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Familiarity carries Baldwinsville in youth tourney

By Lou Reuter;, 06/28/18, 9:30AM EDT


LAKE PLACID - One of the questions that was batted around a bit this week at the Lake Placid Summit Youth Classic lacrosse tournament involved the makeup of two different types of teams that competed during the three-day event. People pondered who might be more successful - a select team comprised of players from different schools or a squad made up members from the same school who play together all the time.

When it came to the Lake Placid Summit Youth Classic's top division - the under-16 age group - the answer appeared pretty clear. On Wednesday, Baldwinsville completed a perfect 5-0 run through the tournament with a 12-3 victory over Top Dog in the U16 championship game at the North Elba athletic fields.

The winning team was essentially comprised of players from this spring's junior varsity squad at Baldwinsville High School, while runner-up Top Dog included players who were gathered together from across the Albany area. In five games played, Baldwinsville outscored its opponents 58-24 while turning in a strong performance from one end of the field to the other.

"With this group, you have a high school team where there isn't the "I" philosophy, it's the 'We' philosophy," Baldwinsville coach Greg Scott said. "This was our JV team this year, and most of our kids will go up to varsity next year. We have a lot of kids in the program varsity down to second grade. This is something we do as a community.

"These kids all stay together, and I think that's more important than any club team," Scott continued. "Now some of them do play club and that's awesome because they can better their skills, but when it comes to a team kind of a win, there's nothing better than seeing the kids do it together. They have a good time, they have fun, and they play as a family, and that says a lot more than anything else."

Wednesday marked the second time that Baldwinsville defeated Top Dog during the week, although Tuesday's 10-5 match was decidedly closer. In the championship match, Baldwinsville scored six times in each half and was never really threatened after surging out to a 6-2 lead.

"We just worked as a team, we all played unselfish, we moved the ball, we got the ground balls," said Baldwinsville captain Connor Steria, who was a member of his high school's varsity squad this spring and will be a junior in the fall. "We just played great. I hope we can bring this back home and take it into our actual season next spring. I think it's a team effort rather than just individual. We all played really well, especially our goalie."

Scott did give credit to the outstanding effort turned in by goaltender Cooper Foote, but said the championship really belongs to the whole squad.

"We won the ground balls, we outhustled them, and I think our shots were definitely better," Scott said. "We buried the ball a lot. Our defense and our goalie played awesome. Cooper Foote, he's a really, really solid kid, but you can't put one person over anybody else for accolades - it's a team thing."

Steria said this was his third summer coming to Lake Placid to play lacrosse but the first time he's stepped on the field with his Baldwinsville teammates.

"Last year I was here with a traveling team, the Roadhawks," Steria said. "This time, we did some cliff jumping and hiking. We just hung out, got to know each other better, and I hope we can do it again next year."

Jonathan Rollo was a member of Top Dog who visited Lake Placid for the first time to play lacrosse. His squad finished its run with a 3-2 record, which included a pair of wins over the local Tri-Lakes club. Rollo said he noticed a big difference when it came to his select team going up against Baldwinsville.

"They are a high school team so they play with each other every day," said Rollo, who will be a junior this fall at the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany. "They have their offense, they know what to do. We're just kind of a group that comes together in the summer. We meet up at UAlbany, we're all from the Capital Region, and we have a practice or two a week. They (Baldwinsville) have a lot more of a team aspect than we did. They all know each other, they have the same coach."

Although Rollo and his Top Dog teammates were hoping to avenge Monday's loss in the title tilt, he said he couldn't have been any happier having the chance to play in the tournament.

"I wanted to win. Everyone did, especially since they beat us yesterday," Rollo said. "It was really nice here - great vendors, a nice set up. I love it here. I want to come back next year. We played pretty well, that was just a good team. We could have done better against them. I thought we came here and played pretty well. We just had to pass the ball around a little better, take more shots. We were kind of doing one-on-one stuff and not playing as a team."

This marked the third summer of the Lake Placid Summit Youth Classic. This year featured 34 boys teams competing in eight divisions, with the youngest players being eight and under.