By Anthony Caruso
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/12/14
The game, played before the start of today’s National lacrosse League contest between the Philadelphia Wings-Buffalo Bandits, capped a tripleheader of title games in a three-day tourney that drew teams from throughout North America. Games on Friday and Saturday were played at the Marple Sports Arena.
In the U15 title game, Thunder Tribe downed Mesa Fresh (PA), 16-5. Mesa Fresh had reached the finals with a clutch 14-12 victory over Tri-State. In the U 17 final, Thunder Tribe faced IMG Varsity U17.
“This is the biggest tournament that we’ve come to,” said Tonawanda Braves head coach Mahlon Jonathan. “It’s an honor to be one of the teams here.
“I’m glad we won our local tournament to be able to come here. It says a lot about lacrosse in our area (Buffalo/Rochester area) and for Six Nations lacrosse overall.”
This tournament started on Friday night with IMG National defeating Baggataway (PA) U-19, 18-8. Tonawanda won three games on Saturday, while IMG National went 1-1.
Teams qualified for the tournament through regional qualifier events.
“We had some games Friday night, Saturday, and today,” said Philadelphia Wings general manager Johnny Mouradian, who as Director of the American Indoor Lacrosse Association helped coordinate the event with IMG Academy. “Bill Shatz from IMG Academy, who is their Lacrosse Director, and myself go back a long time. He’s doing a lot of box integration with his IMG team, and I work at IMG as one of their guest coaches.”
This year’s tournament had 14 teams. Mouradain hopes it will grow to 30 teams next year and he said he envisions the tournament eventually being much bigger.
“We hope this will take off and grow to 30 teams next year,” said Mouradian. “We even want to add an over 21 men’s component to this tournament. This will be one big lacrosse festival without professional players.
“We are looking to host it here at the Wells Fargo Center every year. We hope it grows to a 100 teams with their kids’ family and friends coming to see them play in this tournament.”
Tonawanda jumped out to a 10-1 lead over IMG National in the second quarter. Then, at the half, it was 11-3.