By Adam C. Warner
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/28/09
From the amazing gear to the perfect facilities and the elite company, the Under Armour All-American Classic made a lasting impression on the all-stars from the Philadelphia region.
Led by Radnor graduate Sam Ellis and Episcopal alum Samantha Arbitman, the North Team erased a two-goal halftime deficit and went on to post a 12-9 victory over the South in the Under Armour All-American Classic held at Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University in Maryland. It was the fourth win by the North Team in as many years of the exhibition.
“It was really one of the best lacrosse experiences of my life,” said Arbitman, a defender, who will take her game to Johns Hopkins in the fall. “Coming into it, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was just amazing. This is a lifetime honor and it means a lot to me to be on the North Team.”
The All-Star exhibition featured up-tempo play as the nation’s elite lacrosse players showcased their excellent pass and shoot skills – often going end-to-end on transition breaks. The squads were tied at 3-3 with 9:38 to play in the first half before the South Team registered two late goals to take a 5-3 edge into intermission.
In the second half, the North Team clicked from the outset thanks to solid zone defense lead by Arbitman and an electric offense spearheaded by Ellis. With both phases gelling for the North, the South Team was stifled for the remainder of the stanza.
“I think our defense was one of the big differences in the game because it made things a little bit chaotic and the South didn’t know how to beat it,” Arbitman said. “A lot of their success came off of free position goals. We had a good rotation going where we switched (personnel) every five minutes. We went full force out there.”
The North outscored the South 5-1 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, grabbed an 8-6 advantage and never looked back.
Strath Haven’s Emily Garrity – who played strong at a defensive position – helped the South Team pull to within one goal thanks to an assist on a score by Betsy Mastropieri with 11:53 left in the game.
But the North squad continued to find its groove and got better as the game progressed. After the Mastropieri score, the North notched three goals in a row, which included an assist by Ellis, to take an 11-7 lead with six minutes to play.
“In the first half, we were down and forcing the ball a bit and not settling it,” said Ellis, who is Princeton-bound in the fall. “But in the second half, we learned to play like a team and be smart. Against great players, you have to be a team player and step up your game.”
While Ellis and Garrity contributed assists for their respective squads, Stephanie Anderson of Wading River (NY) was named MVP after registering three goals and one assist.
Said Arbitman of the experience and playing against and alongside so many talented athletes, “I definitely wanted to win. The North had won the three previous seasons, so I wanted to keep the tradition going, play solid defense and go in relaxed. I feel like I perform well when I go into a game relaxed and love going up against a challenge.”
Arbitman certainly seemed at easy on Saturday for the North Team alongside Ellis, and was integral in her squad holding the South to just three second half goals en route to the victory.
North Team 12, South Team 9
South Team 5 4 – 9
North Team 3 9 – 12
South Team points: Betsy Mastropieri 2g, 2a; Kelsi Bozel 1 g; Ashley Bruns 1g; Kitty Cullen 1g; Brittney Dashiell 1g; Molly Fernandez 1g, 1 a; Erin Laschinger 1g; Katie Scharzmann 1g; Emily Garrity 1 a.
North Team points: Stephanie Anderson 3g, 1a; Kara Cannizzaro 2 g; Jen VanderMuelen 2 g; Janine Hillier 1g, 1a; Kelsey Johnson 1g; Caroline McTiernan 1 g; Michelle Tumolo 1g, 1a; Gabi Wiegand 1g; Alison Cassera 1a; Sam Ellis 1 a.
Tags: Under Armour