By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/15/08
La Salle midfielder Conrad Ridgway admitted he was a little awed when he first took a look at the competition Saturday in the third Under Armour Senior All-American Game at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium outside Baltimore.
“Before the game, I was a little nervous playing against that kind of competition,” said Ridgway, a Penn State signee who played for the South All-Stars, who fell, 13-12. “Every guy out there was the star of their team and one of the best players in the country.
“But I thought I held my own. It was a nice confidence booster to play with kids that good.”
Ridgway was one of five Philadelphia players selected to the prestigious event. His South team also featured midfielder Chris Layne (Malvern Prep, North Carolina), defender Peter Borror (Haverford School, Virginia) and attacker Owen Blye (Downingtown East, Maryland).
Midfielder Matt Mackrides (Malvern Prep, Penn State) was unable to play because he was competing Saturday for Team USA in its victory over Canada in the International Lacrosse Federation U-19 World Championships.
Ridgway made his mark late in the game when his team found itself down, 12-11. He was about to set up a play for one of the North attackers, but instead took it himself and used a split dodge to get open before drilling one home past game MVP and fellow Penn State recruit Steven Rastivo (Ward Melville, N.Y.) to tie the game, 12-12.
“I actually was supposed to run a play for an attack, but he waved it off and told me to go ahead and take it,” said Ridgway, who earned first-team All-American this year while helping La Salle win the final Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) and Keystone Cup championships. “It was spur of the moment.
“I used a split dodge and ran down the right side and shot. It was right inside the far post and it happened to beat the goalie.
“It was pretty cool, especially since there was so little time left in the game. It was nice to score an important goal on that stage.”
Ridgway, who added two groundballs and a caused turnover, was not the only member of the Philly connection to shine. Layne scored a goal early on after scooping a groundball off an errant pass and drilling in a bounce shot.
Blye, who had to leave the game early due to an illness, had two groundballs and two caused turnovers in a brief but effective stint.
Meanwhile, Borror was a demon on defense, making several key clears, adding some timely strips, and picking up two groundballs while causing a turnover with a perfect pencil check late in the game to give his team one last shot to tie.
“Pete had a good game,” Ridgway said. “He had a nice assist to another pole, and his check got a big wow from the crowd. He also had some nice clears and strips and did well in transition.
“Once we got out there, the team bonded pretty well. We had a lot of fun; everyone played pretty good.”
Ridgway said the experience was the perfect capper to a brilliant season which also saw him earn Catholic League MVP and score a memorable game-winning goal in the EPSLA semifinals against Haverford School. What’s more, it came in front of a throng of 3,236.
“It was a really fun experience and a real honor,” Ridgway said. “There were some huge names, and it was cool to be put on the same field as them.”
Ridgway – whose Explorers finished among the top five in the two most respected national polls – also noted that the Philly players upheld their reputation as a lacrosse hotbed that may have caught up with Baltimore and New York.
“I think the top players coming out of Philadelphia are on level with any other area in the country,” he said. “You see schools in this area beating great out-of-state teams; and Matt Mackrides made the Under-19 team (as a high school player) out of Philly (while being one of three overall from the region).
“This is quite a prestigious honor. Our kids selected held their own. But even in club sports you see Philly kids competing with them just fine. It’s getting to the point that lacrosse in Philadelphia is as good as anywhere in the country.”
North 13, South 12
North SCORING: GOALS: Resetarits, Joe 3; Chanenchuk, Michael 3; Rotanz, Robert 2; McDonough, Francis 1; Rommel, Tim 1; Bocklet, Chris 1; Grimm, Rob 1; Cohen, Jeffrey 1. ASSISTS: Shakespeare, Michael 2; McDonough, Francis 1; Palasek, Thomas 1; Rommel, Tim 1.
South SCORING: GOALS: Wilson, Colby 2; Bernhardt, Jake 2; Lang, Roy 2; Rogers, Hunter 1; Cummings, Joe 1; Capretta, Alex 1; Ridgway, Conrad 1; Layne, Chris 1; Staines, Mark 1. ASSISTS: Cummings, Joe 1; Rogers, Hunter 1.
PENALTIES – North Boys 1/0:30; South Boys 0/0:00.
MVP – North GK Steven Rastivo
*Note – Pictures from Under Armour All-Star Game courtesy of the Ridgway family