Mesa Players Donovan & Gucwa help FCA win U15 National Championship

Updated: August 5, 2016


Possession of the ball really does matter.

That was the main difference Sunday as Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) defeated Long Island Express North, 12-6, in the championship game of the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship. Led by the stellar effort of specialist Jordan Ginder, FCA dominated face offs and controlled the action for long stretches in claiming its third U15 national title, and first since 2010. FCA finished 7-0 in the tournament, including a pair of wins over Long Island North.

“Ginder did a great job and we had the ball a lot,” said FCA coach Bryan Kelly.

Fueled by the repeated possessions, FCA tallied three early goals to establish momentum and built its lead to 5-1 by the end of the first quarter. Attackman Jacob Kelly, the coach’s son, tallied three of his game-high five goals in the opening quarter, and added a fourth goal in the second quarter as FCA extended its margin to 7-2 at halftime.

Express North didn’t go quietly, however, scoring three straight in the third quarter to cut the margin to 7-5 with 1:30 left. But that’s when FCA responded, scoring the game’s next five goals to ice the win.

“Having an early lead helps, but we never take anything for granted,” Kelly said. “We didn’t panic when they made their run. I thought our kids stepped up in that situation.”

In addition to Kelly’s five goals, Griffin Gelinas and Sean Kuttin added two goals each for FCA.

Matt Magnan led Long Island North with three unassisted goals.

“I’m proud of how we got off the mat and fought back,” said Express North coach Chris Schreiber. “I like how we played. We tried everything, but we just couldn’t get the face offs.”

Both teams advanced to the final game with semifinal wins earlier in the day. FCA defeated two-time defending champion 3d Select, 10-5, with Kelly scoring three times in that game and Liam Bateman adding two scores.

In the other semifinal, Express North defeated its fellow club squad, Long Island Express, 5-4, with Magnan notching the eventual game-winner midway through the fourth quarter.

All four semifinal teams featured rosters loaded with Division I college prospects.

“There’s a lot of talent on these teams,” Kelly said.

In the closely contested third place game, in which neither team led by more than one goal, 3d Select defeated Long Island Express, 7-6, with Patrick Skalniak scoring the game-winner with 10 seconds remaining. 3d Select had tied the game four minutes earlier on Greyson Wolfram’s unassisted goal.

By Paul Ohanian -

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