More sights, sounds, and observations from La Jolla at last weekend’s very good 2014 men’s NCAA championships
- Danny McClintick earned the tournament MVP award after tallying four goals in the final match versus USC. The Trojans habitually left the junior from Agoura High School alone on the perimeter while doubling the Bruins’ big centers, Gordon Marshall and Matt Farmer. UCLA was prepared for it, said McClintick, who was not surprised to be left so unmarked. His teammates would have done equally well in the same position, he said (Chancellor Ramirez scored one given the same chance).[vine id=”OrJp0WdhYlb” align=”right” mode=”lazyload” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”300″]
- McClintick was effusive about his teammates calling the squad the most unselfish he’d ever played for. “No one cares who scores.”
- Two non-Californians stood out. Oak Park, Illinois’ Matt Farmer has bulked up and is throwing the weight around well in front of the cage. He scored the Bruins’ second goal in the title match and later made an impressive move nearly turning three defenders to earn inside water. Josh Stiling from Beaverton, Oregon was UCSD’s marked man for both tourney matches. He earned all-tournament recognition after scoring one in the semi, and four in the third-place match. Check out his farewell backhand versus the Cardinal (1:04:29).
- The clash of Europeans – UCLA’s Christiano Mirarchi of Italy and USC’s Kostas Genidounias of Greece – turned out to be much more than simple marketing hot air. For much of the match the Italian proved to be the Bruins’ most effective defender against USC’s vaunted Greek sniper. Genidounias finished with two goals but admitted after the game that Mirarchi’s defense affected his output. McClintick earned the MVP largely for his scoring output. But Mirarchi’s defensive performance, not only against Genidounias, may have been enough to merit the honor in our eyes.
- Unheralded senior Marc Vonderweidt of USC scored twice in the final and earned the notice of one high-ranking American coach who called him the Trojans’ “second best player.” The product of the improving but relatively unknown program at Santa Monica High School scored four overall in the tournament and stood out defensively.[vine id=”OrJTQgBBp5d” align=”right” mode=”lazyload” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”300″]
- UCLA’s Garret Danner and USC’s McQuin Baron have established an unofficial rivalry having tended opposite goals multiple times. The two developed their skills at rival Orange County High Schools, El Toro and Mater Dei, before moving north to their Los Angeles universities. Danner got the best of the Trojans’ freshman on Sunday exhibiting quickness and savvy in and out of the net. National team member Baron will surely try to forget the stunning half-tank last second-shot by Jack Fellner that squirmed beneath both his hands in to the net to end the third quarter. That goal put the Bruins up 7-4. A rivalry to monitor in the coming years.
- Tickets to the event sold out days before its opening and UC San Diego proved to be a good host. Over 1,500 fans attended the final match at the facility that has now three times hosted the championship.