SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Springfield 8th grade Boys lacrosse team took the field over the weekend along with eight other teams from the Somerset and Bernards area to participate in the BTO Charity Lacrosse Classic for Bryan’s Dream Foundation. This is the longest running event for Bryan’s Dream Foundation started in 2006 by the SHLC teammates of Bryan T. Opremcak. He was a Bernards Township 7th grade lacrosse player who passed away from a brain tumor.
To date, the highly successful and well attended tournament has raised over $150,000 for the Foundation, which provides support and assistance to children and families affected by pediatric brain tumors. The Foundation provides services to benefit children in approximately twenty-five hospitals across the country including local hospitals such as Children’s Hospital of New York, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Cohen Children’s Medical Center and NYU.
Springfield opened its first round game with a come from behind win over Bridgewater B Team 4-3. Down 3-0 at the start, Gavin Dzikowski (5 goals, 2 assists on the day) scored two goals with the tying goal coming on a feed from Elijah White (2 goals, 1 assist on the day). Gavin would repay the favor by finding Elijah this time for the winning goal with only 10 seconds left in the game. In the second game - Ryan Sickinger and Alex Gary’s goals would be enough to hold off Warren Hills 2-1.
A defensive battle, great goal tending once again by Nick Stampolous, and excellent defense lead by Anthony Apicella (2 assists), Cole Kebea, Sam Roth, Anthony Corigliano, and second year player David Greenman held the more experienced team from Warren Hills scoreless the entire second half. In the night finale, Springfield continued to build momentum as they easily beat Somerset B Team 7-1. Dzikowski had the “hat trick” with 3 goals followed by Ethan Coelho who had 2 goals (3 goals on the day) Gary Migone (1 goal) and Elijah finished off the scoring.
Elijah White would go on to receive the “Spirit Award “, which is an award given to one player from each team selected by their coach. The Spirit award is awarded to an athlete who embodies the Lacrosse spirit in more ways than just on the playing field, in showing incredible perseverance and in overcoming obstacles.
However, the best part of the night was just about to begin as all eight teams competed in the BraveHeart Tournament. For those that are new to Lacrosse, its a very quick single elimination game, in which pairings were picked out of hat. In what can only be described as a “ shoot out “ in hockey, its just as exciting. The rules, which are subject to slightly change were as follows:
Each team fields a goalie and a field player (usually a long stick Middie or Face off specialist)
• Teams must use the goalies on the field at the end of regulation.
• The field players face off at center.
• Goalies must be behind their restraining lines during the faceoff.
• The first team to score a goal wins.
• There are no time outs or substitutions permitted except in the case of injury, in which case the opponent may also substitute a player.
In what was the most exciting event of the night, Springfield’s chosen three - goalie Stampoulos, long stick defenders Apicella, Corigliano, and midfielder Elijah White would get their chance to go the entire field one on one. Springfield took the first two games with goals by Corigliano and Stampoulos. The victories included a win vs. Ridge A team. The Bulldogs ended up in the finals against a very good Somerset AAA Team. After a beautiful save by Stampoulos on what looked like a game ending goal. Stampoulos somehow regained possession and took the ball the length of the field to score his second goal in Braveheart and win the championship for a Springfield team that just couldn’t lose that night.