The fourth annual Konica Minolta Big City Classic was held on April 1, 2012. Once again, the event delivered the elite names of college lacrosse in an exciting tripleheader on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ formerly the New Meadowlands Stadium. With top-ranked teams such as Syracuse, Duke, Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins and North Carolina in the lineup, this is always a must-see Inside Lacrosse event for fans of this fast growing sport. The games were:
I am a bit biased as I shoot for Inside Lacrosse several times a year, but it really is a great event. The games are usually close, the fans wild and the athletes phenomenal. On a personal level, I enjoy photographing lacrosse because it is such a tight-knit community from all levels, including the players, the coaches, the magazines and yes the photographers as well. In fact, whenever I photograph a lacrosse event I am surprised to find so many players that I have shot in high school and in some cases grammar school lax as well. Enjoy some of my favorites below.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I was out working while most everyone else was celebrating this wonderful holiday. I was shooting the UMass at Penn State men’s lax game for Inside Lacrosse Magazine, which is the source for the sport. My favorite shot from the college game was the above celebration after UMass scored the winning goal in sudden death during over time. Instead of sitting in the corner as I usually do, I positioned myself mid-field so I had a clear view of both team benches. It had been a close match during the entire game so I wanted a sport I can shoot either bench. I did not watch the action during sudden death. I was focused on the attacking team’s bench and I was going to release the shutter the moment the team scored. I would’ve watched the action then turned toward the bench but I would’ve missed the peak celebration when UMass maintained its undefeated season.
FROM PRESS RELEASE
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Senior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) netted the overtime game-winner on a wraparound shot to give the Wildcats a 13-12 overtime victory over Bucknell on Saturday afternoon. In a game that featured seven ties and four lead changes, No. 9 Villanova relied on the strength of upperclassmen experience and junior Jack Rice’s (Baltimore, Md.) career-high six goals to propel the Wildcats to the win.
“Our offense played fast, we were picking great, and spinning the ball quick, finding guys on the backside, that’s what I think was very effective for us,” Rice said.
Sophomore faceoff specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) won the final 11 face-offs of the game starting at the 8:18 mark of the third quarter and continuing until overtime. Prior to that point, the Wildcats were just 6-of-18 from the face-off X but eventually finished 17-of-29 for the day.
Villanova trailed 11-10 with just over three minutes left in regulation when the Wildcats scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals just 10 seconds apart from junior Max Hart’s (Bethesda, Md.) unassisted tally. Just 10 seconds later, Rice scored on a feed from sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) to give Villanova a 12-11 lead.
In the back-and-forth contest, however, that lead stood for just over a minute before Bucknell tied the game for the third time in eight minutes on a goal by Todd Heritage with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter.
In the first half, Villanova scored four of the first five goals and built a 6-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Four different Wildcats posted scores during that span, including seniors Matt Bell (Severna Park, Md.) Michael Vigilante (Massapequa, N.Y.) and sophomore Kevin O’Neil (Cockeysville, Md.), while Rice netted three of his six scores during that run.
Bucknell eventually scored three straight goals to tie the game at 6-6 with 1:11 left before intermission, but a goal from Cunningham with just 26 seconds left sent the Wildcats back to the locker rooms with a 7-6 advantage.
Rice was one of four Wildcats with at least three points for the day, while Cunningham and Vigilante each contributed two goals and one assist. Senior C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) contributed a game and career-high five assists.
Defensively, sophomore Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) and LoCascio each nabbed five ground balls while Croonquist led the team with eight pick-ups off of his face-off performance. Senior goalkeeper Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) tallied a career-high 15 saves in the victory, including nine in the first half, to aid in the win. Bucknell’s Kyle Feeney notched 16 saves despite recording his third-straight defeat.
No. 9 Villanova returns to action on Tuesday, February 28th when they host Drexel (1-1) at Villanova Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Villanova is 10-of-14 (71.4%) on man-up opportunities through the first two games of the season, including 4-of-5 (80%) in today’s win over Bucknell… Villanova’s last overtime win came last season and was also at home in a 9-8 decision over Penn on March 12, 2011… The Wildcats are 4-3 (.571) in overtime games since Head Coach Mike Corrado became head coach in 2007… VU has won three of their last four overtime games dating back to 2009.
Indoor sports are such a pain to shoot because you either have to shoot in dark venues, or you have to set up strobes, which can be a hassle at times. Not only do you have more gear to haul around, but every venue has its own set of rules. For example, Penn State requires you to complete your strobe set up in the rafters before the doors are open to the public. Sound policy, but a pain so I never set up lights there and just shoot at a high ISO.
But now that we have said goodbye to 2011, I have started to think about spring sports. Specifically, I love shooting sports action for Inside Lacrosse in the spring and one of the first big events is the Face Off Classic which will be held on March 10, 2012 at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland featuring some of the top college mens teams including, Princeton, North Carolina, Virginia, Cornell, UMBC and Johns Hopkins. I have shot this event for several years now and cannot wait to be there again in a few months.
If you cannot make it to the Big City Classic, another one of my favorites is the NCAA Women’s lacrosse championship finals held at the end of May. You should definitely go to this exciting event. If you do, please don’t forget to say hi and smile when I point my camera at you.