October 27, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks
In last year's Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational Tournament, The Dirty Lacrosse Club lost a hard-fought 5-4 battle against the defending champions, Wimmer Solutions, in the tournament championship.
Dirty Lax will be seeking to avenge its loss at the 22nd Annual Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational, which is hosted by the Hawaii Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse on Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu.
"Obviously losing stinks, but the whole experience around the actual tournament makes it tough to feel that bad. I think I speak for the team when I say that we're all grateful to have this experience again," said team captain Kevin Crowley.
According to Dirty Lax Founder Jason Donville, the club was designed to give Canadian and Iroquois players a chance to stay versed in the field game. This is the second year the team has competed in Hawaii in preparation for the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships.
"A lot of the guys get a lot more box reps than field reps once their NCAA career is over," said Donville. "Part of the reason why Dirty exists is to give them a chance to play high-level field lacrosse outside of the box season."
The roster features National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse stars such as Jeremy Thompson, Evan Kirk, Andrew Suitor and Adam Jones. Cody Jamieson and Stephen Keogh will be representing the defending NLL Champion Rochester Knighthawks.
"Anytime you put a competitive group of players together I think you're looking to win every time. I'm sure those guys (from last year) felt like they owed it to the organizers and the sponsors to bring out a 'W' so that will be the top priority," said Jamieson, who won an NCAA Championship with Keogh at Syracuse in 2009.
In the 2011 final against Wimmer Solutions included John Galloway (Rochester Rattlers) and Brett Queener (Hamilton Nationals), lacrosse Hall of Famer Gary Gait and Garrett Billings of the Toronto Rock/Hamilton Nationals. Wimmer broke away with two straight goals in the second half to take a 4-2 lead. Former RIT star Jordan MacIntosh cut the deficit to one for Dirty Lax before 2012 MLL Championship Weekend MVP Ben Rubeor netted the game winner. Crowley's goal made it 5-4, but Galloway and the Wimmer defense prevented a late comeback.
"We hit a couple crossbars late in the game where a couple of lucky breaks and the game would have been ours," said Donville.
Due to the fact that the players on the Dirty Lax roster live across the United States and Canada, getting the team together for practice is nearly impossible. They had one chance to play together in an exhibition game versus Canisius College on September 29th.
"Getting to know each other and the field, where each other likes to be, where they're going to go at a certain time, that's all the little things that when you play together makes a big difference," Jamieson said about the benefits of the exhibition game.
Dirty Lax defeated the Golden Griffins 21-2. Keogh scored a game-high five goals, while the first overall pick in the 2012 NLL Draft, Mark Matthews, finished with a game-best seven points (2+5).
In addition to the experience gained on the field, there is plenty to take in off the field as well. As Donville noted, "It is very easy to get guys to play for this team because of their annual trip to the tropical island."
"It takes a long time to get there, but once you get there the guys go, 'Wow! This is the coolest place to have a lacrosse tournament ever.' Even if you talk to guys like John Grant Jr., they will tell the young guys if they get a chance to play in this tournament, you go to grab it," said Donville.
With highs of about 80 degrees and zero percent chance of rain, according to weather.com, it should be a beautiful weekend for lacrosse Kapiolani Park.
"I've always said lacrosse has taken me all over the world. It really has. Last year, I just got back from Czech Republic. I went all around North America. I haven't been to Hawaii yet, and this is a chance to do it. I'm really excited," said Jamieson.
"What makes the tournament so special is the setting and the cultural experience. We owe a huge thanks to Jason Donville and everyone who supports our team for providing us with this opportunity," added Crowley, the first overall pick in the 2011 NLL Draft.
Crowley has his eyes on winning this year's Hawaiian Koa Spear Award, which is given to the championship team.
"I think our team this year has made some big roster moves that will make us even more competitive than last year," he said.
Dirty Lax Roster