Team NinjaLax dominated the competition to win the 2015 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic 8th grade championship. The Ninjas finished the weekend with a perfect 5-0 record while outscoring their opponents 52-11.
Comprised mostly of West Coast Starz 2020 players hailing from California and Oregon, NinjaLax showed their familiarity with each other by finishing day 1 with a 3-0 record while outscoring the competition 32-7. That performance earned them the #1 seed heading into Saturday’s playoff round.
Matched up against Bunch Nation in the semi-finals, Ninjalax cruised to a 13-2 win after conceding the first 2 goals of the game to set up a rematch with a talented Mad Dog West team in the championship game. However, Ninjalax again proved to be too much to handle for the Dogs, capturing the championship with a 7-2 win.
Throughout the weekend Ninjalax displayed a high pressure, aggressive style of defense anchored by Shane McAusland (Manhattan Beach, CA), Brandon Clark (Palos Verdes, CA), Christian Evans (Carlsbad, CA), Ajax Zappitello (Portland, OR) and Conrad Delgado (Rancho Santa Fe, CA). Bobby Gavin (Laguna Beach, CA) was strong in net all weekend for Ninjalax sporting a 2.2 GAA.
Offensively, the team looked to push transition and capitalize on their athleticism but also showed the ability to possess the ball and create goals through settled situations when desired. Some offensive standouts from the weekend included Chop Gallagher (Beaverton, OR), Christian Rasmussen (Del Mar, CA), Miles Botkiss (Rancho Santa Fe, CA), Alex Horowitz (Manhattan Beach, CA), Chandler Fincher (San Clemente, CA) and Thomas Notarainni (Rancho Santa Fe, CA).