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Rivermen and Fighting Bison punch their tickets to NCBS National Championship

By Craig Rybczynski, 08/01/19, 1:00AM PDT


Team USBOXLA alum and University of Denver star Jack Hannah leads the Rivermen to the first ever NCBS National Championship

For the second straight season, the Rivermen and Fighting Bison raised their respective championship trophies as their league’s collegiate box lacrosse champions.

But, unlike years past, the season did not end with postgame celebrations in Columbus and Denver. This summer, the Rivermen and Fighting Bison will head west to play in the inaugural National Collegiate Box Series (NCBS) National Championship.

The Rivermen knocked off the Walleyes 17-13 Monday night to win their second straight Ohio Cup title. Meanwhile, the Fighting Bison edged the Red Hawks 11-10 in overtime to repeat as Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL) champs. The two titans of college box lacrosse will next play at the USBOXLA Nationals in Huntington Beach, Calif., from Aug. 2-4. The series, which is similar to the championship series of the OCBLL and CCBLL, is a best-of-two with a 15-minute overtime period to break the tie if necessary. 

The NCBS National Championship is one of the highlights of box lacrosse’s ultimate showcase, which will feature over 100 teams and over 1,700 players at The Rinks in both Huntington Beach and Irvine, Calif.  The USBOXLA Nationals not only includes the NCBS National Championship, but the pre-tournament USBOXLA Academy clinic and Team USBOXLA versus Canadian ALL-STAR games.

In the OCBLL Championship Series, the Rivermen raised the Ohio Cup after recording back-to-back wins over the Walleyes. The Rivermen posted two 17-goal performances, which began with a 17-10 victory in Game One of the series on July 24 at the Resolute Athletic Complex.

In the series-clinching contest, Team USBOXLA alum Jack Hannah once again led the way with a nine-point effort (3+6) to finish the finals with 19 points. The University of Denver midfielder leads the NCBS with 71 points in nine games.

In Game Two, he received support from Nick Musci (six goals) and Matt Blevins (four goals, one assist). Nate Menendez and Mike Boehm provided the Walleyes with four and three-point nights, respectively.

At Foothills Fieldhouse in Denver, the Fighting Bison capped off a two-game sweep of the Red Hawks on Monday night. In the decisive contest, the offense opened up in the second half after the two teams combined for only five goals in the first two periods. The Red Hawks and Fighting Bison showcased their offenses as they netted 17 goals over the final 30 minutes of regulation.  

The contest appeared headed to a tiebreaker game as the Red Hawks had the ball and clung to a 10-9 lead with just over a minute to go. But University of Notre Dame commit Jake Taylor had other plans. He scored his first goal of the night with one minute to play in regulation and then notched the winner in overtime to give the Fighting Bison consecutive Morrow Cup titles.

Grant Breeden, who assisted on the game-winner, led his team with five points (2+3), while TK Hammond chipped in with three goals and one assist. For the Red Hawks, CCBLL MVP Jake Govett (2+2) and Nick Williams (3+1) each finished with four-point nights. The duo scored back-to-back goals late in the third period to give the Red Hawks a 10-9 lead. In net for the Red Hawks, goalie Ian Cassidy made 40 saves.

NCBS National Championship Schedule (local time)

Game #1
Friday, Aug 2 at The Rinks Irvine 8:15-9:30 p.m.

Game #2
Saturday, Aug 3 at The Rinks Irvine 8:15-9:30 p.m.

If the series is tied at 1-1, teams will rest for five minutes then play a 15-minute overtime period. If still tied, there will be a 15-minute sudden-death period.