Gaits Close Door On Rochester In OT, 13-12

Gaits Close Door On Rochester In OT, 13-12

Gaits Close Door On Rochester In OT, 13-12

Gaits Close Door On Rochester In OT, 13-12

The atmosphere was festive, but confusing. The stadium was huge, but it lacked the amenities needed for a big time show. In fact, there was no scoreboard and the field markings used were difficult even for the players to decipher. They used the football out of bounds sideline, prompting players to repeatedly run out of bounds thinking they had more room. In between games there was a rockin' band with three guitars, drums and the shirt-less synchronized up and down jam we've all come to know and love. The only problem was the huge VIP tent consuming the entire end line obscured not only the vision of those in the tent, but the fans in the stands as well. While the surrounding seen was a debacle (and give the MLL a little break it being their first year) the play on the field was riveting.

It was a game of streaks and the Lizards needed a three goal streak down 12-9 with 6:21 left in regulation. The players were getting on each other for the Lizards and attackmen Terry Riordan explained the emotions,"Lacrosse is a game of streaks and when you get streaked against, if that's proper English, you have to come back. We weren't getting on each other in a derogatory way, we were just trying to pump each other up. This team has a way of making things interesting....we have a magical way of pulling these games out." While Paul Gait got the MVP for all his goals(3,2) including the game winner, it was Gary who took over the momentum with defeat looming.

Down 12-9, Lizard goalie Sal LoCasio lobbed a buddy pass to Gary Gait just outside the arc with Jake Bergey lining him up from ten yards away. Gait was at Bergey's mercy, but for whatever reason the son of a pro football player with the body of a fullback let up and came in standing straight. Gait was able to withstand the lame hit and move the ball up field. The ball was moved quickly in transition to brother Paul for a finish from about seven yards out to Rattler goalie Brian "Doc" Dougherty's left, 12-10. Then with 2:15 left in regulation Gary Posted up in the same spot to catch a feed from Paul from behind the cage. It was a classic box move and the sweetest goal of the game. Gary had his back to the goal, holding his stick lefty, but to the outside. This enabled him to catch the ball with a defensemen tight on him, roll and shoot the other way before his defender even threw a check, 12-11. Then Cercy jumped on the next face (he had been dominating all day) to give the Lizards the next possession. Gary worked his man from the top until he drew another and alertly hit the 6'5" Riordan on the crease, who turned and scored from point blank range. Ryan Powell had a chance to end the game with 8 seconds to go on a nice inside roll, but big Sal LoCasio gobbled it up to send the game into overtime.

Rattler coach Guy VanArsdale summed up the back and forth play,"When we were able to control the tempo and keep it 6 on 6 we had the edge...Anytime you let guys like the Gait, Haugen, and Powell run in transition that's when you get in trouble."

The stage is set for overtime. Cercy took the face-off against Wedin. Lizard coach John DeTomasso described their strategy,"(Cercy) winning them clean is what killed us all day. We just wanted to turn it into a scrum." Well, they succeeded and defensemen John Gagliardi wound up with the first possession followed by the Long Island timeout. Long Island set up a sneaky in and out of the box player shuffle which was designed to have Gagliardi pass to Stephen Sombrotto on his offensive side just outside the box. The play collapsed when, with a defender already on him, longstick Marshall Abrams was able to double team. Abrams checked the stick to get the ball on the ground, but his shaft snapped in two so he couldn't pick it up. Abrams mentioned his disapointment with the Warrior equipment this season saying that he had popped at least one stick every game. This one just occured in the worst possible moment. Abrams said this equipment failure didn't happen at Syracuse (who is sponsored by Brine) but he wasn't sure if that was due to different equipment or liberal MLL rules allowing all kinds of checks. Sombrotto was able to bat the loose ball forward on the ground somehow before being knocked down. The ball went straight to Casey Powell who scooped, took two steps and ripped a behind the back pass to Paul Gait who was camped out all alone with only Doc on the crease. The wily veteran put one through the wickets to end the game. After the game the obviously shaken losing goaltender said,"Paul Gait is gonna' make that shot 100 times out of 100 times." He also commented in disgust about the broken shaft,"It was a fluke play, (Sombrotto) didn't even pass it, he kicked it or something."

The aging superstars for Long Island were the difference. The Gait brothers and Sal LoCasio made the biggest plays at the most crucial moments. Paul Gait looks like and old man when he runs due to his recent surgery, but the man still produces in the clutch. Gary showed the will power of man in his prime refusing to lose and LoCasio stuffed Ryan Powell from point blank range with eight seconds to go and the game on the line. The Lizards also opted to have Gagliardi shut off the Rattlers main scoring threat in John Grant Jr. He made Grant Look like a liability as every time he did get the ball he either lost possession or missed the goal. Gagliardi felt so as well,"(Grant's) a great player and I was pumped up to play him...I don't know if he scored, but I think I did a pretty good job."

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Today's semi-final games
    by (#16453) on 9/02/01 @12:01AM
I went to todays games in Bridgeport. Despite two very entertaining games, I was extremely disappointed that a "Major" league, played its playoff games in a fourth rate high school stadium. Why did the league decide to play a game in a stadium that had no scoreboard and on a field that was poorly marked. The second quarter was even cut three minutes short to accomodate the television network. I felt sorry for the Boston coach as he pleaded his case to the ref.

Getting to Kennedy Stadium was a nightmare and may of the people I spoke with got lost getting there. The facilities were second rate. The refreshment stand was carnival like. The whole event felt like a roller derby match of the Bay Area Bombers and the New York Chiefs or an ABA game of the early 70's at the Commack Arena.

I am a season ticket holder at the New Jersey Pride games and my family and I had a great time attending all of their games this season. We even traveled to Hofstra to see a Lizards game one weekend the Pride were away.

I think the league has a great future. The lacrosse has been great but I think the people running the league have got to start treating the game with more respect. As a Pride fan, I have had to put up with an insane playoff system where the 4th best team in the league did not make the playoffs. I sat through a travesty of a game where the Pride played with 2 men on the field as Rochester scored 7 goals due to awful calls by the refs combined with ludicrous rules imposed by the league.

Come on guys, don't blow it. This is not the WWF or Roller Derby. Treat the game with the respect it deserves.

J. Mulligan
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Ease Up
    by (#1383) on 9/02/01 @11:57AM
You had to "put up with an insane playoff system"? Come on, the league is in its first year. What would rather have them do, start with 16 teams so there could be a couple of wildcards? Then maybe the New Jersey and West Virginia franchises could have made it. Allowing 4 out of 6 teams in the playoffs, and denying NJ because of their divisional record, hardly shows a lack of respect for the game.

You're also all worked up about editing the game for TV, but would you rather not have the league around in two years? They had to cut it for a live national audience, which is a problem I wish they ran into more often this year. What would you rather have them do, tell FOX "screw you, we're keeping it a full 60 minutes so I'll guess you'll just have to broadcast it Sunday at 5:00"? The league is not quite the NFL yet in case you haven't noticed, and getting TV ratings at this stage is far more important than annoying a handful of people in Connecticut.

You are on target with the venue though. A high school stadium in the middle of a ghetto in the middle of Connecticut? What, did Eastside High in Paterson pass on the idea first? The Ballpark at Harbor Yard is a great setup, and you figured the MLL, for TV, would rather have a sold out, sharp looking, 5,000 seat venue than a second rate, one-third full high school field with football lines on it. I'd love to know who made the decision to do that. Also, who's the marketing genius that decided Connecticut would be the location for all the big games?

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    by (#8966) on 9/02/01 @1:33PM
the clock started reading 18m instead of 15m so the 1/4 should have ended at 3m.
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Gary Gait is the best ever!
    by (#6210) on 9/02/01 @11:48AM
I think he proved that today. There has been a lot of debate over the Powells or the Gaits being the best. In my book it is the Gaits hands down.
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    by (#1383) on 9/02/01 @12:02PM
Who debates that except for kids 18 or younger?
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Generational descrepancies
    by (#1017) on 9/02/01 @12:53PM
...exactly Shocks!

The stuff people like Grant Jr, the Powell's, Hubbard, etc.. are pulling off were developed by The Gait's in the pre-offset, pre-titanium, heavy-ass-Baltimore Classic helmet era. Quite simply, it was a different time.

The kids playing now have little idea of how the game was played 10 years ago, and automatically assume the players of their generation are "the best" w/o ever studying the past. The Gait's are still the best, even if they are getting a little gray.

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TV Coverage was pathetic
    by (#5479) on 9/02/01 @12:32PM
The TV coverage of this was pathetic in the tri-state area. I'm sure Long Island had it, but New Jersey coverage was non-existent if you didn't live in a certain area. The MLL should start things a week earlier next year so they're not competing against the first few games of college football. Maybe they'd be able to get a spot on ESPN2 or something. I think the championship game for today is tape delayed until Monday at 4AM or something. That f$$$ing sucks! I wish sports fans would acknowledge the athleticism of lacrosse and its place as one of the best sports on the planet.
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    by (#11245) on 9/02/01 @3:28PM
New Jersey coverage was non-existent"

Kind of like the fan's that same ref screwing you again.....blame it on him again!
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