Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/5/11
Kyle Wharton (Haverford School/Johns Hopkins) earned the tournament MVP honor and Rob Forster (La Salle/Penn State) scored nine goals as Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear routed Rocky Mountain Oyster/Lax.com, 24-7, to win the Men’s Elite Championship Sunday at the 39th Vail Shootout.
The champions featured numerous other Philly players, including defensemen Tucker Durkin (La Salle/Johns Hopkins) and Billy Conners (Malvern Prep/Duke), LSM Mason Poli (Downingtown East/Bryant), goalie Matt Lerman (Episcopal Academy/Syracuse) and midfielders John Haldy (Haverford School/Virginia), Patrick Resch (La Salle/Dartmouth) and Jake Plunket (Syracuse/Albright men’s coach).
Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear, which finished undefeated, bolted to an 11-0 lead and never looked back in the title game as Wharton (four goals, three assists) and Zach Howell (Duke) continually set up Forster, notching six assists.
Poli, a rising junior, added three goals in the game and finished with seven overall in the tourney. He and Durkin also earned all-tourney honors along with Howell and Plunket.
Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear was assembled by sponsor and coach Paul Landaiche (Episcopal Academy/Hampden-Sydney), who has now seen his squad win two of the past three championships. The squad outscored its four opponents, 66-29, over the five-day tourney, holding each team below 10 goals despite the run-and-gun style (shot clock and 2-point shots).
Landaiche said this group of players performed perhaps the best of any team he’s coached at Vail. He also singled out Forster – who plays for Philadelphia Division champion Philadelphia GMH of the American Lacrosse League – for his ability to finish and his work around the crease. Forster was not named to the all-tourney team, but dominated against many of the tourney’s top opposing defensemen.
Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear’s defense also featured LSM C.J. Costabile (Duke), who was named the tourney’s Defensive MVP, Bray Malphrus (Virginia) and John Pritzlaff (Hampden-Sydney). Resch, a rising sophomore, was a force as a short-stick middie and Trever Sipperly (Bryant/Notre Dame) dominated at the face-off X, winning 20 of 29 draws in the title game and earning all-tourney.
Lerman, a rising sophomore expected to vie for the starting spot this year at Syracuse, had more than 40 saves. Lerman, Forster and Plunket also played on the Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear entry last year.
The Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear squad had only two players that didn’t play college lacrosse in 2011 – Forster (Class of 2009) and Plunket (Class of 2005) and several players that often went against each other in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Also, Sipperly and Costabile faced off against each other at the X in the 2010 Division I championship game. Haldy was the captain of the national champion Virginia Cavaliers this year.
“Our defense was awesome,” said Forster. “It was a different game because we had a shot clock and 2-point shots. Zach made so many great passes and Kyle stretched the field and let ‘em fly.”
Maverik Elite placed third by downing Team Chipotle, 14-10 as goalie Niko Amato (La Salle/Maryland) earned all-tourney honors. Also making all-tourney was Delaware rising sophomore defenseman Will Wojciechowsk of Team Sandy.
Merrill Lynch.Lacrossewear toppled Team Chipotle, 16-7, in the semifinals as Wharton scored three goals and Forster, Haldy, Poli and Resch each had two.
Lerman made seven saves.
In its second pool play game, Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear downed Team 21, 12-8, as Wharton contributed two goals and an assist, Forster scored twice, Haldy tallied once and Lerman made 10 stops.
In its first game, a 14-7 win over Denver City Lax, Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear got four goals and an assist from Forster, three goals from Wharton, two goals from Poli, a goal and an assist from Resch and 14 saves from Lerman.
Merrill Lynch/Lacrossewear Roster
Name Position School
Kyle Wharton (Haverford School) Attack Johns Hopkins
Zach Howell Attack Duke
Rob Forster (La Salle) Attack Penn State
Jake Plunket (Albright men’s coach) Midfield Syracuse
John Haldy (Haverford School) Midfield Virginia
David Lawson Midfield Duke
Cole Hawthorne Midfield Hampden-Sydney
Nick Dolic Midfield Penn State
Gary Crowley Midfield Bryant
Kevin Owens Midfield Butler
Trevor Sipperly FOGO Bryant/Notre Dame
Patrick Resch (La Salle) SSDM Dartmouth
CJ Costabile LSM Duke
Mason Poli (Downingtown East) LSM Bryant
Tucker Durkin (La Salle) Defense Johns Hopkins
John Pritzlaff Defense Hampden-Sydney
Billy Conners (Malvern Prep) Defense Duke
Bray Malphrus Defense Virginia
Matt Lerman (Episcopal Academy) Goalie Syracuse
Paul Landaiche (Episcopal Academy) Coach/Sponsor Hampden-Sydney