By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/17/10
Army’s Rob McCallion could not think of a more ideal finish to a successful season than getting to play lacrosse against the best players in the country.
On Friday night (8:00) at Lehigh University, the former Episcopal Academy standout will be one
of many Philly grads to represent the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA) All-Stars in a special exhibition game against the US National team.
The game is one of three warm-ups being played by the US squad as it gears for the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Lacrosse Championship July 15-24 in Manchester, England. Thirty nations will compete for the title; the US and defending champion Canada are the two favorites.
Tickets for Friday’s game can be purchased online at palacrosse.com.
The PLA roster features mostly college players and some college grads that are playing on post-graduate club teams. McCallion said he was connected to PLA coach John Nostrant (Haverford School) through his brother, Joey, a rising senior face-off specialist who plays for Nostrant at Haverford.
“I was asked after the season if I would be interested in playing,” said McCallion, a midfielder who will be a senior next year. “It’s a great life experience. I was fortunate enough to get to scrimmage with Army against the US team in January.”
In that game, Army fell to the US team, 15-7, at the 2010 Champion Challenge at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
McCallion had 9 goals and 17 assists this year for the Black Knights, helping them win the Patriot League championship with an 11-8 win over arch-rival Navy. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, Army stunned two-time defending champion Syracuse, 9-8, in double overtime before being knocked out by Cornell.
One of the players picked for the PLA team is McCallion’s Army teammate, freshman standout Garrett Thul.
McCallion said many of the PLA team members know each other, but added they will not get to practice.
“We’ll just show up and see what happens,” he said. “I guess when you go against a team like this and you know the best players on the field are on the other team you watch the things they do and add them to your game,” he said. “I expect to compete anytime I am on the field.
“Obviously this won’t carry the intensity of a game during the season, but I want to compete and I think everyone wants to compete and have fun and see what you’ve got against the best players in the world.”
McCallion said the Army season had two memorable highlights – the league title win over Navy and the victory over Syracuse, before a crowd of 5,479 at the Carrier Dome. McCallion had a goal and an assist in the win over Navy and a goal and two assists against the Orangemen.
“Every time we beat Navy, that has to be the primary (highlight),” he said. “But when we go against Navy, everyone gives us a shot to win. Against Syracuse, I don’t think anybody but the guys in our program thought we had a chance to win. It was a pretty cool feeling.”
The PLA All-Star team features many other Philly players. Matt Mackrides (Penn State/Malvern Prep) and Kyle Wharton (Johns Hopkins/Haverford School) will be at attack; and John Haldy (Virginia/Haverford School), Kevin Kaminski (Strath Haven/Delaware), Chris Layne (North Carolina/Malvern Prep), and Ryan Cranston (Lynchburg grad/Henderson/GMH Philadelphia LC club team) are at midfield.
The defense features Brett Moyer (Ridley/Hofstra/Philadelphia Wings/GMH), Mike Bronzino (Conestoga/Cornell), and Dan Honeywell (Lehigh grad/GMH). The face-off specialist is the University of Delaware’s Dan Cooney.
One of the two goalies is Mark Manos (Salesianum School/West Chester), a third-team All-American this year for Drexel.
The US team features many Philly players, including midfielder Kevin Cassese, the Lehigh head coach and former Duke standout. Others include goalie Brian Dougherty (Episcopal Academy/Maryland/GMH), defenseman Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco/Georgetown/Philadelphia Wings/Boston Cannons), defenseman D.J. Driscoll (Malvern Prep/Notre Dame/ Chicago Machine), face-off specialist Alex Smith (Univ. of Delaware/Washington Bayhawks), defenseman Shawn Nadelen (Philadelphia Wings/Johns Hopkins/Towson associate coach) and attackman Drew Westervelt (UMBC/Philadelphia Wings/Denver Outlaws One of the Team USA assistants is La Sale College High assistant and former Wings great and head coach Tony Resch.
The full rosters can be found by clicking here.
Tags: Episcopal Academy