Editor’s Note: Tom Maginley of the NJ Riot Lacrosse Club has stopped in to share the progress and success of the NJ Riot program, specifically with a group of 2017s. Let find out how the summer went for some of the top players in New Jersey!
The organization had a unique approach which was once a player was selected for the team they were able to remain with the program through the next 3 seasons. Additionally, unlike other summer programs all monies collected by the organization went back to supporting the team.
After the summer success of the 2016 team the organization decided to expand to include a 2017 team to compete in the 2014 summer season. Tryouts were held late in the summer of 2013 with 100+ players in attendance. After the second call back a group of 24 players were selected.
The inaugural summer season of 2014 NJ Riot program started June 3rd right after the players had finished up their high school lacrosse season. During the first practice the players quickly meshed and it became clear that there were some very talented players on the squad.
Almost immediately the players bonded and became friends, not just teammates. On every ride home from practice they would participate in group chats discussing what happened at practice and other topics that interest 14 and 15 year old lacrosse players.
It was also clear during practice that the parents were bonding and shared the same excitement about the upcoming season too.
On June 14th the team travelled to Farmingdale, New York to compete in the JV Elite bracket of the NYLA showcase. On their schedule were Massapequa Lacrosse, Tri-State Lacrosse and House of Sports Lacrosse Academy.
The 2017 NJ Riot team went 3-0 in their first showcase and out scored their opponents 30-3. The defense had developed into a shutdown unit while the offense showed patience and control in taking only quality shots.
The weekend of June 21st saw the team traveling to West Chester, Pennsylvania to compete in the AA bracket of the Victory Series Summer Slam. On Saturday the 21st, the team beat the Leading Edge South Lacrosse team by a score of 9-5 and the Twist Lacrosse team by a score of 8-1. On Sunday morning, the team face the Baggataway Lacrosse Club and came away with a 6-5 win.
Still on the schedule were the Central Pennsylvania Dawgs Lacrosse Club and the Freedom Lacrosse club from Philadelphia. The NJ Riot successfully continued their streak with wins the scores of 11-1 and 8-2. These wins put the NJ Riot team into the semifinal round where they beat the Black Dog Legacy team by a score of 8-2.
Next was the finals of the showcase where the team faced the Maryland Wolfpack. Again the NJ Riot team came away with a 5-2 win and went undefeated in the Summer Slam Showcase.
At this point the team was 10-0 and spirits were very high. The team practiced for the next two weeks for their following showcase, The Leopard Classic on July 2nd at Lafayette College.
The first game at the Leopard Classic was with Patriot Lacrosse out of Morristown, NJ. The Patriot team showed a lot of talent and jumped out to a 5-0 lead at half. The NJ Riot teamed rallied in the second half but dropped their first game of the season by a score of 10-5.
Next up were the Dukes Lacrosse team out of Pennsylvania. The Dukes traditionally field a very strong team but the NJ Riot team jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. The Dukes mounted a comeback but were still down by a score of 3-2 at the end of the first half. During the second half, both teams scored multiple times and with 5 minutes left in the game the score was tied 5-5. Unfortunately at that point thunder storms rolled in and the organizers determined it was too dangerous to continue play. The game ended as a tie.
Best of the Best Invitational
Over July 4th weekend the team travelled again to Long Island to compete in the National 175 Best of the Best Invitational. Friday night saw the NJ Riot 2017 beating Team Turnpike from NJ by a score of 6-2 in pool play.
Saturday afternoon saw the NJ Riot beat the Long Island Jesters by a score of 5-4. That afternoon the Iron Horse Team out of Texas handed the NJ Riot their first loss of the tournament by a score of 6-3.
Later that evening the Riot team was handed its second loss in a game with the Long Island Outlaws by a score of 11-2.
Sunday morning the Riot team was back on the field for a game with the Juiced Cherries team from Michigan. The Riot team came away with a 6-5 win in that contest. Later that afternoon the team finished up its season with a 5-4 loss to Team Twist.
Overall in 2014 summer competition, the 2017 NJ Riot team compiled a record of 13-4-1 against some very strong teams. The players have become friends and have developed as teammates which will only continue through the next 3 years. The parents share the players’ enthusiasm and the camaraderie amongst the organization is something special.
Thanks to Lee Southren and Barry Marenberg for having the vision and starting the NJ Riot program, thanks to coaches Scarpello and Armstrong and their staff for making every moment a teaching moment for the players during both practices and games and last but not least, thanks to all the NJ Riot 2017 players for giving us the opportunity to watch you play at a high level. I cant wait to see you all again next year!