Seven divisions of play, two action-packed days, 12 bustling fields, and 79 awesome girls teams made for another great weekend of competition at Summit Lacrosse Venture’s annual Northstar Capital City Classic, which took place on the campus of SUNY Albany, June 23-24.
When I say 12 fields were bustling, I should also mention that they were perfectly manicured rugs that only a top level NCAA Division 1 facility would have, and they provided a truly perfect fit for the elevated level of competition these ladies were bringing to Central New York.
2018 Northstar Capital City Classic
Despite the late notice of one no-show (in the 2020-2021 Bronze division) and a less-than-promising weather forecast, the organizers still made sure that all the teams still managed to play their anticipated five games, most with three games on Saturday and then two more on Sunday. Saturday’s weather did bring some rain in the afternoon, but there was no thunder or lightning, and the light rain never really turned into a downpour.
I’m guessing the girls on the fields barely even realized it was raining as the games kept moving. Their play certainly didn’t drop off at all! Sunday’s weather was better – mostly overcast, but no rain, and still plenty of great lacrosse.
Before we go further on the event, let’s hit up a quick breakdown of each division’s championships…
Nod to the Northstar Champs
12U 2024-2025 Gold
Six teams played a five-game round robin format, and in the end, Sunday’s final game saw the Blue Devils 2024 squad complete their undefeated two-day run, beating Common Goal 2024 by a 9-6 score.
12U 2024-2025 Silver
In another six-team round robin, the Rush-Henrietta 2024-2025 Royal Comets also went 5-0, clinching a set of new team T-shirts by defeating the Orange Crush 2025 team by an impressive 13-3 tally.
14U 2022-2023 Gold
Twelve teams were broken up into three pools of four, with three pool winners and an at-large team advancing to a pair of divisional semi-finals. In the consolation game played for third and fourth place, Common Goal defeated LADY ROC by a 5-3 score, and in the division championship, the Gait Lacrosse Club won a close, 7-6 game over Gold Coast ’22 Gold.
14U 2022-2023 Silver
This division had the same structure as the 14U Gold. The semi-finals saw Common Goal 2023 and Orange Crush ’22-’23 advance over Albany Elite and the Gait Lacrosse Club. In the final, Common Goal prevailed over Orange Crush by a 13-4 score, and in the consolation game, Albany Elite knocked off Gait LC by a 6-3 score.
With 16 teams in this division, there were four pools of four teams, with each pool winner advancing to a divisional semi-final. However, things got interesting in Pool A, as Rush Henrietta, Orange Crush, and HGR Blue finished in a three-way tie against one another. Of course, each team allowed 21 goals in their three games, so an additional tie-breaker was necessary. Rush-Henrietta had the best goal differential, and got the coveted #1 seed in the pool, while HGR Blue came out with the #2 seed. In the semi-finals, Gold Coast 2020 and Rush-Henrietta lost their games, and in the consolation game for third place, Gold Coast won by an 11-6 score. In the championship game, LADY ROC YELLOW dominated the Monarchs by a 16-1 score, which was surprising considering both semi-finals were one-goal games.
This was another full 16 team division, constructed the same as the Gold division. The four pool winners were LADY ROC, Igloo 2021, Gait Lacrosse Club 2021, and Legion 2021. Igloo edged Legion 7-6 in the consolation game, while LADY ROC defeated Gait LC by a 12-9 score.
Facing a last-minute division with an awkward number of teams (11), the Bronze division’s competitors all managed to nonetheless play five games. Once again, three pool winners were joined by one at-large team, and the four of them – Orange Crush, Empress White ’21, Team 91 ’21 Orange, and Blue Devils 2021 – met in two semi-finals, with the Orange Crush and the Blue Devils winning their games. In the third-place game, Team 91 Orange 2021 downed Empress White ’21 9-6, and in the championship, the Orange Crush beat the Blue Devils by a 9-7 score.
But wait – there’s more!
As an added bonus, on Sunday afternoon lacrosse players, parents, and fans were treated to a pro game right there at the same venue! The Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) is targeting its 2018 games for girls’ tournaments and MLL games in an attempt to draw more spectators, and their plan looked like it was working on Sunday afternoon. With a short break in the tournament’s game schedule allowing for better attendance, the Upstate Pride hosted the New England Command on Ford Field at Casey Stadium. The visitors won an exciting one-goal game (11-10 in overtime), and capping the Northstar Capital City Classic with a professional women’s lacrosse games meant that everyone walked away a winner.
As they say in real estate, it’s all about “Location, location, location”, and the Albany area is ideal for a lacrosse tournament. With easy trips from the East (featuring Boston and New England); the South (Long Island, Westchester, and northern New Jersey); and of course, all the CNY hotbeds to the West (Utica, Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown, Rochester, and Buffalo) this event draws in tons of talent. And on top of being dead center on the lacrosse map, SUNY Albany also makes a great tournament site – plenty of fields, parking, vendors, places to eat, nearby hotels, and more.
Even with a turf field off-line due to renovation and a couple of high school graduations on campus during the day on Saturday, there was nary a speed bump all weekend. For those that have been involved in event production, that’s a hard site to come by.
Summit Lacrosse Venture’s annual Northstar Capital City Classic is extremely well run, and for a really big event it still maintains an intimate and positive feeling. The players get after it, and go hard, but there are also a whole lot of smiles because young women are playing the game for the right reasons AND at a very high level. It’s what summer lacrosse should be.
If you’re looking for a top level summer tourney for the young women in your life the Northstar Capital City Classic simply has to be on your list.