Eclipse U-13s head to Denver for World Series of Lacrosse

The team has been a long time in the making, but the payoff is coming this week.

The Eclipse Lacrosse Club U-13 National Team, which features 21 top players from the area, is taking its talents westward to Denver, Col., this week to compete in the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse this week.

The tournament will feature 24 teams in four divisions, and the lacrosse action will certainly be at a high level.

The Eclipse players were practicing at Dunning Field on Monday and Tuesday and will then head to Denver for the tournament which runs Saturday through Monday, July 2-4. The final will be carried by ESPN2 at 4 p.m., Monday, from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

It’s been a long time coming, as the first players were chosen for the team last August, and more were added from the Eclipse program through the fall and winter.

“We’ve put a lot of time and a lot of effort into it,” coach Jamie Hanford said on Monday. “This is a very special class with some excellent lacrosse players. We hand-picked the group and we’ve been working really hard to get these kids ready to play at the highest level.

“We have a couple of practices this week and then we’re heading out to Denver. It’s a really special event and the lacrosse is great. It’s really an awesome opportunity for these kids. ”

The U13 team, which has a 15-1-1 record this season, includes players from many of the top towns in the area, including New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Westport, Fairfield and Madison among others. They’re members of the high school Class of 2021, and it’s likely that they’ll be playing in high-stakes FCIAC and CIAC games within a few years.

The New Canaan contingent of six players includes goalie Thomas Ricciardelli, defensemen Jack Murphy and Charles Borthwick, midfielders Jack Almeida and Chris Canet, and attack Callum Wood.

Attack Holt Matheis and middies Connor O’Malley and Matthew Stein all hail from Darien, and the Greenwich group includes attacks Leo Johnson and Keegan Gilsenan, midfielders Luke Waters and Gavin Molloy, and Michael Frechette as a long stick middie/defenseman.

Also featured in the roster are midfielders Blake Burchill and Sean Fox of Fairfield, defenseman Kevin Lynch of Westport, midfielder Henry Cohen of Weston, defenseman Ben Sisk of Madison, goalie Andrew Widlar of Middlebury, and midfielder Christian Gallaher of Wappinger Falls, N.Y.

Hanford, a former Darien Blue Wave star, leads the coaching staff, which also features former New Canaan Ram Andy Towers, Brunswick coach Brendan Gilsenan and Connor Waldron.

Hanford, who was an All-American at Loyola College, played for 13 years in Major League Lacrosse as part of the Colorado Mammoth, New York Titans and Rochester Knighthawks, among others.

Towers coached for 19 years of Division I college lacrosse, and was the head coach at Dartmouth from 2009 through 2014. A member of the US Lacrosse Connecticut Hall of Fame and the Brown University Hall of Fame, Towers was an All-American at Brown and played in the National Lacrosse League and the MLL.

The Eclipse Lacrosse Club program includes players from the third grade up through high school age, and Hanford said the Class of 2021 team of U13s is a unique group that took a while to assemble.

“It’s a really big class and this was an eight-month process to put this team together,” Hanford said. “We had tryouts in August and we have two teams in this grade — the 2021 grade, which is seventh-graders. We had tryouts, we picked 11 kids and then as we did some fall and winter tournaments, from August to February, we were evaluating the balance of the team.”

“We’ve worked really, really hard since August, so now that it’s here, we’re really excited. They’ll be with their families there and it’s going to be a great experience.”

Each team will have five games in pool play at the World Series, with games beginning at 9:15 a.m., Mountain Time, Saturday. Three pool play games will be held the first day and two more on Sunday, followed by the quarterfinals at 1 and 2:15 p.m., Sunday.

On July 4, the semifinals, as well as consolation games, will start at 8 a.m., with the final at 4 p.m.

The U13s have already had plenty of experience with tough competition, having played in the NLF Super Series Event and the Big 4 in Pennsylvania, and the Tri-Star Class in Long Island over the past three weekends.

“The past three tournaments we played were the best club teams in the country,” Hanford said. “The best of the best were there, so these were not easy tournaments. We were facing the best club teams and played at a very high level.”

Whatever the World Series holds, the experience will be a huge plus for the players,

“It’s a hyper-competitive group and obviously, we want to go out there and win, but it’s not always about winning and losing,” Hanford said. “I want them to enjoy the experience, and I want them to have fun. They’re seventh-graders, so at the end of the day, they’re kids. I want them to enjoy this experience.”

[RoyalSlider Error] Incorrect RoyalSlider ID or problem with query.

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress