Don't be disappointed if you've never heard of some of our Top 25 Stories of 2013. This is not a list of stories with the most hits, or most views, or most comments. Many times a death, an award, a project in progress or recently completed can affect many, many lives without much fanfare in the press. Many of these stories bring fond memories, give us hope for the future, or inspire greatness, many times with a smile or a tear.
Rochester area Sweetlax Lacrosse waited until the very last day of 2013 to make the cut when their Elite Division Team won the Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions with a 12-7 victory in Wesley Chapel, Fl., over the Road Warriors from North Carolina.
The team went 7-0 for the tournament playing national elite teams from areas including Florida, New Jersey, Canada, and Georgia. 2016 Troy Nicholas Lauder was named the Championship Game MVP. Five future Orangeman on the squad including, Brad McKinney (Watertown), Marcus Cunningham (Glen Ridge), Riley O'Sullivan (Don Bosco), Lazarus Chavez (Rye), and Max Parker (Lakeland High).
Cody Jamiesonn went 3-3 and was named Championship Game MVP for the second consecutive year as the Rochester Knighthawks defended their 2012 NLL Championship with a thrilling 11-10 victory over the Washington Stealth in Langley, British Columbia. It was the first back-to-back championship for any team in over ten years.
Amazingly, the Knighthawks, who led 10-7 at the half, could score only one goal in the second half (Joe Walters, 2:24 into the fourth quarter), as both teams buckled down on defense.
Report from the Knighthawks' website
It was called the Wooden Stick Expo, honoring the importance each Native American player attaches to his crosse. His first is received shortly after birth and placed directly with him in his cradle. His favorite, buried with him so that he may use it to play in the afterlife.
But it was also about so much more - peace and wellness, tradition, history, culture - and honoring the Creator.
Click here for more photos.
The first four-time All-American in the history of the Big Red men's lacrosse program, Paul Schimoler '89, one of the greatest collegiate goalies to play the game,
passed away on February 15th, after a brief battle with cancer.
Paul's accolades on the field included:
Four-time All-Ivy selection, including first-team honors in 1987 and 1989.
Ivy Rookie of the Year in 1986
Ivy League Player of the Year in 1989
Held both the Cornell and NCAA record with 787 career saves.
Cornell records included saves in a game (34 vs. Syracuse in 1987), season (241 in 1988) and career (787)
Set the NCAA tournament record for saves (85) in 1988, a mark that still stands.
Even more impressive is the way he touched others during his life. Please take the time to read some Quotes from the Lacrosse Community posted at Inside Lacrosse. Paul was truly an amazing person and laxer who will be sorely missed.
It might come as a surpise to some, but 2013 saw for the first time Boys and Girls Section 3 Championship Games held under the teflon Dome at Syracuse University. All three Girls Title Games and the Class A Boys Game were played on the Tuesday following Memorial Day. Conflicts with Dome staffing on days needed for the Boys Class B & C games prevented them from being played there, at least for this year.
There is a long list of positives for having these games in a venue like the Dome, the most obvious one became apparent during the second half of the boys West Genesee/Fayetteville-Manlius game when torrential rains fell outside. The players also appreciated the relatively new Field Turf, an especially welcomed amenity for the boys after several years of worn Astro Turf elsewhere. And for the parents and fans, again a guarantee of dry conditions throughout the day, and also no direct sunlight beating down should the sky outside be clear. (Don't take that to mean it might not be somewhat warm inside no matter what the conditions outside.)
The intangibles should also be considered when deciding just how important a story this was. Many, many lacrosse fans from throughout Upstate have made their way to the Dome to watch a great game. Having these games inside should help persuade parents and fans from other Section 3 schools not participating make it a day watching friends and foes alike. It might also interest a few more college coaches to come and scout some of the best high school talent in the country. And we wouldn't overlook the inspiration, knowing the Championships will be held at the Dome might have, on players battling during the regular season and during the playoffs.
Carrying it to a logical conclusion, what laxer anywhere in New York State wouldn't love to see the State Championships held at the Dome every other year?
West Genesee grad and SUNY Cortland Head Coach Steve Beville was named as Head Coach of the Iroquois Nationals team headed to Colorado for the 2014 FIL Word Championships. Beville was an assistant coach for the U-19 Iroquois team that handed the U-19 Team USA its first international defeat ever during pool play at the 2012 Championships in Turku, Finland.
Beville is not a stranger to Colorado, having coached at Colorado College from 1989 to 1998.
Adding to the Upstate flavor Coach Beville and many of the players will bring to the team, he will be assisted by Upstate natives, University of Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale (Geneva), and Penn State University assistant coach Chris Doctor (Skaneateles).
Even before the team hit the turf, the Syracuse Orange suffered major losses.
Brother of SU alum Chris Daniello, Mike Daniello, #23 as rated by Inside Lacrosse in the Class of 2011, sat out the season due to a non-lacrosse injury. Daniello was tranferring to SU from his freshman season at Johns Hopkins.
Another incoming transfer, the #1 high school recruit in 2010 according to Inside Lacrosse, Nicky Galasso had to postpone his regular season debut with the Orange after apparently
breaking a bone in his foot in late January. Galasso was named 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year at North Carolina with 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists).
Texas native Brandon Mullins went down in just the third game of the season with a knee injury that required surgery, ending his 2013 season. Mullins played in all 17 games as a freshman in 2012, starting in 10, and had started the first two games in 2013. His loss left a huge hole in the Syracuse defense that had to be filled.
On the women's side, senior Michele Tumolo injured her knee against Cornell on April 16th, keeping her out of the final nine Syracuse games, including a season-ending loss in the NCAA semi-finals against Maryland. Tumolo was the IWLCA Attacker of the Year in 2012, and was a finalist for the Tewaaraton trophy. She ranks third on Syracuse's all-time scoring list with 278 points and second on the career assists list with 136.
The Orange men hold their Media Day January 6th, and we hope to hear updates on Daniello, Galasso, and Mullins at that time.
The first Saratoga Lacrosse Shootout was a huge success, and plans are set for a 2014 edition, but what else would you expect from a cooperative effort between Ryan Powell's Rhino Lacrosse and George LeVeille's Lake Placid Lax?
What was planned as a great lacrosse tournament turned into a fantastic lacrosse festival. Run by true lacrosse royalty, family Powell and family LeVeille, the event included not only a huge collection of up and coming lacrosse stars of the future, but also featured opening ceremonies with the world famous Powell Hour with Ryan, Casey, and Mikey Powell, an adults-only golf tournament, player and coaching clinics, professional player demonstrations, 3v3 mini tournament, player’s lounge, food trucks, vendor village, live music and more. And all this in the beautiful and historic surroundings of Saratoga Springs, and all this on the Fourth of July weekend!
In 2012 the Monroe women were the defending champions leading OCC with 3 minutes to go. With 3 SECONDS to go, OCC's Morgan Corso scored the game winner. The Tribunes used that for motivation throughout the 2013 season, winning every game, outscoring their opponents 343 to 77, and regaining the National Championship by downing Anne Arundel 17-5.
There's no denying Upstate NY is rich with lacrosse talent at all levels, and each year there are many, many examples of outstanding play and accomplishment. We won't pretend to list them all here (our apologies), and most if not all players listed had additional, worthy acheivements that should have been listed, but couldn't due to time and space restraints. Please enjoy our listing, given in no particular order:
Kara Cannizzaro (Cazenovia) - 2013 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player; Tewaaraton Award finalist; ESPY nomination.
Katy Ferris (Carthage) - Junior Katie Ferris broke the UMass All-Time scoring record with 6 goals and 1 assist vs. Temple; Named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
Maria DiFato (West Genesee) - Became the second player (Lindsay Abbott) at SUNY Cortland to surpass 300 career points; Names SUNYAC Player of the Year.
Erica Geremia (West Genesee) - Passed Lindsay Abbott's freshman single-season scoring record; Selected SUNYAC Rookie of the Year.
Katie Rowan (Bethlehem Central) - Became U.S. lacrosse's career assist leader in the squad's 21-8 victory against England in the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Cup semifinals in Oshawa, Ontario
Katrina Dowd (Yorktown) - Broke the tournament record for most goals at the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, scoring 26 in seven games.
Zed Williams (Siver Creek) - Finished his high school career with a National Record for points, 728 (444 goals, 284 assists).
Connor Fields (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) - Set national HS record for single season goals with 129.
Gene Tundo (Orchard Park) - Coach Tundo reached the 500-win mark this season in a 15-5 win over Frontier in April.
LaFayette Boys - Beat Manlius-Pebble Hill on April 30th for the program's 700th win.
Jordan Evans (Jamesville-DeWitt) - In J-D's first two games of the season, Evans went 4-10 vs. Whitesboro and 10-1 vs. Homer, ending the week with a whopping 25 points.
Taylor Poplawski (CBA-Syracuse) - Scored 4 goals in the National Under Armour All-America game.
Mikey Meagher (Liverpool/Florida) - ALC Goalie of the Year; first female goalie Tewaaraton Award finalist.
Kathleen Conese (Liverpool/Le Moyne) - Northeast-10 Conference Women's Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Becca Block Big East Defensive Player of the Year; IWLCA Defender of the Year
Alyssa Murray - Big East Attacker of the Year.
Kayla Treanor (Niskayuna) - IWLCA Rookie of the Year; Big East Tournament MVP.
Rachael Burek (Rensselaer/SUNY Albany) - America East Co-Player of the Year.
Rachel Bowles (Cicero-North Syracuse/SUNY Albany) - America East Co-Rookie of the Year.
Kevin Lux (Fayetteville-Manlius) - Scored 10 goals vs. Liverpool in April; Became F-M's all-time leader in goals scored in win over Watertown IHC in early May.
Melissa Leonhard (Penfield) - Against Nazareth, Leonhard notched her 52nd goal of the season, the 186th of her career, making her the all-time leading scorer in the program's history, surpassing Lauren Glavin's career total of 185.
Andrew Wagner (Elma/Iroquois/Mercyhurst) - Won his 2nd straight D-II Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Joe Slavik (Binghamton/Seton Catholic) - Named the 2013 SUNYAC Men's Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Zach Hopps (Akwesasne/Massena) - Chosen as the 2013 SUNYAC Men's Lacrosse Rookie of the Year.
Kevin Rice (Skaneateles) - Orange sophomore Kevin Rice received the Elite 89 Award for maintaining the highest cumulative
grade-point average of any student-athlete at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship.
Cassandra Minerd (LaFayette) - Was awarded Tewaaraton scholarship for Native Americans (Girls) at the Tewaaraton Award ceremony in Baltimore.
Rob McMicking (Niagara-Wheatfield) - Was awarded Tewaaraton scholarship for Native Americans (Boys) at the Tewaaraton Award ceremony in Baltimore.
Brendan Buckley (Army) - Named Senior CLASS Award winner for lacrosse.
Warren Hill (OCC) - Named NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year; National Championship Defensive Player of the Game.
Randy Staats (OCC) - Named NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year
Shelby Vakiener (Fairport) - Scored a team record 9 goals including the OT winner for RIT over the University of Rochester.
Once again Upstate was well represented at the NCAA Men's Championships on Memorial weekend. D-III Rochester Institute of Technology came off an exciting overtime win against rival SUNY Cortland to make it to their first ever National Championship game. Division III Coach of the Year Jake Coon and Division III Assistant Coach of the Year Shawn Wilkins led the Tigers to a 19-3 record, including a 13-game win streak leading up to Memorial Day weekend.
In Division I, Rob Pannell and Cornell Big Red nearly came back from an 8-goal deficit, eventually losing to Duke 16-14, while the Orange battled Denver, coming away with a 9-8 win, their seventh victory in ten one-point games. So, while most of Upstate was looking forward to a rematch of the 2009 NCAA Title Game, what transpired was a Syracuse loss to Duke, 16-10.
Division II #3 Le Moyne made its way back to the Championship Game after a two-year absence, only to find its opponent the #1 team in the country - undefeated Mercyhurst. And while Le Moyne had 36 players from Upstate high schools, Mercyhurst was not far behind with 32 Upstate alums of their own - nearly 70% of their roster! The Lakers scored the last five goals of the game, but fell one short as Le Moyne won their fourth National Championship!
If you're reading this, I'm betting you already know why West Genesee Head Coach Mike Messere was honored in July with enshrinement in the National High School Hall of Fame.
After 772 wins over 38 seasons, 15 NYS Championships, and induction into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1994, perhaps the most impressive and respected aspect of Messere's career is that over 100 of his former palyers have become coaches themselves. They learned from the best, and now they're spreading a "West Genesee" influence all across the country.
Mike Messere is the winningest lacrosse coach in America. Jim Berkman, a Watertown native, has the most coaching victories in men's collegiate history. With one season at Potsdam and 25 at Salisbury, Berkman has amassed an amazing record of 428-48. This year he was honored to become a member of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame:
When the FIL released the Blue Division schedule in late April, it didn't take the Iroquois Nation long to begin the appeal process to return their team to their rightful place. Because they were denied entry to England to participate in the 2010 FIL Championships in Manchester (Our #1 story of 2010) they did not qualify for the Blue Division in the subsequent tournament.
Fortunately, a direct appeal to all the member countries resulted in support for the Iroquois to be returned to their rightful place among the best teams in the world for 2014.
A letter from Gewas Schindler and the Iroquois Nationals Board of Directors expressed: " “Nyawenha – Thank You” to all of our supporters, fans, and friends here and around the World. Done:toh."
Last year the World Premiere of Crooked Arrows in Syracuse made our Top Stories list, and the lacrosse world loved it. This year two excellent lacrosse documentaries were released that transcend the boundries separating Upstate and the rest of the lacrosse world.
America's First Sport, written, produced and directed by Dennis Deninger, is a wonderful primer on the history, and the meaning of lacrosse, and there should be a concerted effort across the lacrosse community to get this as much main stream exposure as possible. It's fifty-five minutes and sixteen seconds of wonder. Deninger was helped by students in The History of Sport class at Syracuse University’s Department of Sport Management who researched the history, current status and future prospects of lacrosse during the 2012-13 academic year. It's narrated by Mike Tirico.
In a perfect world it would be required viewing for modified level players.
Make some popcorn, click here, settle back and enjoy.
From PBS.org: The Medicine Game by Lukas Korver, "shares the journey of two brothers from the Onondaga Nation driven by a single goal; to play lacrosse for Syracuse University. In their darkest hour, with their dreams crumbling around them, the boys look to family and Native teachings for guidance. It is their search for identity that transitions a playful coming of age story to an important study of modern Native American life."
Central New York lacrosse fans especially, and others across Upstate, watched the public side of Jeremy and Jerome "Hiana" Thompson's high school career with the LaFayette Lancers, admiring just how talented they were. This film, made over several years, shows us the private side of their lives during that time, and their foray into college athletics, and beyond, after graduation.
You can view The Medicine Game at PBS.org for free until January 19th.
If you've seen The Medicine Game, you know it was the dream of Jeremy and Hianan Thompson to play college lacrosse at Syracuse, and the struggle they faced, with eventually only Jeremy realizing that dream.
Toward the end of that film we see their younger brothers Miles and Lyle, and we get the sense that hearing the Thompson name would be common place across Upstate and beyond for years to come. Along with their cousin Ty Thompson, making a name for himself at Section 10's Salmon River, all three decided to play college lacrosse at SUNY Albany, surprising many fans that they didn't have that same burning desire to become part of the Orange Nation. (Made plainly clear opening day 2013 when Lyle, Miles, and Ty combined for 18 points in a 2OT upset of Syracuse in the Dome.)
2013 was an amazing year for SUNY Albany, and for the Thompsons. Shining through were their individual skills, their familiarity with each other, and their ability to make everyone around them better players. As a team, the Great Danes led the nation with 15.94 Goals per Game, won the America East tournament, and ended as the #12 team in the nation. Here are some of the 2013 personal highlights for Ty, Miles, and Lyle:
• 2013 All-America Honorable Mention
• Finished fourth in the nation in scoring with 3.00 goals per game
• Led the Great Danes in scoring with 54 goals
• Recorded his 100th goal against UMBC (4/19)
• Recorded a career-best eight goals against UMBC (4/19)
• 2013 All-America Honorable Mention
• Tallied 10 games with five points or more
• Broke the school record for points in a game with 14 against Stony Brook (4/27)
• Broke the school record for assists in a game with 9 against Stony Brook (4/27)
• Broke the school record for goals in a game with nine against Bryant (3/16)
• Selected as one of five finalists for the 2013 Tewaaraton Award (1st Native American finalist)
• 2013 First Team All-American
• 2013 America East Player of the Year
• Broke the school record for points in a season with 113 (two points shy of the NCAA record set by Steve Marahol)
• Broke the school record for assists in a season with 63
• Led the nation in points per game with 6.65, second in assists per game with 3.71
• Tallied eight points or more in eight different games
• Recorded a career-best 11 points on four goals and seven assists vs. UMBC (4/19)
It came out of the blue - word that the Cornell administration's investigation of a hazing incident involving the men's lacrosse team would result in what amounted to suspending the program for one week of practice, and the cancellation of planned participation by the team in two Fall Ball events.
We are always disappointed to hear of incidents of hazing in any setting. There is no place for it. The report of hazing at Cornell stunned most everyone outside the program. The statement issued by the University gave some details, and stated: "The investigation revealed the presence of a culture within this group of treating new members as less than equals."
Was it something that had been an onging problem, or was it a relatively recent change in thinking of those involved? Someone who was intimate with Cornell Lacrosse recently, Rob Pannell, gave this statement to the press:
“My five-plus years in the Cornell Lacrosse Family were nothing short of exceptional. In those five years up to today, I can confidently say there's been no hazing within the Cornell lacrosse team. Because of the program that the coaching staff and players have built, the men's lacrosse team is one that other teams on campus try to emulate on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
The stigma of a hazing allegation can have wide ranging affects, including problems of negative self esteem, performance on the field, and even recruiting. And sometimes the fallout can be totally unexpected, and months down the road.
After missing out on the Tewaaraton Award in 2011 (and we are truly resisting the urge to editorialize here!) even though he was named the USILA's Lt. Raymond Enners Award winner as the Division I National Player of the Year, and then suffering a season-ending injury during the 2012 season, Rob Pannell finally got what was coming to him in 2013. He garnered another Lt. Raymond Enners Award, and was awarded the Tewaaraton Trophy just days after a heart-breaking loss to Duke in the NCAA semi-finals.
Though there is no question Rob this highest award in college lacrosse, he was quick to thank the many others that have contributed to his great season: "I wish my 15 other senior classmates from this year could be up here with me. Without them welcoming be back for a fifth year and welcoming me on to the team, I wouldn't be here. And without their play and the success that we've had all season long, I would not be up here as well. In a large way, it's a team award and I have them to thank for that."
Shocked, dismayed, dumbfounded . . . those were some of the reactions coming through social media outlets when word spread in mid-November that Cornell University had decide to dismiss head coach Ben DeLuca. It was extremely frustrating for the Cornell lacrosse family because the school gave no real difinitive reason for its actions in its press release. Many wondered if there was a connection to the hazing allegations from September.
Over 175 alumni and alumni parents, including two Tewaaraton Award winners and two former head coaches, showed their support of DeLuca by thanking him for his contributions to Cornell Lacrosse. The letter began:
"While many of us have expressed our frustration and disappointment at the news that Ben DeLuca will no longer be the head coach of Cornell Men’s Lacrosse, the purpose of this letter is to thank Ben for his leadership and commitment to Cornell University over the last 17 years. We have witnessed firsthand Ben’s dedication to the school and the program he loved.
For decades, the men's lacrosse program has been a gold standard in the Cornell athletic department and Ben has been an integral part of that as a player, an assistant coach and head coach. We have been Ben’s classmates and teammates. We have been his co-captains, his alumni supporters and boosters. We have watched him coach our own children. We played for him as our assistant coach, and eventually, as our coach."
Deluca attornies, Dinsmore & Shohl’s Jim Zeszutek released the following statement on his behalf:
“For reasons which still remain unclear to me, after seventeen years as a student-athlete and coach in the Men’s Lacrosse program at Cornell University, I will be parting ways with the University and move on to the next chapter in my professional career. I am grateful for the opportunities that Cornell University has given to me.
To all of those friends, parents, students, alumni, and mentors who have reached out to me and my family in recent days, your support has been overwhelming and humbling. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
To the student-athletes of the Cornell Men’s Lacrosse team, I am extraordinarily proud of the way in which you have conducted yourselves during your time at Cornell. I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together, and I wish you all every happiness and success for this season and into the future. My pride in watching you mature as young men is second only to that of your parents and family. It has been an honor to have a window into that part of each and every one of your families and lives.”
We wish Coach De Luca the best. We hope the entire Cornell program can put the Fall of 2013 behind them and, with the support of the Cornell Lacrosse family and the entire Upstate lacrosse community, keep the program strong and vibrant.