By Dan McWilliams
The third annual Knights Cup Lacrosse Tournament on April 21 was a success as 32 teams from as far away as Memphis and West Virginia came together for 24 games across four fields, all in one day.
Knoxville Catholic High School’s Blaine Stadium and John Tarleton Field in Knoxville hosted the games, which drew crowds of close to 1,000 spectators to the daylong events. Tournament organizer Tom Ciaccia earlier called the tourney “the most ambitious and successful of the 15 athletic events that the Knights have sponsored going back to 2004 to support the wide range of services Catholic Charities provides to children and families throughout our diocese.”
Games at the youth, middle school, high school, and collegiate levels were played, with the college game between Lincoln Memorial and Davis & Elkins marking the debut of NCAA lacrosse in the city. LMU walloped its West Virginia opponent 24-4 at KCHS.
In other tourney action, Collierville High School from West Tennessee defeated the West Knox Warriors, Signal Mountain overcame a spirited effort by the Roane County Knights, and “Christian Academy of Knoxville fought off a young, tough but rebuilding Knoxville Catholic team that obviously has a bright future in lacrosse,” Mr. Ciaccia said.
In addition, youth and middle school teams from Farragut Youth Lacrosse, Knoxville Youth Sports, Knox Cannons Lacrosse, and Sacred Heart Cathedral School rounded out the full day of action.
“Lacrosse has enjoyed an explosion of popularity in Knoxville as an increasing number of kids start playing every year,” Mr. Ciaccia said. “Youth teams are springing up all over our community, a growth that will eventually impact more high schools’ athletic departments. The Knights Cup has played a significant role in promoting lacrosse in our community.”
Knights of Columbus councils at Sacred Heart, All Saints, and Holy Ghost parishes in Knoxville “came together to support this event and ensure its success,” Mr. Ciaccia said. “As a result of their efforts, the Knights Cup Lacrosse Tournament delivered a $10,000 check to Catholic Charities to support the extraordinary work of its Pregnancy Services programs.
“The work of Sandi Davidson and her staff, many of whom are volunteers, to save lives and salvage families goes to the very core of what we believe in as Knights. It’s been a great 15-year partnership that will certainly continue for another 15 years.”
The Knights also “appreciate the continuing support of Knoxville Catholic High School and athletics director Jason Surlas for making Blaine Stadium available for the Knights Cup,” Mr. Ciaccia said. “Knoxville Catholic has been a great partner in these events and has been instrumental in achieving the success these events have experienced.”