Team America wins its pool in hot, stormy Champ Camp Thursday

Michael Keasey
Michael Keasey scored four times against Team Turnpike, including the game-winner with 10 seconds left.

TOWSON, Md. — Newport Beach-based Team America won two more Champ Camp pool games Thursday — though not easily — and had one cancelled by lightning. TA nevertheless advanced to the championship bracket as the top seed from Pool I.

TA will play Friday at 9 a.m. ET, but at this point the opponent has not been determined. So many games have been cancelled by bad weather that tie-breakers aren’t as obvious as they should be, but organizers have been updating the Champ Camp schedule page regularly.

Casey Mix, Team America
Casey Mix had two goals and two assists in Thursday’s win over the Long Island Thunder.

More photos: Wednesday’s game | Thursday vs. Long Island | Thursday vs. Turnpike

After winning its opener Wednesday night at Johns Hopkins, Team America beat the Long Island Thunder 9-7 early Thursday at Towson University, then hung on to beat a tenacious Team Turnpike team 10-9 on a sweltering afternoon at St. Paul’s school.

After surrendering a goal to open play against the Thunder, TA surged ahead with four unanswered goals, two from rising senior attack Chris Von Der Ahe. But Long Island closed to within 5-4 at halftime, then tied it 6-6 earl in the third.

TA regained the lead on a transition goal by rising senior Casey Mix, with an assist from Sean Rodgers of Loudon County, Va., then Orange County Player of the Year Michael Keasey ripped two in from the outside for a 9-6 lead.

In the afternoon game against then-unbeaten Team Turnpike Elite SB 2014, Team America again built an early lead only to watch it slip away against a physical opponent that controlled possession at the faceoff spot and consistently found open shooters inside.

Keasey gave TA a 1-0 lead early, then Mix popped in two quick ones for a 3-0 margin. But Turnpike came right back with four unanswered for 4-3 lead before Keasey ended the run with a goal for 4-4.

Michael Keasey
Michael Keasey scored four goals vs. Team Turnpike, including the game-winner with :10 left.

Turnpike once again took the lead, and Keasey once again sparked the offense, feeding rising sophomore Ben Palitz in transition for the tying goal. Seconds later, Palitz had another goal waved off on a crease violation call as time expired in the half, leaving the teams tied at halftime.

Twice in the second half TA built two-goal cushions, but twice Turnpike came back to tie, the last one with under a minute to play off a loose-ball scramble in front of the Team America goal.

Keasey, however, saved his best for last, going end to end in the final 30 seconds, driving the left-hand alley, then rolling back to the middle for a hard right-hand shot and the game-winner.

Keasey finished with four goals and an assist against Turnpike after scoring two in the morning game.

Team America’s third game Thursday was among a handful cancelled by lightning as a band of thunderstorms blew through. It actually was a welcome respite from mid-90s temperatures and oppressive humidity. The weather is supposed to lighten up Friday, giving hope for a delay-free championship round.