By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/1/17
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) National Lacrosse team went just 1-2-1 in Elite Division pool play this week at the NDP Lacrosse Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions in Wesley Chapel, FL.
One of the losses was an 11-3 rout to Grand River Ironmen (ON).
So, how did FCA come back and win the championship?
“As with many invite teams, that don’t practice, it’s difficult to play well together at the beginning,” said FCA’s Devin Gilligan, a 2018 defenseman/LSM from West Chester East and the Duke’s L.C. “As the tournament went on we became closer as a team and started to play better as a unit.
“FCA is focused on connecting and making a brotherhood not individuals playing for a similar goal. We spent lots of time getting to know one another. Our coaches would constantly remind us that we weren’t playing for ourselves but for the two guys next to us. The reason we were able to turn it around is because we lost so badly to Grand River.”
Indeed, FCA was a different team as the playoff came Friday night. FCA opened its title drive with an 8-7 win over Team 8 National (GA), the third seed in the playoffs, and then stunned second-seeded Grand River Ironmen, 9-6, in the semis to earn a ticket to the finals.
In the title game, FCA faced fourth-seeded Resolute Black (OH), which it had tied in the first game of the tourney. Resolute also had peaked in the playoffs, and presented a challenging foe.
“We received a lot of penalties, most of which help set the tone of the game, but we were able to possess the ball much better than our previous game against Resolute,” said Gilligan, who has committed to the University of Michigan. “We just needed to control the ball and stop making turnovers. In our previous games we turned the ball over a lot and we ended up playing lots of defense and had to come back from a deficit.”
Gilligan always enjoys playing for FCA teams because the purpose is greater than just winning a lacrosse game.
“It’s good to see familiar faces in a team but the nice thing about FCA is that there are always new people,” he said. “FCA does a great job at bringing people who have never met before together and creating strong friendships.
“That is special and not common for teams that invite different players for every tournament.”