On August 4, 2012, the Cleveland Demons hosted the Grand Rapids Dragonfish in the first game in franchise history and lost 11-6. Four seasons later, the Demons, who had defeated the ‘Fish on their home floor on the opening weekend of the 2015 season, came full circle and won the CILL Championship 13-7. The game was a tight physical contest from the opening draw. Cleveland held a 1-0 lead after the first quarter. The teams exchanged goals in the 2nd quarter, but Cleveland was able to hold a 4-3 lead. Halftime brought about several game changing plays. Cleveland was able to put up 6 goals to Grand Rapids 4 and took a 10-7 lead into the final quarter of the season. Grand Rapids challenged, but it was the Demons who sealed the deal with 3 fourth quarter goals and took home their first league championship!
The story of the game was the defensive effort put forth by the Demons. Bobby Lyle in the cage turned away 24 of 31 shots on goal. His ability to close the door in the 4th quarter was truly an amazing effort. The aggressive approach to the defensive side of the floor was solidified in the off-season pick up of Jon Hurm. His leadership and knowledge proved to be a major reason why the Demons were able to win the title. First year defenders Eli
George, Dan Clem, Brian Holzheimer, and Matt Milano were all stellar as well. Physically, they dominated with hard hits and aggressive play. The transition runners who helped establish the defensive side of the floor, but also legged it over through a tough ‘Fish checking game played a big part in the win as well. Noah Bill, Rory Jeffers, and Mark Sertich all displayed veteran playmaking abilities in bringing the ball up and over the center stripe. Sam Carmony dominated the face-off circle again and forced the Dragonfish into altering their offensive and subsequently the defensive game plans.
The offensive side of the floor was patient and deliberate for the early part of the game. Nate Jones scored 3 of the first 4 goals to get things rolling for the Demons. His ability to attack the front of the cage opened up the 3rd quarter explosion. Driving down the middle of the crease area gave Demon shooters time and space to shoot. As the game wore on, scoring chances multiplied and the ‘Fish defenders ran out of options on who to stop. Nate Jones finished the game with 5 goals and 4 assists. David Blue’s 2 goals and 2 assists, Brandon Sallee 3 goals, and Hans Rydquist’s 1 goal and 2 assists were equally devastating to Grand Rapids game plan. The eventual game winning goal was a beautiful play set up by Seth Wagner cutting through the middle of the field, opening the center up, and Brent Zubal was able to take a pass from Nate Jones and Hans Rydquist, and buried it for the Demons 8th goal. Tyler Murphy, who finished with 2 points, hit a huge power play goal in the 4th to put away any doubts. Jon Hurm, Noah Bill, Matt Milano, and Steve Jones (who left in the 2nd quarter with a concussion) all had assists in the game.
Several Cleveland Demons players were not able to play in the final games of the season, but should be mentioned as well. Forwards Chris Wancata and Brian Lalley, Transitional players Charlie Joyce and Andrew Vekstein, Defenders Kevin Werner and Jason Griffith, Faceoff specialist Alex Fioritto, and goalies Tony Tatro and Chris Baus were all rostered players who helped out in many games throughout the 2015 season.
The Cleveland Demons would like to thank all their fans, supporters, sponsors, and helpers for assisting on the title run this season. We couldn’t have done it without your support. In addition, thanks goes out to NC Soccer for providing our home facility, our families who came out and cheered us on, and the growing box lacrosse community in general for giving us the opportunity to play this great game!
Goalie Bobby Lyle (7 goals allowed, 24 saves)
Scoring Nate Jones (5,4), David Blue (2,2), Hans Rydquist (1,2), Brandon Sallee (3,0),
Tyler Murphy (1,1), Brent Zubal (1,0), Jon Hurm (0,1), Noah Bill (0,1), Matt
Milano (0,1), S. Jones (0,1)