Day one of the 2012 Northwest Invitational was one to remember. The lacrosse was fine but the weather was spectacular and the out-of-state fans were having a good time. Ten teams and their entourages were bustling around the fields on Friday, buzzing about the city, the mountains, and the lacrosse.
Henderson Lacrosse Club, this year’s top-ranked Nevada team, is making their first appearance at NWI, but the squad and their fans are already seasoned travelers. They’ve got three tournaments under their belts already, bringing back championships from Utah, Las Vegas and Palm Desert. The fans are enthusiastic about the team,( and have the early lead in the cowbell competition) but are also loving the NWI experience. Their boys have two games on Saturday, but will then get out and explore Seattle a little bit. Based on Friday’s performance against Sunset, OR, they look to be one of the top teams in this their first NWI.
More great lacrosse was happening in the early game at Mercer Island High School Stadium. Local favorites, Skyline, was facing perennial Nevada powerhouse Palo Verde. Behind most of the game, and trailing by three with minutes left to play, Jack Pruitt capped off a fierce comeback, netting the tying goal with just three seconds left in the game. Ryan McMackin then nailed the overtime goal giving the Spartans the sudden-victory win. The raucous Skyline fans in the stands got even raucouser.
Also watching the game in the stands was the entourage from Guilderland, NY. Set to face off later that evening against Lincoln, OR, the boys from Albany were drinking in their first trip to the Northwest. They’d had a great day so far, walking all over downtown Seattle, catching and throwing fish at Pike Place Market, and then capping off the afternoon with a ferry ride to Bainbridge.
The return trip was jaw-dropping as the boat pulled into downtown Seattle with Mt. Rainier and the skyline on display in the sunshine. “It was 82 and sunny yesterday in Albany,” said longtime booster Barry McConaghy, “but this weather is better. And we’ve never seen mountains like this.” Later that night, Guiderland played their first game of the year, besting Lincoln 12-5.
And the night ended with a cool, clear evening at Islander Middle School. Two storied programs, Bellevue, WA and Lakeridge, OR battled in an emotional tussle that was quite the dogfight. Led by senior midfielder Andrew Gulrajani’s hat trick and big hits, the Wolverines muscled out a 10-6 win in a game that wasn’t settled until the last quarter. Enthusiastic fans lined the track to urge their team on to glory, but the sliver of a moon reminded all that this weekend everyone wins.
More games on Saturday and Sunday. Come out and enjoy! Game Galleries Here.