By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/11/09
With more than 40 college coaches – many from Division I Top 20 programs – lined up nearly across the length of the field, the inaugural Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) Showcase played on center stage tonight at Haverford College.
Eighty-eight of the top Philadelphia-area boys’ sophomores and juniors got to show their skills before a “Who’s who” in college coaches as the Philly governing board of boys’ lacrosse put on two All-Star Games that matched up the best of the public and private schools.
In the Sophomore game, Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) and Shane Morrell (Episcopal Academy) each scored four goals to lead the Private stars to a 12-9 victory. The Public squad took the Junior game, 16-10, as Shane Sturgis (Downingtown East) notched five goals to offset a five-goal effort by Stephen Aitken (Haverford School) of the Private stars.
The Showcase was developed by officials of the EPSLA in hopes of giving underclassmen a chance to get the best exposure possible in front of college coaches. The EPSLA used to run a post-season tournament that drew from every league in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but now the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) runs the state tournament.
Clearly, the EPSLA Showcase had clout. Present tonight were coaches from the following big-name programs: Virginia (its entire staff), Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Maryland, Princeton, Notre Dame, Harvard, Army, Navy Loyola, Hofstra, Penn State, UMass and Hobart as well as coaches from region schools Drexel, Villanova, Penn, Lehigh and Delaware.
Also present was legendary mentor Bill Tierney, who recently rocked the lacrosse world by leaving Princeton for Denver. There also were coaches from the Division II (Chestnut Hill College) and Division III (Cabrini, Eastern, Kenyon, Washington & Lee) levels, and a healthy crowd.
The collection of coaches got to see two well-played games involving players who were chosen by local college coaches after three-hour tryouts from a pool of over 250 players.
“You are just evaluating all the players’ ability and trying to see how they’d fit into your program,” said Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw, entering his 32nd season as Blue Hen mentor, “Particularly, now that recruiting is getting pushed up so much, you have to be three steps ahead of the next guy.
“Most coaches here have been to a lot of the (scholastic) games. What’s nice is that you take out the seniors who already know where they’re going. You’re looking at all the underclassmen talent and it helps you out in your recruiting.”
Shillinglaw said the event was run well and that the large gathering of college coaches indicated the quality of talent in the Philadelphia area and the benefit of the Showcase format.
“There’s a pretty good number of coaches here; probably every Division I program is represented here,” he said. “There’s a million (recruiting showcases) going on, but this is one of the few ones where they have a tryout for rising juniors and a tryout for rising seniors.
“This allows you to focus on the immediate (needs).”
Shillinglaw said coaches – who can access the tapes of the games online – are usually looking for the same qualities in their recruits.
“I think if you talk to all the coaches, they are going to look at athletic ability, speed, quickness, lacrosse I-Q and skills,” he said. “With sophomores, you’re trying to project a little, trying to read as to how they will look in a few years. There’s a lot of talent here.”
In the Juniors All-Star Game, Sturgis scored three of his goals to stake the Public stars to a 9-3 halftime lead. Max Siskind (Henderson) added three goals and Ryan Lord (Conestoga) had a pair while Austin Kaut (Springfield-Delco) was strong in goal.
“I was just trying to play hard and to come out with a victory,” said Sturgis, an all-EPSLA pick and first-team All-Ches-Mont League selection who helped the Cougars win the league crown and reach the District 1 finals. “We came out strong and finished strong. Everybody was unselfish and moving the ball. The defense played well and so did the goalies.”
Sturgis said he is deciding between Notre Dame, Penn State, Navy and Hofstra.
Aside from Aitken (committed to Penn State), the Private stars were led by Andrew Cacchio (Holy Ghost Prep), who had two goals and four assists. Three of the assists were on goals by Aitken. Chase Growney (Episcopal Academy) added two goals for the Private stars.
“I just wanted to have fun and play my best and also get some looks,” said Cacchio, whose team did not play in a league this year but did reach the District 1 tournament. “I am keeping everything open. I’m looking for the best fit for me.
“I want to play somewhere and I think it (the Showcase) helped a lot, actually. Everyone is so good and can move off the ball. It’s a lot faster and a lot of fun. It’s a good change.”
In the Sophomore game, Sankey helped his team overcome an early 4-1 deficit by tallying all his goals in the first half. Morell put his team ahead for good by breaking a 6-6 tie early in the second half
For Sankey, the exposure may have meant as much as anyone. He missed half the season after breaking his collarbone and had labored through the first half with a muscle pull in his back.
“I was suffering from the back injury all year and even now it’s not healed,” said Sankey, who was a standout as a freshman when the Quakers reached the EPSLA Final Four. “The tryout for this event was my first time back.
“I knew this and Blue Chip were the huge (recruiting events), but I also saw this as a fun time. I was playing with all the guys I have with in PENN STAR. It was great playing with guys with all that talent; everyone can move the ball and no one got too much attention.”
Sankey admitted he was happy if he impressed the major Division I coaches. “I want to go somewhere where I like the coach a lot,” he said. “My goal is the ACC; I want to go somewhere where I can play the best teams.”
One player who did receive plenty of attention was Public goalie Hank Altschuler (Lower Merion), who had a number of impressive saves. Altschuler, who split time in goal this year for a team that reached the PIAA tournament, is being projected as one of the top goalies in Southeastern Pennsylvania next year.
“It was a fun time,” said Altschuler. “It was pretty intimidating (to see all the college coaches), but you pulled yourself together. I’m looking for a school that fits my needs and my criteria.”
The game coaches, all of whom coach for EPSLA teams, were selected by their peers. Between games, the All-EPSLA players were given certificates and All-Americans were honored.
Sophomore All-Star Game
Private All-Stars 12, Public All-Stars 9
Private scoring: Shane Morrell (Episcopal Academy) 4G; Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) 4G; Keegan Lawton (Bishop Shanahan) 1G; Joe McCallion (Haverford School) 1G; Carl Walrath (Haverford School) 1G; Cory Scheuerle (St. Joseph’s Prep) 1G.
Public scoring: Joe Venit (Springfield-Delco) 2G; Ricky Jutkiewicz (Pennsbury) 2G; Kohl Batdorf (Owen J. Roberts) 2G; Charlie Rubin (Radnor) 1G; Colin Joka (Plymouth Whitemarsh) 1G; Eric Gartner (Great Valley) 1G.
Public All-Stars 16, Private All-Stars 10
Public scoring: Shane Sturgis (Downingtown East) 5G; Max Siskind (Henderson) 3G; Ryan Lord (Conestoga) 2G; Ahmad Zachary (Lower Merion) 1G; Ryan Kreston (Hatboro-Horsham) 1G; Tate Klidonas (Emmaus) 1G; Adam Yee (Penncrest) 1G; Colin Keegan (Springfield-Delco) 1G; Joey Jones (Abington) 1G.
Private scoring: Stephen Aitken (Haverford School) 5G; Chase Growney (Episcopal Academy) 2G; Andrew Cacchio (Holy Ghost Prep) 2G; Tyler Olsen (Episcopal Academy) 1G.
Rosters Sophomores Public Hank Altschuler – Lower Merion Kevin Barrow – Avon Grove Kohl Batdorf – Owen J Roberts Willy Beury – Upper Dublin Brian Dailey – Conestoga Billy Flatley – Conestoga Eric Gartner – Great Valley Beau Gomez – Wissahickon Anthony Greco – Abington Jesse Horn – Great Valley Trevor Hornby – Avon Grove Colin Joka – Plymouth Whitemarsh Richard Jutkiewicz – Pennsbury Benjamin Karr – Conestoga Dan Kinek – Emmaus John Lopes – Conestoga Dan Marr – Pennsbury Troy Moyer – Boyertown Sean Reilly – Central Bucks East Charlie Rubin – Radnor Tanner Scott – Conestoga Joe Venit – Springfield-Delco Private Alexander Beatty – The Haverford School Jack Bogorowski – La Salle Liam Correia – St. Joseph’s Prep Ryan Crane – Germantown Academy Jim DeCarlo – La Salle Mark DiFrangia – La Salle Victor Garcia – La Salle Jeff Heath – St. Joseph’s Prep Chris Hupfeldt – The Haverford School Beau Jones – Germantown Academy Andrew Kennedy – Malvern Prep Keegan Lawton – Bishop Shanahan Joseph McCallion – The Haverford School Brendan McGrath – The Haverford School Shane Morrell – Episcopal Academy Goran Murray – The Haverford School Joey Sankey – Penn Charter Jon Sax – St. Joseph’s Prep Cory Scheuerle – St. Joseph’s Prep Grove Stewart – The Haverford School Bobby Tait – Germantown Academy Carl Walrath – The Haverford School Matt Walters – The Haverford School Juniors Public Michael Bender – Emmaus Paul Berger – Abington Peter Bowers – Conestoga Edward Coombs – Hatboro-Horsham Casey Decker – Ridley Mark Dolphin – Strath Haven Casey Ikeda – Conestoga Joseph Jones – Abington Austin Kaut – Springfield-Delco Colin Keegan – Springfield-Delco Tate Klidonas – Emmaus Jason Klunder – Conestoga Ryan Kreston – Hatboro-Horsham Ryan Lord – Conestoga Benjamin Sampson – Emmaus Benjamin Simms – Harriton Max Siskind – West Chester Henderson Shane Sturgis – Downintown East Ari Weisband – Lower Merion Adam Yee – Penncrest Ahmad Zachary – Lower Merion Peter Zonino – Conestoga Private Peter Adubato – Chestnut Hill Academy Stephen Aitken – The Haverford School Elliot Albert – Episcopal Academy Andrijko Andrusko – Holy Ghost Prep Andrew Cacchio – Holy Ghost Prep Bryson Craft – Episcopal Academy Andrew Gordon – Episcopal Academy Johnny Gregitis – St. Joseph’s Prep Chase Growney – Episcopal Academy Michael Irvine – Malvern Prep James Lamb – Penn Charter Henry Lobb – Malvern Prep Dan Losier – La Salle Jordan McGinty – Bishop Shanahan Wesley Meehan – La Salle Vincent Migliarese – La Salle Joseph Mustilli – Bishop Shanahan Andrew O’Connell – Malvern Prep Liam O’Connor – The Haverford School Tyler Olsen – Episcopal Academy Jackson Place, Episcopal Academy Patrick Resch – La Salle All-Americans from EPSLA Area
Player, year, position, school, college (if senior)
Niko Amato, senior, Goalie, La Salle, Maryland
Mike Bronzino, senior, Defenseman, Conestoga, Cornell
Josh Cavanaugh, junior, Midfield, Springfield-Delco
Matt Cherry, senior, Attack, Radnor, Dickinson
Billy Conners, senior, Long-Stick Midfield, Malvern Prep, Duke
Mic Debellis, senior, Midfield, Emmaus, Siena
Tucker Durkin, senior, Defenseman, La Salle, Johns Hopkins
Bobby Hill, junior, Midfield, Malvern Prep
Matt Hughes, senior, Attack, Central Bucks East, Towson
Tyler Johnston, junior, Midfield, Ridley
Tyler Knarr, senior, Long-Stick Midfield, La Salle, Georgetown
Matt Lerman, senior, Goalie, Episcopal Academy, Syracuse
Liam O’Connor, junior, Midfield, The Haverford School
Jackson Place, junior, Defenseman, Episcopal Academy
Mason Poli, senior, Defenseman, Downingtown East, Bryant
Austin Rogusky, junior, Attack, Conestoga
Peter Schwartz, senior, Midfield, La Salle, Harvard
Grady Stevens, senior, Midfield, Unionville, Johns Hopkins
Dan Wigrizer, senior, Goalie, The Haverford School, Duke
Jordan Wolf, junior, Attack, Lower Merion
Player, team, college or prep school choice
Travis Armiger, Conestoga, RPI
Thomas Bashwiner, Central Bucks East, Villanova
Ian Hillman, Germantown Acedemy, Columbia
Westy Hopkins, La Salle, Lawrenceville Prep
Daniel Kelly, Penncrest, Penn State
Chris McNulty, Penncrest, Penn
Anthony Pipe, Neshaminy, Air Force Academy
Max Schubert, Upper Moreland, Pittsburgh
Robert Schwab, Harriton, Amherst
Daniel Zagnoli, Emmaus, Cornell
All EPSLA Team Goalie Niko Amato 12 La Salle Austin Kaut 11 Springfield-Delco Matt Lerman 12 Episcopal Academy Dan Wigrizer 12 The Haverford School Defense Tyler Andersen 12 Radnor Mike Bronzino 12 Conestoga James Connelly 12 Malvern Prep Tucker Durkin 12 La Salle Jake Eisenhard 12 Lower Merion Joe Lisicky 12 Unionville Steve O’Hara 11 St. Joseph’s Prep Jackson Place 11 Episcopal Academy Mason Poli 12 Downingtown East Joe Addona 11 Springfield-Delco Billy Conners 12 Malvern Prep Tyler Knarr 12 La Salle Attack Matt Cherry 12 Radnor Randy Forster 12 La Salle Brendan Glynn 12 St. Joseph’s Prep Matt Hughes 12 Central Bucks East Cody Isdaner 12 Episcopal Academy Joey Jones 11 Abington Austin Rogusky 11 Conestoga Shane Sturgis 11 Downingtown East Jordan Wolf 11 Lower Merion Midfield Derek Bogorowski 12 La Salle Josh Cavanaugh 11 Springfield-Delco Mic Debellis 12 Emmaus Zack Donnelly 12 Radnor Bobby Hill 11 Malvern Prep Tyler Johnston 11 Ridley Ryan Lord 11 Conestoga Liam O’Connor 11 Haverford School Andrew Protenic 12 West Chester East Rich Rambo 11 Abington Pete Schwartz 12 La Salle Grady Stevens 12 Unionville Coach of the Year – Brian Samson, Conestoga Asst. Coach of the Year – Tony Resch, La Salle Man of the Year – Evan Scott, Philadelphia School District