By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/5/09
The U.S. National team, primed to make a run next summer at regaining its perch atop the world of men’s lacrosse, has a distinct Philadelphia flavor.
Four of the players on the roster of 23 released Monday are from Philly or coach in the area, three played college or indoor lacrosse in the region and three more that played for the Philadelphia Barrage when it won Major League Lacrosse (MLL) titles in 2006 2007.
It is expected by many that the U.S. will vie with Canada again for the world championship. The U.S. had won the title six straight times until 2006 when Canada earned a stunning 15-10 victory. The Federation of International Lacrosse championships are slated for July 10-24 in Manchester, England.
The U.S. will rely heavily on goaltender Brian Dougherty, an Episcopal Academy grad and Penn assistant who starred at Maryland and has been a standout in the MLL for the Rochester Rattlers, Long Island Lizards (twice) and the Philadelphia Barrage.
Dougherty, at 36, is the oldest member of the team, and even played on the 1998 world championship squad. But his experience and leadership skills make him one of the most respected goalies in the world.
“Doc’s game is very to the point and you can hear him all over the place,” aid U.S. coach Mike Pressler during a conference call Monday. “He’s loud but effective, knows what he’s saying and all of the above.
“Going into Stony Brook (the final tryouts last weekend) it was a dead heat and Doc was spectacular over the weekend. You win that position based on your performance and Doc did an outstanding job.”
In front of Dougherty are two key defenders, long stick midfielder Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco, Georgetown, Boston Cannons, Philadelphia Wings) and defenseman D.J. Driscoll (Malvern Prep, Notre Dame, Chicago Machine). Both players are physical and skilled at working the transition game. They are joined by Philadelphia Wing Shawn Nadelen (Washington Bayhawks, Johns Hopkins).Joe Cinosky (Toronto Nationals, Maryland), Eric Martin (Denver Outlaws, Salisbury) and Ryan McClay (Boston Cannons, Cornell).
“The six we selected are very versatile,” Pressler said. “If you’re going to go with six, you have to have guys who can do a lot of different things. There are some lefties, some righties, veterans and younger guys. I think the close d and poles mirror the attack with their versatility.”
At midfield, Lehigh men’s coach Kevin Cassese (Duke grad) returns for his third trip to the world championships. His experience wille be invaluable. The face-off specialist is 2007 Delaware grad Alex Smith (Washington Bayhawks), who hopes to solidify a weak spot from 2006 at the face-off X.
Also at midfield are two members of a Barrage team that won MLL crowns: Matt Striebel (Chicago Machine, Princeton) and Matt Zash (Lizards, Duke). The rest of the midfield features Duke senior Ned Crotty, Kyle Dixon (Washington Bayhawks, Virginia), Stephen Peyser (Long Island Lizards, Johns Hopkins), Paul Rabil (Boston Cannons, Johns Hopkins), Chris Schiller (Sailin’ Shoe LC, Penn State) and Max Seibald (Denver Outlaws, Cornell).
On attack, Philadelphia Wings standout Drew Westervelt (Denver Outlaws, UMBC) is joined by former Barrage star Ryan Boyle (Boston Cannons, Princeton), Mike Leveille (Chicago Machine, Syracuse), Brendan Mundorf (Denver Outlaws, UMBC) and Ryan Powell (Big Foot LC, Syracuse).
“We went into it (the tryout selection process) saying ‘We’re not going to pick the best player at each position, but the best player at that particular role that gives us the chance to win,’” Pressler said “Our success is dependent on everyone accepting the role the coaching staff gives and ultimate direction and goal of winning.”