Weekend Recap

The 17th All America Lacrosse Tournament was a smashing success!!  The excitement was palpable, and the competition was fierce.

The preparation started months in advance as planning began for regional tryouts, the marquee event, the All American Senior Games, and the  Underclass Tournament!  The BWI Marriott played host to the underclass teams this year and was the headquarters for the much-anticipated uniform pickup.  Athletes began arriving on Wednesday, July 27 as for the first time all divisions got underway on Thursday, July 28.  All six divisions played one game Thursday to start the Underclass Tournament and away we went!

Off the field that night, at the BWI Marriott hotel, regional coaches gathered together to decide which of their players deserved the honor of being added to the Senior Game Watch List.

While the underclassmen showcased their skills on the fields, the senior All Americans began arriving at the Royal Sonesta in downtown Baltimore where they met their teammates and got geared up with custom All America gear from Cascade, Maverik, and East Coast Dyes!

Command Division competition continued Friday with New England girls, Baltimore Girls and Long Island girls remaining undefeated through day two, while average double digit goals per game.  On the boys’ side, Philadelphia and Washington DC were the only remaining unbeaten as day two ended.  The Highlight Division played their second and third games on Friday as well with each region battling hard through pool play.  In the boys’ bracket, Long Island and New Jersey finished the day 3-0 while Long Island and Baltimore girls were undefeated through day two.  The athletes invited to compete in the Spotlight Games also got a chance to showcase their skills as the tournament was in full swing! Team Hovr for the boys and Team Ascend for the girls finished Friday as the only two teams with an undefeated record!

Saturday was full of excitement as the Underclass teams continued to battle for the top spots while the senior All Americans visited spent the morning teaching the sport of lacrosse to children from Harlem Lacrosse.  Command girls didn’t let off the gas on day three as the level of play continued to rise with teams trying to secure their spot into the playoffs.  The Baltimore Command and Highlight girls secured the one seed in the playoffs with wins over the West region, ending pool play 4-0.  Up the street on the boys’ fields, the Command teams continued to battle with the Philadelphia region beating the emerging Southwest squad to earn the number one overall seed. The Southwest Command team earned a playoff bid with goal differential proving to never quit and fight until the last whistle. Long Island and New Jersey headed into the boys highlight playoffs at 4-0. In the boys spotlight division, the top four teams were Ignite, Rage, Hovr and Pursuit. In the girls division, Force and Ascend took the top two spots heading into the playoffs.

The girls Senior game had a few firsts this year. For the first time in the history of the event, a player is committed to the University of Clemson. This year there were seven girls from the State of Philadelphia, an event record.

The South team came out firing on all cylinders, quickly going up 3-0 with three different players scoring goals. The South started to fight back, tying the game at 4 to end the first quarter, but the North returned fire scoring eight goals in a row to blow this one wide open!

The North held off the South to win 17-11 and take a 11-5 series lead. The South goalies were phenomenal in the loss, combining for 16 saves, a new event record. They faced 47 shots, and had to deal with a ton of pressure all game long. Peep Williams received the MVP trophy with five points, five draw control wins and one caused turnover.

During the boys’ game, the South erupted out of the gates early, springing to a 3-0 lead five minutes into the first quarter. The South team was spreading the ball early with their first five goals all being scored by different players.

The entire game was a back-and-forth game of runs with the North eventually pulling away; a 8-4 run to cap off the night. Joey Spallina, the eventual MVP, finished with 6 points, tied for third all-time. The ball was spread around the field with each team having ten different goal scorers.

Max Sloat led the South with four goals. Eight different players had at least three points in front of a crowd of over 4,100!

On Sunday, it was time to crown the Underclass Tournament champions!!  On the girls’ Command side, Baltimore and Long Island took the top two seeds getting first round byes and both teams handled business in the semi-finals to advance to the championship!  Baltimore went on to defeat a strong Long Island team 11-8 to win the Command championship!!  On the highlight girls’ side, Baltimore and Philadelphia, no strangers to the top spots, sat in the championship game after the defending champion Long Island team lost a heartbreaker 11-10 in the semi-finals to Philadelphia, a rematch of last year’s championship. The first round bye proved to be the difference as the Baltimore squad had more in the tank to win the Highlight Championship! They finished the tournament 6-0 and averaged only over 13 goals per game throughout the whole event.

The spotlight championship came down to the top two seeded teams of the tournament. In the first game of the tournament Ascend beat Force, and they would face off again on Sunday, which Force topped Ascend 12-11. They would meet again in the championship for the rubber match and a repeat of the championship from 2021. Ascend ultimately beat Force to take home the crown and get revenge from a heartbreaker last year.

On the boys’ side, Philadelphia and Washington DC went into championship day as the top two seeds.  Both teams had a 5-0 record heading into the championship matchup. The Philadelphia Command Team went down 6-2 in the first half, but battled back and rattled off an 8-0 run to seal the deal!  The boys’ Highlight championship came down to Philadelphia versus New Jersey with the Philly boys never letting off the pedal in the rain to sweep the boys divisions! In the boys spotlight division, the top two teams heading into Sunday were Ignite and Rage. Hovr beat rage to make it to the Championship and eventually beat the number one seeded Ignite to take home the crown in an absolutely thriller of a game ending 10-9!

A HUGE thank you to all of the players, coaches, families, officials, sponsors, and staff, all of which helped make the 17th All America Lacrosse Tournament weekend the best one yet!