By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/23/09
Dozens of Philadelphia boys and girls recently signed National Letters of Intent to play at Division I colleges during the early signing period.
The signing period lasted from Nov. 11-18. In all, 67 Philly senior girls and 61 Philly senior boys have signed with or committed to Division I colleges. Those that committed to Ivy League or military academies do not sign letters of Intent because there are no scholarships offered by those institutions.
One of the girls to sign was Ridley midfielder Kelsey Garraty, who inked her name with Louisville. The Cardinals will enter only their third year of play this spring, but already have established themselves as a contender in the Big East.
“I am very excited to be heading to Louisville this upcoming Fall,” she said. “Signing with a young program is always risking, but with this team it is not. I have much confidence in this team and coaching staff.”
Garraty will play under head coach Kellie Young. One of Louisville’s assistants is Springfield-Delco graduate Lisa Staedt, who has helped bring several other Philly girls to the Kentucky school.
“Coach Young has huge expectations for this program along with coach Staedt and coach Matt Lawicki,” said Garraty. “The girls have played extremely well together and have gotten Louisville so far. I am completely honored to now be a part of this continuously enhancing team.”
Garraty also is excited about the 2010 scholastic season. She sees Ridley as a contender in the Central League.
“I expect us to do very well this upcoming spring,” she said. “We have an extremely strong and athletic bunch of girls who have been playing together since forever.
“We all get along so well on and off the field, it’s perfect. We also have an amazing coaching staff; they all know so much about the sport, it helps a lot.
“Individually, I hope to learn more about the game, and work more on my fundamental skills. I can not wait to celebrate our last season together, we’ve come so far and we are expected to do big things this year!
One of the boys to sign was Plymouth Whitemarsh face-off specialist Shawn Kaplan, who inked with Ohio State. Kaplan is excited about playing at the major college level.
“I just have to work on getting bigger, stronger and faster, and working on my face-off techniques,” he said. “I also have to adjust to the new (college) stick.”
Kaplan is confident the Colonials will challenge for a Suburban One American Conference title next spring.
“The league is always competitive, especially the top four. A lot of people are talking about Wissahickon, which has a lot of seniors. Upper Dublin (defending league champion) is always tough, and Upper Merion beat us pretty bad last year; though we got them back later.
“As far as our team goes, we have a few seniors coming back and a lot of younger guys that haven’t proven themselves yet. But knowing the kind of guys they are, they can take on bigger responsibility than just being role players. I am really looking forward to this year. We have a positive outlook.”
Another signee was Haverford School attackman Stephen Aitken, who was one of six Philly seniors that signed with Penn State.
“I have been waiting since last year to sign,” he said. “I am ready to focus on my senior year now that I have gotten things all settled for Penn State.”
Aitken noted that the Fords have high expectations after winning a share of the Inter-Ac League crown last year and finishing 16-8 while ending in the fourth spot in the PA Media Rankings. Already, five Haverford School juniors have committed to Division I colleges and two other seniors have signed with D1 schools.
“I’m just really excited for it,” he said of the upcoming season. “Now that we have the period between the two seasons, we are hanging out together, shooting the ball after school and lifting. Right now is a good time to get working on our stick work.”
One player that got a big lift from signing was Hatboro-Horsham midfielder Eddie Coombs. who went with Marist College (N.Y.). Coombs, a standout running back on the Hatters’ football team, missed the entire season with a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum and just recently got his arm out of a sling. Now he can focus on rehabilitation; his doctors believe he should be ready to play when the season begins in late March.
“I had it in the sling for five weeks,” Coombs said, noting it was his right shoulder that got injured. “It’s good to get the signing done because it will give me a chance to do rehab. It will make me work on my left hand.”