OCEAN CITY- Ocean City will become the center of the lacrosse universe this weekend when some of the top men’s and women’s lacrosse teams in the country descend on the resort for the 22nd Annual Ocean City Lacrosse Classic.
The annual tournament got underway on Wednesday with the Rolling Surf Wheelchair Lacrosse division playing games at Northside Park. On Thursday, opening round games were played in the Masters and Grand Masters divisions at the Northern Worcester Athletic Complex in Berlin. Northside Park in Ocean City continues to be tournament headquarters and most of the action all weekend will take place there, but because of the growth of the tournament in recent years, some early round games will be played at the other venues including Most Blessed Sacrament School, the Northern Worcester Athletic Complex and the Ocean City fields downtown at 4th Street.
From modest beginnings in 1993, the Ocean City Lacrosse Classic has grown to become one of the sport’s most highly anticipated events. Last year, over 100 teams participated, but that number will likely grow again this year including two divisions of men’s elite teams, a women’s elite division, along with men’s masters teams. In addition, the Men’s Trident Division will feature players 45 and over and the King Neptune Division featuring players over 50 still interested in playing competitive lacrosse.
A new wrinkle last year was the addition of the Rolling Surf Wheelchair Lacrosse division, which took place at the indoor facility at Northside Park on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the larger outdoor tournament. In addition, the Masters portion of the tournament has been divided into “A” or Albacore division and a “B” or Bayside division with the top performing teams from last year’s tournament in the former and new teams signing up this year in the latter.
Highlighting the event each year is the men’s elite division, which features some of the top collegiate and professional players in the country. Masters and Grand Masters action continues got underway in Berlin yesterday, while the early round action in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions got started this morning. The games will go on night and day throughout the weekend and culminate with title games in each division on Sunday.
While the action on the field is clearly the big draw, the resort area will become the center of the lacrosse universe throughout the weekend with food and drink vendors, lacrosse equipment and clothing vendors and live music, turning the athletic complex into a weekend-long celebration of the sport.
Last year in the men’s Elite A division, 1 Lacrosse repeated as champion, beating Jack Lingo, 7-4, in the title game. In its semifinal, 1 Lacrosse beat CyberCore, 9-8, while Jack Lingo beat the Maryland Lacrosse Club, 5-0. 1 Lacrosse scored early and often in the first half of the championship game and took a 4-0 lead into intermission. 1 Lacrosse got first half goals by Myles Jones of Duke, Austin Stewart of Lynchburg, Ryan Brown of Hopkins and Aaron Murphy of Lynchburg.
Jack Lingo got on the board early in the second half on a goal by Salisbury’s Matt Hickman, but 1 Lacrosse quickly answered with goals by Brown and Murphy. Jack Lingo continued to apply the pressure, but were stopped repeatedly by 1 Lacrosse goalkeeper Gunnar Waldt, who was named tournament MVP. 1 Lacrosse held on the rest of the way and repeated as champion with the 7-4 win.
In the men’s Elite B division, Tessamaes defeated the Cannons, 10-5 in the championship game on Sunday. Tessamaes beat Chirp City, 10-4, in its semifinal, while the Cannons defeated the Lil Abners, 9-7, to earn a spot in the championship game.
In the women’s Elite division, CyberCore edged Salty Balty, 9-8, with a dramatic goal with just seconds remaining in the championship game. With the game tied at 8-8 and the clock ticking down, CyberCore’s Alyssa Murray from Team USA found Natalie Glanell open on the crease and Glanell converted the game winner to give CyberCore the title.
Salty Balty scored first in the championship game, but CyberCore answered with five goals of its own to take a 5-1 lead into halftime. CyberCore got two goals from Murray, who was eventually named MVP of the tournament, along with goals by Emily Considine of Hofstra and Tori Seitz of Jacksonville. Salty Balty scored the first four goals of the second half to tie the game at 5-5. CyberCore then answered with two quick goals by Murray to retake the lead at 7-5.
Salty Balty rallied for two goals by Yale’s Lauren Wickerle to tie the game again at 7-7. Salty Balty then took its first lead of the game since early on in the contest on a goal by Virginia’s Kelly Boyd to go up 8-7. Murray scored again for CyberCore with three minutes left to tie the game at 8-8 and set up the dramatic last second goal for the title.
In the Masters A division, Smartlink beat the Marksmen, 8-2, for the title. In the Masters B division, Abbey Burger topped Kirby’s Pub/Catonsville, 6-3. In the Grand Masters division, it was Koopers downing the FCA, 9-2, in the title game. In the King Neptune division, Team Harley topped Mr. Boh, 9-6, for the title.