The LXM Pro Tour returned to Southern California for its third year to start its 2012 campaign. In this year’s matchup, Team Solé (formerly known as Team East and Team LXM East) defeated Team STX with a late rally, 14-13.
The atmosphere was great, and the 70-degree weather at faceoff kept the crowd coming in through the second quarter. As expected, the teams had excellent new gear, and the setup was complete with an STX truck, vendor village, CPK and snack bar.
Check out more photos from the day here.
For those who couldn’t make it to the game, The Lacrosse Network youtube.com/tln had the entire day covered with live-stream webcasts. The replay is available here.
Newcomer Sam Bradman, the former Salisbury star coming off a Division III national title win last weekend, made his professional debut count, scoring the first goal of the game for Team STX en route to a hat trick in his first post-collegiate contest. Mike Powell had few touches early and seemed to be a little frustrated when after a slow first quarter his Team Solé squad trailed 3-1.
The second quarter was high scoring, and the crowd really started getting into the game. Team STX scored the first two of the quarter, one a nifty one handed catch and finish from Erik Klum and another a big rip from Bradman. Brandon Corp answered with two of his own for Team Solé, but Max Ritz scored for Team STX just seconds after Corp’s first goal.
After a Graham Gill goal, Powell made a beautiful behind-the-back feed to John Christmas on the doorstep, who finished on the man up. The quarter continued to go back and forth, as Lewis Ratcliff scored, MP snuck away from his man and was found curling from behind the cage for one, and Klum notched his third. Going into half, Team STX held a 9-6 lead.
Sean Lindsay opened the third quarter by stinging the corner for Team Solé. Powell then found Corp to bring the game within one. Bradman cut the Solé run short, though, with his third of the game. Three more goals were scored in the quarter, from Brendan Porter, Ritz and Brad Reppert. At the end of the third Team STX was clinging to a slim, 11-10 lead.
After five minutes of scoreless lacrosse to open the fourth, Porter scored again, this time with a long pole, to tie the game. Shamel Bratton answered for Team STX with a shifty dodge and lefty rip, but Gill scored again not long after. On the ensuing faceoff, Ritz finished a fast break before Porter scored to once again tie the game with about 4:30 left. A few minutes later, Powell found Corp on the crease, sealing the comeback victory.
Corp and Porter were named co-MVPs. Altogether, I learned that no one can stop Sham-Wow Bratton when he’s dodging full speed, Sam Bradman is the real deal, and Mike Powell is still the Greatest of All Time. For me, MP was the best player in the game, and you could not help but root for his team when he had the ball. It was a very entertaining game.
For the Kids
It’s no doubt that this LXM event was for the kids, from the pregame youth clinic to the multiple t-shirt giveaways and postgame autograph session.
The champions from Adrenaline’s youth leagues were honored at halftime, and the team MVPs and all-league players were announced.
The Adrenaline All-American Game, which last year was played before the LXM Pro game, was moved to primetime “to maximize exposure for the LXM game and shorten the day for the fans who weren’t there to see” the AA Game, according to organizers. As a result, though, the crowd for the late game thinned out, as the cooler night air sent some heading for the gate, and the autograph tables kept many occupied for most of the first half of the AA game.
A few other things that stood out as perhaps working counter to LXM’s goal of reaching youth lacrosse players in non-hotbed markets were the music choices and some choice words a few players dropped during the game. Perhaps I heard some of the colorful language due only to my proximity to the field, but I think moving forward LXM should consider music without explicit lyrics and ask the players to watch their language on the field. Small changes like that could make a big difference.
Catching Up With the Pros
After the game, I had a chance to talk with a few of the LXM pros.
Sam Bradman was ecstatic, saying that the last few weeks “had been a whirlwind” as he’d flown out just days after another Division III championship at Salisbury. He was loving the event, taking it all in as he felt “like a rockstar.”
Maxx Davis was extremely happy with how the day went, saying it was a “great way to kickoff the tour.” Davis commented that this was “one of the best events” due to their partnership with the Adrenaline All-American Game.
Max Ritz also heralded the Adrenaline partnership, saying that it was incredible to be sponsored by the “best in class” with Adrenaline, STX, Cascade, and others. Ritz noted how much LXM has grown since its first ever event, LXM949 2009. He said that it’s amazing that fans were coming up to him saying they’d be at the next event — June 23 in Coronado, Calif. — and even knew the dates of upcoming LXM games.
Ritz is also excited for these upcoming events, as LXM will continue its partnership with Adrenaline in the ATS series, combining Adrenaline club tournaments (which often bring in close to 80 teams) and LXM Pro games.