By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/2/11
Great Valley senior defenseman Ryan Wheeler has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Gwynedd Mercy College.
Wheeler will join teammate Peter Pappas (midfielder/face-off specialist) as a Gwynedd Mercy recruit. Also from Philly, Methacton goalie Ryan Murphy has committed to Gwynedd Mercy.
Gwynedd Mercy is in its third year of play at the varsity level. Last year the Griffins went 10-5 and reached the Colonial States Athletic Conference finals, bowing to 10-time champion Cabrini College. The head coach is Dana Lindstrom.
Wheeler, an Honor roll student who also plays long stick midfield, plans to major in education or business.
“They coaches are really awesome,” said Wheeler. “The team has lots of promise. It’s going to go places in a couple years. I really wanted to be a part of that.
“It’s a small school and I liked that. Plus, it’s not too far down the road and I can still come home. When I play, my coaches and family can watch me play.”
Wheeler said he helped get Pappas interested in Gwynedd.
“At the beginning of the year he told me he was looking at Cabrini and that we’d get to play against each other,” said Wheeler. “I thought that was cool. After I sent coach Lindstrom a tape of me playing, he looked at the film and saw him (Pappas) play. It was lucky I sent him my game film.”
Wheeler, who formerly played for the Philadelphia Youth lacrosse All-Stars and Team Philly, was an Honorable Mention Ches-Mont League pick last year. The Patriots now have five seniors committed to playing college lacrosse: senior Eric Gartner (midfielder) has signed with Villanova while goalie Nick DiPiano has committed to Eastern and long stick midfielder Jesse Horn has committed to Division III national finalist Stevenson.
Last year Great Valley (7-11) finished strong, topping league foes Avon Grove and Sun Valley to close the year. This year coach Tony Verna returns after spending 2010 on sabbatical.
“Our expectations are pretty high for this year; we don’t expect anything less than (making) the playoffs,” Wheeler said. “We are fortunate to get coach Verna back.
“We have a lot of strengths. Our defensemen are mostly younger, but they have lots of good skills and speed and they should be good.”
Tags: Great Valley