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11/03/2012 - 1:56pm

By Travis Larner, --
(November 3, 2012)… T
he Dirty Lacrosse Club had high expectations heading into the 22nd Annual Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational Tournament at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. While the team was dominant in its first four games, it dropped a 10-9 decision to Wimmer Solutions in the Finals on October 28th.

Despite another heartbreaking loss in the tournament championship, Cody Jamieson, MVP of the Knighthawks 2012 Champion’s Cup victory, was grateful for the opportunity to play in his first Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational.

“Wimmer was tough. They obviously have a lot of guys who are no stranger to the field game,” said Jamieson. “I really enjoyed it. The guys on the team were really fun. Some I knew, but some I didn’t. But you wouldn’t have been able to tell. We had the tightest group of guys in the tournament. The scenery was unreal and just adds to the joys of that ‘vacation.’”

Dirty Lax swept its three pool play games by a total of 42-5, including a 16-0 shutout in the opening game against Kanto, winning its group and earning a spot in the semifinals.

The playoff game against Olympic Club, a San Francisco-based team from the Northern California Chapter of US Lacrosse, presented a challenge in the form of goaltender Matt Russell.

“The star player for the Olympic Club was former three-time All-American and 2004 Goalie of the Year Matt Russell of Navy. He and Evan Kirk of Dirty made a lot of really good saves. But Russell made a ton of stops from point blank range,” said Dirty Lax General Manager Adam Gardner.

Olympic Club jumped out to an early lead over Dirty Lax. Trailing 1-0, Dirty Lax responded with three of the next four goals to take a 3-2 advantage. Mark Matthews, the first-overall pick in the 2012 National Lacrosse League Draft, netted his team’s first goal. NLL 2012 All-Rookie Team selections Adam Jones, Stephen Keogh, Kevin Crowley and Jordan MacIntosh added goals to build a 5-3 lead. Keogh, of the 2012 Champion’s Cup winning Rochester Knighthawks, led his team with three goals as Dirty Lax pulled away for a 13-6 victory.

“Toronto Rock player Stephan LeBlanc had a great game playing on the wings, on faceoffs, playing some short stick defense and pushing the ball to the net. Other standouts were the dynamic one-two punch of Kevin Ross and Kevin Crowley. They really work well together. Simon Giourmetakis, a draft pick of the Edmonton Rush, had a nice goal and played well at both ends of the field,” added Gardner.

Wimmer Solutions was ready to defend their tournament championship against Dirty Lax, who they defeated 5-4 in last year’s championship. Wimmer Solutions’ start-studded roster included lacrosse legend Gary Gait, MLL 2012 Offensive Player of the Year Paul Rabil, 2009 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Max Seibald, goalie Brett Queener of the Hamilton Nationals, Cornell University All-American Rob Pannell and the only defender to win the MLL Championship MVP, Kyle Hartzell.

Faceoff specialist Anthony Kelly won the Bill Dagger MVP Award, while Pannell scored a game-high five goals. Wimmer won its third consecutive Koa Spear Award as Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational Tournament champions, holding off a late rally by Dirty Lax.

Trailing 10-6 in the fourth quarter, The Dirty Lacrosse Club nearly tied the game. The rally was sparked by Mark Matthews, who scored his fourth goal of the game. That was followed by a tally from former RIT All-American MJ Kiekebelt. After winning a faceoff, Kiekebelt faked a line change, hustled back to the net, then scored with an overhand shot. Crowley then scored Dirty Lax’s ninth goal. With three goals in under a minute, Dirty Lax had the ball and an opportunity to tie the contest. Crowley, however, was stripped by Seibald with under a minute left to give Wimmer Solutions possession for the final seconds.

“It was an absolute pleasure to play with the Wimmer Solutions. Not only do we have some of the best players in the world but they are some of the best people I know on earth. The championship against Dirty was an absolute battle but in the end I believe that the little hustle plays made the difference,” said Queener.

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