The Santa Monica Dragons ended the first visit to the Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival with quite an impressive record. We entered 5 teams and finished with an overall record of 15-8-2, making us the strongest finishing club from LA and OC. Both our 4th/5th Travel and 6th Travel teams went 5-0 in division play and made it to the championships. With a total of 286 boys and girls teams competing but only 8 boys divisional championships, our boys did quite well to advance to 2 of the 8 finals. Sand Storm is the largest and most prestigious winter tournament in the West and we proved that Santa Monica Dragons belongs in the top tier. Below is a team-by-team recap.
Dragons 4th/5th Travel finished 5-0 in division play with the lowest goals against (15) and highest goal differential (37), beating well-known names such as 3D NorCal, Brady’s Bunch and several teams from Orange County. Ultimately we lost to OC Crush in the championship 6-5, but this team has every reason to be proud of their winter season, earning a championship title in Vegas, and runner up finishes in Del Mar and Sand Storm.
Dragons 6th Travel had similar success, finishing first in its division with a 5-0 record, 52 goals for and 17 goals against. We were finally not playing age-based teams with much older 7th and 8th graders, but 6th graders, just like us. This provided us with a good benchmark for where we stand on a regional basis in our 6th grade (2021 graduating year) category. Along the way we beat the top Denver team (Team Colorado), the top Bay Area team (Advnc National), West Coast Starz and 3D’s San Diego team. In the championship round we came up against a very strong Mad Dog West team and finished the tournament as runner up in the 2021 category. Respect goes to Mad Dog on a well-earned victory and congratulations to our boys for a strong finish at the biggest winter tournament of the year.
Dragons 6th/7th Travel continued to find its groove after improving in both Vegas and Del Mar. Saturday started with an opening loss but we finished the day strong with a win over 3D LA and an epic, last second tie against Tribe 20 from Pasadena that had everyone doing back flips (figuratively speaking). As Erik Krum, our athletic director remarked: “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a tie game.” We finished the weekend 1-2-2, which still put our boys above other LA/OC programs such as 3D LA, Factory, Victory and Goons in the 2020 graduating year category.
Dragons 8th Grade Travel had to battle some very stiff competition and prevailed with a 3-2 record. Victories came against Brady’s Bunch, Alcatraz Outlaws and Lighting Lacrosse. Our boys finished higher than or equal to 15 other major teams, and finished with a better record than all other LA/OC area teams in the 2019 category except for Victory Select.
Dragons HS has been steadily improving since Vegas and showed flashes of brilliance at Sand Storm. They played bigger and stronger teams due to the fact that we entered them into the Open division when we registered last fall. The Open division is a step down from Elite but still covers all four years. As it turns out we are now essentially a 2017 team, which means we ended up playing teams bigger and stronger than us. It also bodes well for the future. Head coach Dean Rossi had this to say about the tournament and our team: “We have the right group to build on going forward. We are a tight team, we learn a lot every time we go out and we have fun. And our 1-4 record doesn’t really show who we are. We could just as easily have been 3-2. A few little things made the difference in some games.” Added defensive coach Nick Mooney: “ Our defense played lights out.” As an organization, the high school program is dear to our heart because it is difficult to build but shows more and more promise, the longer we work on it.
Overall, Santa Monica Dragons as a program was more successful at Sand Storm than all other LA and OC programs present at the tournament:
Santa Monica Dragons (5 teams): 15-8-2
Factory (7 teams): 8-22-5
Victory Select (4 teams): 7-10-3
Goons (5 teams): 3-22
3D LA (2 teams): 3-7
3D OC (1 team): 1-4
Thank you to all the parents and players for making such strong showing possible.