Editor’s Note: Please welcome Ondřej Mika to LaxAllStars! Ondřej has been involved with the club team at LCC Radotin for the last three decades (maybe more!), makes the Ales Hrebesky Memorial an event to remember each year, and is an instrumental part of the European Box Lacrosse scene. Today he reports on the final outcome of the Czech National Box Lacrosse League, also known as the NBLL!
This is HIGH quality box lacrosse! Also, check out Simon Krause’s Lax in the Box Recap!
After an incredible performance in the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial, LC Custodes certainly continued to prove their quality in the Czech National Box Lacrosse League, as Radotin won their eighth consecutive title in 2013. That being said, their victory was not as easy as some may have expected.
Custodes‘ biggest rival in the NBLL, SK Lacrosse Jižní Město, was the other team to make the finals, and they played very tough, and forced a third and decisive match in the best-of-three final series.
Game One Photo Credits: Martin Bouda
LCC was extremely impressive at the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial and gained valuable wins over three overseas teams on their way to winning the tournament trophy (check http://www.AHMemorial.cz fo more), so they were clear favorites for the NBLL play-offs. This was proven in the semi-final series, where Custodes easily controlled their matches against LC Pardubice winning 18 : 7 and 8 : 5, to advance to the finals.
For Jižní Město, their final standing in the Memorial did not measure up to expectations. It was a rough tournament for LCJM, and they struggled hard in their NBLL semifinal games against TJ Malešice, especially in their first game, where the scores was 14 : 13 in favor of LCJM. The second game was won by LCJM 13 : 4, and Jižní Město seemed to be truly ready for the finals and their match up against LCC Radotin.
The first of the final games was played in Radotín on Wednesday, May 15, and the first Custodes strike came only 19 seconds into the game. But Jižní Město played relentless and physical defense, and were effective with their shots, and the score was soon 4 to 1 in favor of the visitors. Custodes scored on the power-play at the end of the first quarter to bring the game back to two goals. After the quarter break, a storm of goals arrived, and suddenly it was Custodes who lead 5 to 4. Both teams then traded goals back and forth, so the score was tight, 6 : 6, at half time.
LCC broke their opponent in the third period. They performed wonderful offensive combinations, moved the ball fluidly, and played solid defense. At the end of the run, they had outscored Jižní Město 5 : 0, to take an 11-6 lead.
The last period was controlled by Custodes, and the game and the final score stopped at 12 : 7, with LCC Radotin taking care of business at home, and going up 1-0 in the three game series.
Jižní Město was able to use all advantages of their home arena in the second game on Friday May 17. Supported by a loud crowd of supporters, they began the game well once again and lead 4 to 1, just as they had in Game 1. Again, they played tough physical defence, and Custodes were suffering from ineffective shooting. Young Jižní Město goalie, Tomáš Čekal, was great between the posts. Remember the name Čekal. This up and comer is going to be very good!
In the 26th minute Lukáš Sailer added a goal to LCJM’s total, and it was 6 : 1. After that, Custodes finally settled down in their play and started to score. The half time score was a much tighter 7 : 4 scoreline, and the battle was set to continue in the third period.
Photo Credit: Martin Bouda
Radotín was more successful on offence than at the beginning of the match, and LCC Radotin was only one goal down after 45 minutes s of play. At the begining of the last quarter Emil Moravec equalized and then Tomáš Procházka turned the game to the Custodes‘ side. But this time Jižní Město did not allow to be broken.
Milan Černík anwered the goal and then Adam Ondráček scored the winning goal five minutes before the final whistle blew. Radotín was knocking hard on the Jižní Město goal but without success. Jáchym Plecháček tacked on a goal to the somewhat surprising home team’s success in the last second, and LCJM won the game, 11 : 9.
Photo Credit: Ondřej Mika
So the NBLL final serie returned to Radotín on Sunday May 19 and once again, both teams were supported with big crowd of fans. And yet again, it was Jižní Město who started the game off better. They started eagerly again and their first shots were very accurate and they lead 4 : 0 in only seven minutes. Only Miroslav Polách was able to score for the LCC side in the first period.
During the break between periods, Custodes concentrated and calmed down. When the second quarter started, home captain Petr Poupě, and then Tomáš Procházka, scored to start a run.
Michal Rozkot’s goal was the only answer for LCJM, and the game was effectively over for Jižní Město as Radotín players found all their skills, and used frightening efficacy on offense, and concentration while on defence.
The visitor’s score on the scoreboard was frozen at five while the home side’s score steadily blew up to 17 by the end of the third period. Radotín controlled the game in the last period and after a persuasive 22 : 8 victory, started to celebrate. The team then received the champion’s trophy from the new Czech Men’s Lacrosse Association president, Pavel Semerák.
LC Custodes confirmed that they have no true equal in the Czech league when they concentrate and play their best box lacrosse. On the other hand, Jižní Město have proven that there is a chance to stop Radotín’s enormous offensive force when a team plays together. Several young and talented players appeared in the Jižní Město uniform and if they continue to work hard the Radotín dominance may not last forever.
The NBLL was played in an Autumn–Spring format with ten teams participating. The new CMLA board plans to change the format, and organize a shorter and more compact competition in the Spring, which will be more interesting for spectators, and motivating for players.
Story By Ondřej Mika