Martha’s Vineyard Lacrosse players compete at World Championships of Lacrosse

Jacob Gundersen, right, and Colby Zarba were selected to a lacrosse all star team by the Mass Bay Lacrosse League and competed in Colorado. — Photo by John Zarba

With summer vacation in full swing, two young Vineyard lacrosse players, Jacob Gundersen (U-15) and Colby Zarba (U-13), received a special opportunity when they were selected to play in a youth tournament held in conjunction with the FIL 2014 World Championships of Lacrosse in Denver, Colorado.

The trip began after a successful spring season representing the MV Youth Lacrosse in the Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League (MBYLL). Vineyard Youth Lacrosse director Tom Pierce, after conferring with coaches Brian Hall and Duncan Meyst (U-15) and David Mercaldo and Dana Edelman (U-13), nominated the two boys to try out for a select team that would represent the New England region. Jacob and Colby then participated in a rigorous tryout for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and both were chosen as inaugural members of the Massachusetts Bay Colonials Lacrosse Team. The two teams were chosen from a pool of over 300 of the best players in Eastern Massachusetts.

The boys quickly bonded as teammates and friends with 44 of the other players from the MBYLL and began their epic journey which ended up at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park just outside Denver. The Denver area is a hotbed for youth, collegiate and professional lacrosse. DSG Park includes 28 full size, impeccably manicured lacrosse fields, three of which are large stadium venues against a backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains. The youth tournament included all-star teams and club teams from California to New Jersey.

The U-13 team for which Colby Zarba played the attack position finished in 9th position out of 48 teams, reaching the Sweet 16s before being eliminated by a team from California. They finished 3-2-1, beating teams from Colorado and Utah.

Jacob Gundersen also played attack for the U-15 MBYLL team which finished 5th out of 31 teams reaching the Quarter Finals. They finished 4-1 and beat teams from Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and Idaho.

The pair began their journey with several team practices in the Boston area — one of which was held at Harvard Stadium where the pair got to take in a game featuring the Major League Lacrosse All Star team vs. the U.S. National team. Next, they participated in a week-long training camp with their respective teams at Deerfield Academy in western Massachusetts,  and then they boarded a plane from Boston to the Mile High City. The teams were sponsored by the Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League and Trilogy Lacrosse.

Joey Picard of MBYLL said, “On and off the field the boys looked as though they had been playing together for years and had the time of their lives out in Deerfield and then Denver. All of us at MBYLL are so proud to have been a part of this and can’t wait to see what all of these Colonials go off and do in this sport and in their lives.”

The FIL 2014 World Lacrosse Championship was played July 10–19 in Commerce City. Some 38 nations participated in over 142 games. The countries with the top six rankings — Australia, Canada, England, Iroquois, Japan, and the United States — made up the championship division. After intense bracket competition, Canada prevailed defeating the pre-tourney favorite United States, 8-5, in the gold medal game. It was Canada’s third victory as the World Lacrosse Championships. Belgium, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, and Uganda all competed in the event for the first time.