By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/4/11
Lower Merion has hired two coaches to run its boys’ lacrosse program – former Haverford School standout Casey O’Rourke (recent Penn alum) and JV coach Mike Borsch.
O’Rourke was a US Lacrosse High School All-American who captained the Fords’ 2005 state championship team. He played regularly all four years at Penn – three as a starter – at both midfield and attack and tallied 36 career goals before graduating in 2009.
Borsch is a 1995 Strath Haven grad who served as Lower Merion’s JV coach the past two years under Chet Laubach, who resigned as head coach after six years and appearances in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) tournament in 2009 and 2010.
O’Rourke does not have high school experience, but has been coaching club lacrosse with HEADstrong and also has coached at clinics and many camps. He will serve as the head coach on the field while Borsch will assist there and handle administrative duties. It is expected that O’Rourke will eventually assume the title as head coach.
Last year the Aces went 14-10 and placed fifth in District 1 before bowing to Emmaus for the second straight year in the first round of the state tourney.
Lower Merion graduated three seniors that are playing Division I lacrosse – including Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year Jordan Wolf (Duke), midfielder Ahmad Zachary (Vermont) and attackman Andrew Mongeluzzi (red-shirting at Towson). Wolf and Mongeluzzi combined for an amazing 149 goals.
Also lost to graduation were All-Central league performers Ari Weisband (defenseman/Ursinus), Nile Thompson (attackman/Ursinus) and Joey Shallow (defenseman/Immaculata). Meanwhile, senior goalie Hank Altschuler (Hofstra), transferred to Hill Academy in Canada.
O’Rourke said he will stress teamwork, education and high expectations.
“Lacrosse can be used as a tool to get kids into some of the best schools around,” he said. “I have an Ivy League degree, and would not have had that opportunity if it weren’t for lacrosse.
“Having a great education and caring for the person next to you can be the most powerful thing that you can teach a kid. With that being said, I’d be doing these kids a disservice by expecting anything less than the best.
“In order to get the best, I need to demand the most. When I get the most, I will demand more.”
O’Rourke understands the Central League is always competitive, but is excited to help his young team grow.
“We can’t focus on anyone but ourselves, in the here and now,” he said. “We have a rich tradition in the sport, and I hope we can re-ignite that fire.”
O’Rourke credited his high school coaches at Haverford School – John Nostrant, Mark Petrone, Travis Loving, and Doug Knight – for helping him in his own growth.
“They’re the best coaches I’ve ever had,” he said. “If they had taken it easy on me, I never would have gotten this far.”
Borsch played club lacrosse at Bloomsburg and later started a club program at Penn State-Delaware County. He started teaching Special Education at Abington Junior High and coached the junior high program to five undefeated seasons in eight years there. Three years ago, he was hired as an Autistic Support teacher at Lower Merion.
“We feel confident that we will be very competitive in the league and are looking forward to a productive season,” he said, noting that Lower Merion is seeking a defensive coach, a goalie coach, a JV coach and an assistant JV coach. Those interested, should contact him at BorschM@lmsd.org.