Wrapping up Team America’s trip to Champ Camp

Team America, Team 24
Team 24 from the Carthage, N.Y., area didn't score on this crease dive (which questionably was ruled a push) but managed to beat Team America in OT.

Foul weather, scrambled game schedules and travel back to Cali kept me from this post over the last few days, but I wanted to make sure to share impressions of Team America’s championship-bracket play from Friday and Saturday before we forget all about Champ Camp 2012.

Team America is based out of Newport Beach’s Corona del Mar HS and made up mostly of Sea Kings players (see rosters at bottom of this post). This year, the roster also included players from nearby Newport Harbor HS and San Fernando Valley schools Chaminade College Prep and Granada Hills Charter, as well as three players who met the team in Baltimore — two from Charlotte, N.C., and one from Loudoun County, Va. Team America 2, a roster of younger players, also competed in Baltimore (more below).

GW Mix, CdM head coach, put the rosters together before heading to Baltimore early to help run Champ Camp, which he co-founded in 1990. TA 1 was coached by Ryan Mix, GW’s son and a CdM alum and rising junior at Notre Dame, and Jeremy Sieverts of the MLL’s Denver Outlaws. TA2 was coached by CdM JV coach Andy Chalupa.

Team America, Team 24
Team 24 from the Carthage, N.Y., area didn’t score on this crease dive (which questionably was ruled a push) but managed to beat Team America in OT.

More photos:
vs. Team Indiana | vs. Long Island | vs. Turnpike | vs. Team 24 | Friday’s other games

After winning its pool with a 3-0 record (and one game cancelled by lightning), Team America suffered its first loss of the tournament Friday morning to Team 24, based out of Carthage, N.Y. Carthage is alma mater to the Powell brothers — Casey, Ryan and Mikey — as well as a number of other players who went on to college and professional success, including Chaminade coach Jared Little.

Carthage also is coached by Kirk Ventiquattro, for whom the club is named. The roster featured players from Carthage HS and league-rival Watertown HS, as well as players from Connecticut and a solid goalie from Florida (wild guess: his connection to the team had something to do with Casey Powell, who coaches at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Fla.). In other words, Team 24 was bound to be good, and it was.

Todd Kitzens, Team America, Team 24
CdM rising senior Todd Kitzens pulled Team America to within 6-5 early in the second half.

Team 24 lost once in pool play, then won three in a row in the championship bracket before falling to eventual tournament champion Dukes in the semifinals Saturday morning. The first of those three wins in a row came against Team America, 8-7 in overtime after Team America had erased a 6-1 deficit. TA actually had possession in the final minute with a chance to win, but had a shot on goal saved, then held on for OT when goalie Michael Ortlieb, a CdM grad headed to Holy Cross, saved two shots in the final 30 seconds.

The loss was disappointing, to be sure. But for me, a lax dad still trying to figure out just how good West Coast players are compared to their counterparts from the East, the context of it made the result pretty remarkable. Team America had stood toe-to-toe with a team coached by a Hall of Famer and hailing from one of the hottest of lacrosse hotbeds and came within a skip pass and a bouncer of winning. Last year, Team America won its group and its first winner’s bracket game before finally losing. Does that say something about SoCal lacrosse? Or just about Corona del Mar? We might not know until another club from around here enters this kind of tournament back East.

Kellen Loftus, Team America, Team 24
Holding onto GBs wasn’t easy — though Kellen Loftus did here, despite the stick-bending check.

To say the loss loosened up the Team America boys would be an understatement. Knocked out of contention, TA coasted past a young Atlanta Coyotes squad 9-5, then spotted Red & Black Elite (Hunterdon Central HS, Flemington, N.J.) an early lead before rallying to win 7-5.

Saturday, Team America finished up with a morning game in the pouring rain on a girls field — no restraining lines, no space behind the goal — against Long Island I, made up of players from Suffolk County, L.I. The result was predictable — an 11-3 win for Long Island — as it was clear the Team America boys were ready to head home.

Michael Keasey, Team America, Red & Black Elite
CdM grad Michael Keasey, bound for Yale, demonstrated throughout Champ Camp why he was named Orange County POY.

When all was said and done, Team America had posted a 5-2 record against teams from upstate New York, Long Island, New Jersey and two non-traditional areas in Georgia and Indiana — more than respectable.

Because of the schedule and the field locations around the Baltimore area, I wasn’t able to see Team America 2, primarily made up of incoming freshmen (11) and rising sophomores (7) from Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, San Clemente, Orange Lutheran, Esperanza, Chaminade, Oaks Christian and Newbury Park. TA2 went 1-6 at Champ Camp, beating only Pittsburgh 2013 Elite — presumably a team of rising seniors — but dropping close games to Ridgewood 2 (N.J.) and Excell Lacrosse (South Carolina) 5-1.

Two other West Coast teams also made an impression at Champ Camp this year. Fog City, from St. Ignatius HS in San Francisco, won its pool at 4-0 and lost only to eventual champion Dukes in the second championship-bracket game. Fog City beat teams from New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. The Black Rhinos from Portland, Ore., won their pool at 3-1 and finished 5-3 overall.

Team America 1

No. Name              Pos  '12 Grd  High School
 1  Michael Ortlieb    G     12     Corona Del Mar
 2  Brett Nelson       M     11     Corona Del Mar
 3  Kyle Sherburne     M     12     Corona Del Mar
 4  Brett Greenlee     D      9     Corona Del Mar
 5  Ben Palitz         A      9     Corona Del Mar
 6  Jake Priester      M      9     Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic
 7  Sean Rogers        A     10     Loudoun County, Va.
 8  Sherwin Gersten    M      9     Corona Del Mar
 9  Michael Keasey     M     12     Corona Del Mar
10  Hoyt Crance        G      9     Corona Del Mar
11  Kellen Loftus      LSM   11     Chaminade
12  Chris Von Der Ahe  A     11     Corona Del Mar
13  Keith Thomas       M     11     Granada Hills Charter
14  Chase McElroy      M     11     Corona Del Mar
15  Jay Damon          M     10     Corona Del Mar
16  Daniel McCabe      M     10     Corona Del Mar
17  Jack Ewles         D     10     Corona Del Mar
18  Todd Kitzens       A     11     Corona Del Mar
19  Jack Ortlieb       A     11     Corona Del Mar
20  Casey Mix          A     11     Corona Del Mar
21  Riley Robinson     A     12     Newport Harbor
22  Hugh Crance        LSM    9     Corona Del Mar
23  Rocky Feinberg     A     11     Corona Del Mar
24  Jack Murrel        D     12     Newport Harbor
25  Patrick Shea       A     10     Charlotte (N.C.) Latin
27  Matt English       D     12     Corona Del Mar

Team America 2

No. Name                Pos  '12 Grd   High School
 2  Kole Escher           A    10      Newport Harbor
 3  Mitch Kalkwarf        A     8      Chaminade
 4  Noah Howe             A     9      Corona Del Mar
 5  Nino Chavez           M     9      Corona Del Mar
 6  Logan Miller          M     9      Corona Del Mar
 7  Jack Lynch            A     9      Newport Harbor
 8  Kaveh Torabian        D     8      Oaks Christian
 9  Cole Campbell         LSM   9      Corona Del Mar
10  William Cord          A     8      Corona Del Mar
11  Stephen Von Der Ahe   A     8      Corona Del Mar
12  Caleb Bozarth         LSM   8      San Clemente
13  John Connelly         D     9      Newport Harbor
14  John Harzan           G    11      Orange Lutheran
15  Matthew Truninger     D     8      Corona Del Mar
16  Jacob Flaxman         M     8      Corona Del Mar
17  Skyler Hauck          M     8      Corona Del Mar
18  Max Kline             M     9      Corona Del Mar
19  Nick Vass             A    11      Esperanza
21  Matthew Saucedo       M     8      Corona Del Mar
22  Chasen Colter         M     8      Newbury Park
23  Jason Simaan          M     8      Corona Del Mar