by T.D. Paulius & R. DeLeo
Photographs by T.D. Paulius

Chicago hosted its ninth annual fall ball tournament in September. The Great Chicago Shoot Out Fall Lacrosse Classic was held in Winnetka, Illinois on September 18 and 19. Twelve lacrosse clubs from around the country participated this year. These clubs, consisted mostly post-college (Division I and others) and some indoor players, represented Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and, of course, the East Coast. When this tourney first started in 1990, eight teams participated. The tournament has grown over the years to now accommodate twelve teams and does much to increase interest in lacrosse in the Midwest. Teams from Detroit, Atlanta, Boston and Manitoba, Canada have played in past tournaments.

Sponsors of this year's tourney included Lakeview Links, Sam Adams beer (Boston Brewing Company), BRINE and Lacrosse America. The players came in all sizes and shapes, ranging from the 52-year old Air Force Colonel who played for Team Cincinnati to noted indoor players Tom Ryan (Baltimore Thunder) of the Crease Monkeys to the Monkeys' Harry Mazaheri (Washington & Lee), a 43-year old goalie and to the firemen and policemen of "the City", who made up the NYPD team. The teams in the tourney were: Calvert Lacrosse Club, Lincoln Park Lacrosse Club, NYPD, Cincinnati Lacrosse Club, Lakeshore Lacrosse Club, Crease Monkeys, AST, Arena Lacrosse Club, Chicago Lacrosse Club, Team Texas, St. Louis Lacrosse Club and Team Colorado.

The teams played games for their final seeding on Saturday followed by a tournament party at the Lakeview Links. The party was not endless, but some of the players may have found their performance improved rather than hampered, especially players from the NYPD team, who lost a gutsy game to AST on Sunday in their fight to claim seventh place in the tournament.

Crease Monkeys vs. Arena Lacrosse Club

The premier match up for the tournament title was held between the Arena lacrosse club from the "Island" and the Crease Monkeys from Philadelphia. This game saw many bodies flying through the air, resulting in new and creative penalty calls from the officiating team. The game certainly employed much hitting due to the style of play that some of the Monkeys employ in their other MILL (Baltimore Thunder and Philly Wings) lives, but was also vocal, as noted by one Midwestern referee, who was heard to comment: "Whaddya expect; these are all New Yorkers, they play with their mouths". Nevertheless, these teams brought a good East Coast style of play to Chicago, which is probably one reason why a local team did not win the title, as Lakeshore Lacrosse Club did in 1998.

The Crease Monkeys, the only club team in the US that has its own website (www.creasemonkeys.com) charged out to a 1-0 lead. The play was indeed physical and wrap checks at times appeared to be more directed to one's throat, rather than to one's body (5 personal fouls were called). The Monkeys tallied again in the first quarter on a well-executed screen on the right to beat Arena goalie Kevin McCusker. A double penalty on the Monkeys gave Arena their opening to cut the lead to 2-1 and end the first quarter. The teams exchanged goals and midway through the second quarter, an attackman from Arena beat Harry Mazaheri (the tournament Defensive MVP) to tie the game at 4 all. The Monkeys then made their statement. Tommy Ryan with the longest coif east of the Mississippi, took a feed from midfield and charged the goal, beating goalie Kevin McCusker with a ground ball. Ham Pollard (Penn State) tallied with another grounder to put the Monkeys up 6-4 entering the third quarter. The two teams exchanged goals with No. 3 of ARENA scoring and Monkeys Brian Reese (Maryland) scoring to make the score 7-5. Penalties were exchanged and both sides benefitted, with the Monkeys still ahead 10-6. Tom Ryan increased the lead for the Monkeys to 10-6. Two penalties hurt the Monkeys in a 2-man down situation and Mazaheri got beat on his left side, low to make the score 10-7, Monkeys. The Monkeys wanted this game and on the ensuing faceoff, Pollard fed Scot Hochstadt (Maryland) who smoked Arena's goalie for his 4th score of the game and to put the Monkeys firmly in the lead 11-7 on their way to winning 13-7. John Fay of the Monkeys was the game's high scorer with 4 goals of his own.

Lincoln Park Lacrosse Club vs. Chicago Lacrosse Club

The action was equally enjoyable in one of the consolation games played between two local teams, the Lincoln Park Lacrosse Club and the Chicago Lacrosse Club. Lincoln Park, in the game deciding 5th place, opened up with a slow-paced attack, working the ball methodically around the cage, seeking just the right opportunity for a shot and taking advantage of slip ups in the Chicago defense. Lincoln Park tallied first, but Chicago charged back to lead 2-1 by dropping a shot behind Lincoln Park goalie Chuck Uchill (Army) on his off side. Each team took advantage of the man-up situations as a fair amount of unnecessary roughness flags were thrown.

Lincoln Park seemed to thrive on working the ball from behind the cage and peppering the Chicago goalie and eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter to lead by 3. With 1:08 left in the game, Chicago began a comeback and tallied to narrow the margin by 2. On the ensuing faceoff, Lincoln Park responded acting like Virgina in the NCAA finals and slammed in another to lead again by 3. With 30 seconds left, Chicago's Jeff Carr beat Lincoln Park longstick middie Eric Doesburg (Clemson) for his second score to drop the lead to 2 goals. With 0:06 on the clock, Chicago was again on the attack but its shot went wide as Lincoln Park won 11-9. Pete Sanders (CW Post) and Mike Julius (Ohio State) of Lincoln Park led the scoring with 3 tallies each.
The Chicago Shoot-Out is due to efforts of Rich DeLeo, former Chicago L.C. player and US Lacrosse regional representative for the Midwest, and a few sponsors. Rich has devoted a great deal of time and effort to the tournament and its increasing number of teams attests to his efforts. The concessions were ably manned by Stan Hutchen and the tournament players were assisted by certified trainer Lisa Schoene.

The final standings were as follows: 1- Crease Monkeys; 2-Arena Lacrosse Club; 3-Lakeshore Lacrosse Club; 4-Team Colorado; 5-AST; 6-NYPD; 7- Lincoln Park Lacrosse Club; 8-Chicago Lacrosse Club; 9-Team Texas; 10-Calvert Lacrosse Club; 11-Cincinnati Lacrosse Club; and, 12-St. Louis Lacrosse Club.

For information on next year's tourney to be held in September 2000, and for a chance to claim the tournament trophy from the Crease Monkeys, call Rich DeLeo at (773)-281-9180 or email him at RdeLeo@senr.com.

an AST player tries a wrap check against NYPD

Mike Ryan (Franklin & Marshall) of the Crease Monkeys strips an Arena attackman

The Monkey's goalie Harry Mazaheri (Washington & Lee)

Lakeshore Goalie Jim Shleck (Wisconsin)

NYPD and AST battle for a ground ball

NYPD v. AST Action

Lincoln Park's poles Jon West (14) and Eric Doesburg (31) against Chicago

Lincoln Park's Eddie Fay (Duke)

Lincoln Park v. Chicago action

Crease Monkey Tom Ryan about to score another

Posted January 18, 2000