By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/27/11
Conestoga senior long stick midfielder Brian Dailey has been named the Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Co-Player of the Year for 2011.
Dailey was the game-changer for the Pioneers’ brilliant run to a second straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championship. He earned a second US Lacrosse All-America honor and was named to the Under Armour All-America Game while also being chosen Central League MVP.
Dailey, who will play at Duke University, shares the Player of the Year honor with Haverford School goalie Conor Kelly.
Dailey’s contributions were evident all over the midfield in 2011 in helping the Pioneers win the Central League championship, their third straight District 1 title and then down St. Joseph’s Prep, 13-4, in the PIAA title game. He led his team in groundballs (117) and takeaways (78), using his speed, quickness and riding ability on the defensive side while serving as the catalyst to Conestoga’s vaunted transition game.
The Pioneers – who fell only to undefeated Haverford School – finished ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps, No. 3 by ESPN RISE and LaxPower and No. 4 by Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse.
“Brian generated a lot of transition goals and extra possessions,” said Conestoga coach Brian Samson. “Whether on the face-off (wing) or in midfield play, his speed was second to none; he has punt return speed.
“Brian was often not the guy who got the assist, but he was the point man for our transition game, hitting the guy who would set up the goal. I think we scored 60 to 70 percent of our goals on unsettled situations and he was the biggest part of that.
“Defensively, he causes a lot of havoc for other teams because he can play guys at the midfield and frustrate them by pressuring the whole field.”
Dailey was most proud of the fact that Conestoga repeated as state champions despite losing a deep and talented senior class from the 2010 team. In his three years as a starter, Conestoga has gone an amazing 73-5.
“It was a pretty cool ending this year after losing 18 seniors and a majority of our starting lineup,” Dailey said. “A lot of people stepped up.
“We’ve all been playing together since 4th and 5th grade and with our team everyone is god friends. Being a captain is an easy role because the junior and sophomores can come to me or anyone else since we’re all leaders.”
Dailey said the Pioneers’ balance and depth were keys to their success.
“There were a couple times when the team wasn’t doing very well and I’d try my best to make the big play,” he aid. “But if it wasn’t me, it was somebody else.
“I like playing aggressively and I feel like I can be there when the ball hits the ground. But even when I mess up, our defense was so strong that I knew I could get back.”
Phillylacrosse.com Players of the Year
2011 – Conor Kelly, Haverford School, senior goalie
2011 – Brian Dailey, Conestoga, senior long stick midfielder
2010 – Austin Kaut, Springfield-Delco, senior goalie
2010 – Jordan Wolf, Lower Merion, senior attackman
2009 – Tucker Durkin, La Salle, senior defenseman
2008 – Niko Amato, La Salle, junior goalie