By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/26/10
The Duke’s Lacrosse Club has flexed its muscles in recent years as one of the of the top boys’ club programs in the nation.
Last week at the 21st Champ Camp at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, the Duke’s pulled off the rarest of accomplishments by having both of its teams reach the finals of the summer’s biggest club tournament.
For the fifth straight year, Duke’s 1 claimed the championship in a field of 69 club teams. Just as amazing was that Duke’s 2 also reached the finals and defeated several of the country’s top teams in its drive.
Other Philly teams also fared well in the tourney. Both Mesa Fresh 2011 and Twist Black finished among the top 12 teams and went 6-2 overall. HEADstrong Elite was 5-3 and made it to the championship playoffs. Twist Silver went 5-3 and HEADstrong Young Guns finished 3-5 while Springfield-Delco was 3-5.
Duke’s LC (9-0 overall) defeated Duke’s 2, 10-3 in the championship game as Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) pumped in five goals. But the game that had many lacrosse followers talking was the Duke’s 8-7 quarterfinal win over GotSkillz, a collection of major Division I recruits from Long Island, Baltimore and other regions.
GotSkillz was leading the Duke’s, 7-6, entering the fourth period of a game that no team led by more than two goals. Thanks to brilliant goaltending by Duke’s rising senior Hank Altschuler (Lower Merion/recently committed to Hofstra), the Duke’s stayed alive and then tied it on a goal by rising senior attackman Carl Walrath (Haverford School/Virginia). In all, Walrath had three goals.
Later in the final period, freshman midfielder Matt Rambo (Abington) put the Duke’s ahead for good while a defense anchored by rising senior Ryan Kilpatrick (Salesianum School/North Carolina) clamped down in front of Altschuler.
Also scoring for the Duke’s in that game were Sankey (two goals), rising senior attack Kevin Forster (La Salle/Maryland), rising senior Shane Morrell (Episcopal Academy/Bryant) and rising senior Brendan McGrath (Haverford School/Princeton). Rambo and Sankey added key assists.
In the semifinals, Duke’s LC toppled Team Turnpike SB (N.J.), 6-4, as rising senior goalies Conor Kelly (Haverford School/Notre Dame) and Dustin Keen (Downingtown West) played strong games; and Duke’s 2 downed NESLL1 (New England), 8-6.
Duke’s L.C. program head coach Ebe Helm said the championship was the result of strong teamwork from players to coaches and parents.
Throughout the tourney, the Duke’s received strong goaltending, led by Altschuler, Kelly and Keen. “Altschuler was phenomenal,” said Helm.
On defense, Kilpatrick was a force with his play on the field and as a leader. Helm said he refused to let the Duke’s players get intimidated when GotSkillz began to clutch and grab Duke’s attackmen in the quarterfinal win.
The rest of the defense – rising seniors Goran Murray (Haverford School/Maryland/LSM), Jesse Horn (Great Valley/LSM), Rich O’Neill (Unionville/Penn State/LSM), John Sax (St. Joseph’s Prep), Tim Kulp (West Chester East), Mark DiFrangia (La Salle/St. John’s), Kevin Barrow (Avon Grove), Alex Warden (Garnet Valley/Air Force) and Benn Karr (Conestoga/Ohio State). – helped the Duke’s yield just 22 goals in the tourney.
At the face-off X, rising senior Drew Kennedy (Malvern Prep/Johns Hopkins) was dominant. “If there is a better face-off man in the country, I want to know who he is,” said Helm.
Rising senior Joe McCallion (Haverford School/Penn) also excelled at the X. Helm said that the defensive middies – McCallion and rising seniors, Jeff Heath (St. Joseph’s Prep/Delaware/6 goals), Billy Flatley (Conestoga/Georgetown), and Corbin Booker (Chestnut Hill Academy/Brown) and rising junior Grayson Helm (Wyomissing) – also were superb.
The offensive middies included McGrath, rising seniors Jack Bogorowski (La Salle/Johns Hopkins) and Tanner Scott (Conestoga/Duke) on the first line, rising seniors Andrew Blundin (Salesianum), Eric Gartner (Great Valley/Villanova) and senior Bobby Gildea (Springfield-Delco/Essex CC) on the second line, and rising sophomores Rambo and Sean Coleman (La Salle) and Chas Robino (Tower Hill Academy/UMass) on the third line.
Attackmen included Sankey, Forster and Walrath on the top line and rising seniors Morrell and Mike Dougherty (Malvern Prep) and rising junior Ryan Ambler (Abington).
Duke’s 1 coaches included Helm (overall administrator), Mike Dolente (face-offs), Mike Mackrides (head coach, box, offense), Ron Forster (offense), Jason Christmas (defense) and Eric Gregg (goalies).
Duke’s LC 10, Duke’s 2 3
Summary (3 12-minute periods were played due to heat)
Duke’s LC 2-4-4 – 10
Duke’s 2 2-0-1 – 3
Duke’s LC – Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) 5 goals, Andrew Blundin (Salesianum School) 1 goal, Billy Flatley (Conestoga) 1 goal, Shane Morrell (Episcopal Academy) 1 goal, Sean Coleman (La Salle) 1 goal, Jack Bogorowski (La Salle) 1 goal, Joe McCallion (Haverford School) 1 goal.
Duke’s 2 – Blair Bonner (WC East) 1 goal, Jon Garino (Episcopal Academy) 1 goal, Jeremy Omrod (Holy Ghost Prep) 1 goal.