It was winner take all…win the SCLAX SOCAL Championship game and stamp your ticket to the State Championship game against NORCAL winner Barbary Coast Lacrosse Club. Both teams came at it hard and no team ever had more than a two goal lead. There were six ties and two lead changes but in the end Beverly Hills Lacrosse Club walked away with an 11-10 victory over a very strong SCLAX South Division Champion 40 Thieves.
Skyler Hopkins started off the Buck’s scoring with a Kyle Moskowitz face off win and a solo shot past the Thieves net minder just 40 seconds into the game. Then, at the 17:50 mark Nick Smith found Evan Redwood loose on the crease to give the Bucks a 2-0 lead. But 40 Thieves settled down and scored the next two goals evening the score at 2-2 with less than five minutes gone by. Then Will McCance picked up a hockey assist on a bang bang play finding Evan loose again. Evan took Will’s feed and quick sticked it to Brock Livingston putting Beverly Hills up by one. 40 Thieves answered with a transition goal but then Culver City’s very own Devin Maxwell wove past two middy defenders and got the lead back for Beverly Hills. 40 Thieves then went man up on a holding call and evened up the score at fours and followed by turning a Bucks turnover into a scoring opportunity and 40 Thieves took their first lead of the game as the quarter ended. Kyle Moskowitz, the Beverly Hills FOGO went eight for ten at the face off “X” in the quarter and unlike the first time these two teams played, the Bucks only had three turnovers.
Evan Redwood found U Mass attackman Casey Costello just one minute into the second quarter and Casey evened up the score at fives but 40 Thieves answered with two straight goals giving them their first two goal lead of the game. Then the Bucks broke Thieves clear as Dustin Doty picked up the loose ball and sprinted up the field finally unleashing a rocket to the top left corner. 40 Thieves took a 7-6 lead into the half. Once again Kyle Moskowitz owned the “X” taking four out of the five face offs. A stingy defense that ran five poles the entire game allowed just two goals from inside. Brian Bates, Dash Pomerantz, Sean Crane & Dustin Doty shared the LSM spot and James Guzik, John Brasko & J D Johnson policed the close area around the goal. Bryce Woodsen, Charlie McNeil, Greg Fish, Conor O’toole and a host of other midfielders played tough D throughout giving the Thieves shooters very few good looks.
Both goalies really tightened up in the second half. One minute and thirty seconds into the third period Devin Maxwell dodged again from the midfield and tied the score with his second goal of the afternoon. Brock Livingston followed with a hard left handed curl around the left side of the cage and gave Beverly Hills the lead back. He was not to be denied. John Brasko followed at the 8:50 mark with a clearing pass to Kyle Peterson who found the back of the net from 1`5 yards out. The Bucks were up by two again as the quarter ended. Beverly Hills net minder Michael Levin had four saves and shut the Thieves out for the quarter but he was just warming up.
The fourth quarter started with the Bucks a man down for a minute. They held and for the next twelve minutes both goalies were superb. Michael Levin turned away five shots inuring that span. But with just seven minutes left in the game the Thieves scored and cut the Beverly Hills lead to one. But Casey Costello would not relax and he continued to push the Buck offense finally feeding Brock Livingston for a hat trick at the 5:12 mark. After the ensuing face off Michael Levin turned away three shots but on the final rebound he fell on his right hand and had to leave the game. With just a two goal margin Dash Pomerantz turned his long pole in for a goalie stick and without a warmup took on the Thieves for the final five minutes. He turned away three out of five shots but with just 37 second left in the game the score was knotted at 10-10. Everybody’s attention went to the face off “X”. Up to this point Buck FOGO had taken 17 out of 24 face offs for the afternoon. Could he take one more? The answer was a resounding yes as he came up with the ball going forward with just 23 seconds left on the clock. He got the ball quickly to Nick Smith who raced down the left side of the field and scored the winning goal leaving just six seconds on the clock. As the clock ran out the Beverly Hills team ran onto the field like it was high school to celebrate with Nick and Dash Pomerantz who stepped up when needed. For the first time since 2011 the Beverly Hills Lacrosse Club was the SCLAX SOCAL Champions.
The State Championship game is tentatively scheduled for Sunday July 12th. Start time is yet to be decided but the game will be played at Culver City High School.