or collecting content for the site.
DeBeer, which is one of the best lacrosse companies out there, had a tent next to ours at the National Draw a couple weeks ago and we were neighbors again at All-Star Express. They ran a lacrosse bingo scavenger hunt that many of the teams at the tournament participated in and one of their missions for the game was to put as many LaxPower.com stickers on their goalies helmet as possible. It got a bit insane as you can see below. That is a picture of a team and their goalie, who was covered head to toe in LaxPower.com stickers. The ended up winning brand new deBeer sticks for their whole team. You go girls!
Last Sunday I headed over to my old stomping ground, the University of Richmond, to watch my college team take on the Temple Owls. I spent five years on that field, four as a player and one as a coach, but I had never been there as a spectator.
Over the years, I had faced Temple in five battles in regular season and three in post season tournament play. Now as my former team warmed up to play in one of the most important games of the year, I sat in the stands watching and soaking up every minute.
It was an interesting feeling. I wasnt sad to be a spectator like I expected, instead I was proud. Its a good feeling to see a program you helped build carrying on many of the same traditions you helped start. I have countless memories on that field, enough to last me a long time. Its nice to watch without the weight on your shoulders. On Sunday, I was simply a fan of Richmond Spiders Lacrosse.
Picture taken by John Townsend
Well, almost just a fan. Since I wasnt used to being still and quite during the game, I kept myself busy doing some video for LaxPower. During the game I captured game footage to make a highlight video. I dont have a lot of experience with video so I really had to focus on what I was doing. The game looks a lot different from behind the camera.
Richmond was dominating the beginning of the game, but Temple quickly came back and took the lead. I wasnt sure if the Spiders would be able to bounce back. Thats when things got exciting!
The beginning of the second half was all Owls as they put in four unanswered goals to get a head of the Spiders, 7-4 with 21:52 remaining in regulation. The teams went back and forth until the Spiders sparked a come back run with three goals in under two minutes.
Mandy Friend started it off taking the ball herself and hitting the upper right corner for her second goal of the game. Thirty-seconds later, Furstenburg got involved with an unassisted goal of her own. Friend then scored her third goal of the day to tie the game at nine with three minutes left to play.
Two minutes later, Richmond was put back on its heels once again as Temples Chelsea Rosiek scored off a free-position to put the Owls up, 10-9.
With just over thirty-seconds to play, a Temple foul sent freshman Anne Ryan to the eight-meter. Ryan zoomed the ball into the net to tie the game at 10 and send the game into overtime.
After the first three minutes of overtime, the score remained 10-10. With just over thirty seconds left to play in the first overtime period, Claire Cunniff took an isolation, beating three Temple defenders to put the Spiders up, 11-10. Richmond would go on to win the game over conference-rival Temple.
After the game I took an interview with Cunniff, a former teammate of mine, and the attacker who scored the game winning goal in OT to beat Temple.
Interview with Claire Cunniff:
It was a fun experience and Im looking forward to my next game Friday night when William & Mary takes on Towson at 7pm. Stay tuned!