What a day we had for Championship Saturday. I’m not going to write any game recaps, you can read them here, here, and here (watch out for that last one.) But I’m going to put this season to bed with just a few McNuttins; random thoughts from the day.
First off, the big news. The winner of McNutty’s Player of the Day goes to Avery Schuette. Avery plays midfield for Kitsap’s 5/6 team and was selected for the 5th/6th Grade Honor game as one of the top players in the state. Avery loves lacrosse, has played since 2nd grade and hasn’t really ever put his stick down since. A familiar story, right? The thing is, Avery’s teams over the years have never won a game. Not one. So his selection to the Honor game was a pretty big deal. In fact his mom Abby, who coaches in Kitsap’s girls lacrosse program, said that Avery couldn’t really sleep the night before the game, because he was so excited. During the game itself, Avery was a bundle of focus, something pretty rare to see in a 5th/6th game. He played great, had a good time and has won himself the 2013 McNutty POD.
The 7th/8th grade game was significant in the quality of play and the quantity of good players. These folks will be making some noise in the high school championship games in just a few years. Players who caught my eye were Jaybry Doyle-Hupf, goalie from Queen Anne, Keenan Brownlow, a defenseman from Northshore, James Rauch, a middie from Issaquah, and Augie Fratt a middie from Bellevue.
Easily the best moment in the High School AllStar game was when Everett’s sophomore goalie Brad Strong, ran onto the field for a midgame goalie switch. Almost immediately his older brother, Ian, a senior attackman playing for the other team, cranked an outside rip towards the cage, looking to teach li’l bro how the big boys play. However, Brad, having a different lesson in mind, stopped the shot, made the clear, and slapped a grin on his face you could see in the stands. I’m guessing dinner conversations are going to be a little annoying for Ian for a little while. By the way, the Strong brothers are both ranked top five statistically in all of Division II.
Evan Smith, long pole from Richland, got his money’s worth in the High School AllStar game. He was all over the field, wreaking havoc on defense, helping the transition game, and even participating in the offense. I love to imagine his thought process: “I know I’m a defenseman, but I drove five hours to get here, I just ran all the way down the field, there’s no way I’m not going to shoot!”
Pro Tip #1 on watching a lacrosse game (that’s not an AllStar game) – Anytime you see a goalie across the 50yd line with the ball, he’s doing EXACTLY what the opposing coach wants him to do, and has likely been baited into doing it. Goalies running the length of the field are exciting from the stands, but every coach would like the opposing goalie to be the one shooting on his team.
When we last saw Enkhbileg Nyamdorj he was a young player from Mongolia on Nathan Hale’s lacrosse team, just introduced to the game by a PE teacher at Ingraham High School. This was Enk on Saturday night.
State Champion Enkhbileg Nyamdorj. How do you not like that? Hale, yes!
The Division II Championship game was the best game of the day. It had to have been one the best championship games in state history. You should watch the replay here. The postgame arguments centered around where these two teams would have ranked in the state just 10 years ago. I don’t think there’s much doubt they’d have been near the top of Division I.
Please tell me you’re now a Andrew McCall believer. The Nathan Hale keeper had nine saves and it seemed like all of them were from within seven yards. He saved 64% this season, and there’s no way the Raiders are State Champions without him. And he’s just a sophomore.
Pro Tip #2 on watching a lacrosse game – Unbeknownst to most in the stands, each game starts with a coin-toss. The toss winner gets to choose either which goal to defend, or whether to start with Alternate Possession (AP.) Do you know what AP is? Most folks don’t. AP means if there’s any situation where the referees can’t figure out who should get possession, they alternate who they award it to, starting with the team that got AP initially. The reason you don’t know about AP is because it rarely happens. Which brings me to my point. If you win the coin toss, and you’re playing a game on a field that is oriented East/West, and the sun will go down during your game, then think about choosing which goal to defend when the sun might be a factor. Because history shows that choosing AP is never a factor. And the goalies in the Division I finals had a lot of problems with the sun.
The Division I Championship game was the best exhibition of lacrosse skill seen in this state since the Maryland/Denver exhibition last fall. Two All-Americans, 13 All-State players, 11 players already committed to playing NCAA lacrosse. That was some talent on the field.
Bellevue’s junior goalie, Bradley Medeiros, played the best half of goalie that I can remember in a championship game. 10 saves in the first half and only gave up one goal. He finished with 18 saves on the night, over 60% against the 2nd best team in the state, and he got the game ball from Coach Baumann. (Photo: see Pro Tip #1).
Mercer Island’s Steen Swedstedt is a warrior. Few people know how injured his knee was in the semi-final victory over Bainbridge on Wednesday. For three quarters in today’s game he tried to tough it out and help his team get back in the game. But an inadvertent hit from a teammate put Steen down for good and his highschool lacrosse career came to an end. Hats off to you, Mr. Swedstedt.
Cole Johnson and Hank Bethke are the real deal.
I’m anointing Devlin Conway the best faceoff guy in the state. He won 16 of 20 in the Championship Game against Bellevue’s stud who had averaged 65% coming into the game. Conway owned Bellevue in both games.
And making a big impact in the championship game was Bellevue’s #99 Reed Hendrickson. The 6’3 senior middie was a persistent pest all over the field, did well in his one-on-one assignments, and garnered an assist. He switched to middie this year after playing attack his whole life. Well played, sir.
There’s no better testament to junior Chase York’s stick skills than the fact MI brought him in to replace Swedstedt in the 4th quarter offense after Steen was injured. York promptly buries three bombs against Medeiros. Oh, and did I mention that he did it all with his long pole? He’s a defender, remember?
Well that’s it, a wrap on another season. We at Sound Lacrosse feel like we had a great year again. We published 6,385 photographs of Washington lacrosse (not counting today’s mother lode), and made them available for purchase here at www.soundlacrosse.com. We suspect we shot close to 20,000 overall before publishing the best ones. We delivered over 3,500 tweets, most of them from the sidelines of high school games, accompanied for the first time by realtime pics embedded in the twitter feed. McNutty gave you 16 articles, with about two ounces of meat jammed into almost 30,000 words. It was quite a season indeed.
Remember to look at the photos, buy some prints, and help us support some lucky, local, lacrosse charity. Playoffs galleries are here. Note: we will have galleries of the entire day including the 5/6, 7/8, High School All Stars, and of course the D1 and D2 championships. Please check back over the next few days as we continue to upload photos.
We’ll fire it all up again next year.