Conference tournament semifinal and title games have been added to a busy schedule of youth and high school contests
By Dan McWilliams
The second annual Knights Cup Lacrosse Tournament at Knoxville Catholic High School is adding on to last year’s inaugural event by incorporating three college conference tournament games into its schedule of youth and prep team matchups.
This year’s Knights Cup on April 21-22 at KCHS’s Blaine Stadium will include the Final Four of the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament. The AAC includes Tennessee Wesleyan among other regional teams. Preliminary rounds of the tourney will be played at campus sites, so the lineup for the semifinals in Knoxville is not yet known. The AAC championship game will be played April 22 at KCHS.
“The addition of the Final Four championship tournament of the Appalachian Athletic Conference is a tremendous feature that builds on the success of our inaugural event in 2016,” said Knights Cup organizer Tom Ciaccia. “Lacrosse, which is rapidly gaining in popularity all over the country, is just starting to achieve a presence in Knoxville.
Only a few high schools in Knoxville play lacrosse at the varsity level, so having a collegiate championship tournament here in Knoxville is not only a unique event for this area, it also gives sports fans in Knoxville who have never seen the game a chance to experience the fast-paced, hard-hitting action that has sparked so much enthusiasm in every other part of the country where the sport has been introduced.
“And all of the proceeds go to support charitable endeavors in our community.”
The Knights Cup, sponsored by Council 5207 at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Council 15706 at All Saints Parish in Knoxville, benefits Knights of Columbus charities that include Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy Help Center.
This year’s event will start April 21 with AAC semifinal games at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
The schedule continues Saturday with a full day of action. Youth games (subject to change) will pit the Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors against the Knox Cannons in a middle school tournament semifinal game at 8 a.m., followed by the Farragut Youth Lacrosse team vs. the Roane County Knights in another middle school semifinal.
“One change that should add interest is the incorporation of a middle school tournament into the event,” Mr. Ciaccia said. “Kids at that level have really started to develop their skills and knowledge of the game and can put on some pretty competitive and entertaining action.”
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the West Knox Warriors will take on the Farragut Admirals in a JV game. The AAC championship game will start at 12:30 p.m.
Middle school consolation and championship games will begin at 3 p.m. The CAK Warriors and Roane County Knights will play a varsity game at 5 p.m. The host KCHS Fighting Irish will face the Soddy-Daisy Trojans in another varsity game at 7:30 p.m.
Youth skills and clinics will take place throughout the event.
The lacrosse event replaces a Knights baseball classic that was held for years at Smokies Park in Kodak and raised more than $80,000.
“We had a great 12-year run with high school baseball at Smokies Park, and we would very much like to do it again,” Mr. Ciaccia said.
“We found that scheduling high school teams on weekend dates was getting increasingly difficult, so we tried lacrosse last year and had great success. We hope the Fighting Irish Spring Classic makes a comeback in 2018.”
The first Knights Cup did just fine in the fundraising department.
“Our event raised close to $10,000 last year, which was more than we ever achieved from baseball,” Mr. Ciaccia said. “The preponderance of those proceeds went to support the wide range of child- and family-support services provided through the Pregnancy Services department of Catholic Charities. We will do that again this year as the work of Sandi Davidson and her team of volunteers is something the Knights of Columbus believe in.
“We also supported an initiative begun by Deacon Scott Maentz that provides food and personal hygiene products to the homeless community under the bridge at Fifth Avenue and Broadway. We will support that outreach again as well.”
In addition to its support of Knights of Columbus charities, the Knights Cup has teamed up with Atlanta-based Lace Up With LAX. Lace Up With LAX partners with lacrosse events all over the country to provide shoes for the homeless.
People coming to the Knights Cup are asked to bring a new pair of shoes to the event, which will then be distributed to the homeless residents of Knoxville. Fans bringing shoes to the event will be given a 25 percent discount promotion to The Voice Tank. This $100 value can be used to book birthday parties for all ages.
Mr. Ciaccia encourages local advertisers to support the Knights Cup.
“This is a great event for local businesses to get behind as they can support a fun, family-friendly event that does so much good in our community by placing an ad in the game program or coming on board as a corporate sponsor,” he said.
“It is also a great event for youth groups and parish organizations to attend as a group as they will see some exciting athletic competition.
Prices for game program ads and tickets are inexpensive and can be ordered through our website, www.knightscup.org.
For more information on the Knights Cup or on advertising, contact Mr. Ciaccia at 865-765-4046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.