- Jonas Heller
The NLB summer league - Lacrosse during the summer break
Lacrosse practices in Maastricht are synced with the university’s schedule - Starting with the first day of the semester until Christmas, as well as from February until July.
The competition season for both men and women usually is divided from October - Dec as well as February - May, with around 10 games per season. Playoffs take place around the last weekend of May or the first weekend of June. That leaves the summer months pretty much empty for competitive Lacrosse, and in 2021 the NLB (Nederlandse Lacrosse Bond) started to implement a summer league to fill the void.
The summer league was open for all male and female adult players in the Netherlands and beyond, and more than 250 players signed up, even from Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. All players were drafted into six balanced men’s and women’s teams based on skill levels, and the six teams were named after tropical islands (Aruba, Corfu, Fiji, Hawaii, Ibiza, Bali) given that long-term travel restriction we faced due to COVID-19.
Our men’s coach Jonas participated in the three gamedays of the summer league and took the field with team Fiji to battle for the crown of the first summer league. Team Fiji was a great bunch of players that wanted to claim the title of the league, and their first game agains Hawaii was a strong 10:4 win. The following game against team Corfu deemed to be a tough one, as Fiji trailed behind for a long time, but managed to tie the score to a 9:9 when the final whistle of the normal game time blew. The summer league rules did not include overtime, but a “Braveheart“-style final: Both teams selected what they decided would be the most suited player for a 1v1 and a goalkeeper on each side, and the two players fought for the ball at the faceoff. Fij unfortunately lost the faceoff and the game ended 9:10 for Corfu.
Fiji was hungry for more on the second gameday, where they would battle the same teams again to be seeded for the semi finals. The game against Hawaii started of tougher than the first time, but Fiji could take it home at the end with a 9:5 win. Again Corfu as the opponent, Fiji gave it all their had and both teams struggled to score. A 5:5 at the end of the normal time would result in a Braveheart again. This time our coach Jonas gave it a try and manage to win the faceoff to himself, but lost the ball after a well placed stick check and Fiji again lost the braveheart with 5:6.
This meant Fiji was placed 2nd in their group, and would need to play a qualifying game against the 3rd team of another division to clinch the semi finals. Fiji won 5:2 against Aruba to advanced into the semi finals, where they would meet team Ibiza, 1st team of the other division. A tough game but Fiji managed to get out on top with a 6:5 win to advance to the finals. In the final, the newly established Corfu waited for Fiji, the third time that Fiji would meet their newly established rival. Having to play a game less than Fiji, Corfu was dominant and could win the first men’s gold medal in the summer league with a 9:4 win over Fiji, who proudly took home the 2nd place.
“Overall the first NLB summer league was a great success, the games were of high quality and players from all levels, whether it was their first game ever or their 100th game, enjoyed playing together. Every player in the Netherland would greatly enjoy participating in the summer league. In 2022 we plan more social events as well, like a BBQ, which was not possible this year due to the pandemic.” - NLB Head of Events
Next to the games, there were clinics by experienced coaches and national team players, we trialed the new Lacrosse Sixes rules, and had a fastest shot competition.
Check out more on www.nlb-summerleague.com