By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/22/12
Make no mistake – most lacrosse followers in Philly are well aware that no one from Pennsylvania made the final roster of the USA U-19 team that will head to Turku, Finland next month to defend its world championship.
And some of those who are still disappointed happen to be on the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA) All-Star squad that will play the U-19 team in a benefit exhibition Saturday night at Radnor High at 7 p.m. in a game that is generating much interest.
On Thursday Team Philly held its lone practice at Germantown Academy. After the practice some Philly players admitted they are psyched to play the U-19 team.
“I think we have a chip on our shoulder because there are no Philly guys on the team,” said Philly attackman Joey Sankey, a Penn Charter grad who enjoyed a standout freshman year (22 goals, 22 assists) at North Carolina. “But it will be fun playing some of the best guys in the country. It helps that a lot of us (Philly teammates) have played together before.”
Saturday’s game is a fundraiser for the Under 19 national team, as it prepares for the World Championships, beginning July 12. Tickets are $8 and be purchased in advance by clicking here.
The Philadelphia Lacrosse Association will be accepting donations of new or used lacrosse sticks at the entrance of Radnor stadium on Saturday night as part of the exhibition game.
HEADstrong has donated 200 pieces of its distinctive lime green mesh as part of what the PLA and HEADstrong are calling the “HEADstring” initiative. The sticks will be re-strung with the lime green mesh and be donated to the lacrosse programs in the Philadelphia School District as part of the PLA’s City Initiative, which works to grow the sport of boys’ and girls’ lacrosse within the school district of Philadelphia.
The goal of the “HEADstring” initiative is not only to further the PLA’s mission in the City but to help communicate the message of character, determination and perseverance, all reminiscent of HEADstrong’s founder, Nick Collelouri. The PLA will accept boys’ and girls’ sticks, including goalie sticks. There will be a donation box at the entrance of the stadium.
How did no Philly players make the 25-man USA roster? For one thing, such standouts as Sankey, and Philly All-Stars Carl Walrath (Haverford School, Virginia), Brian Dailey (Conestoga, Duke), Drew Kennedy (Malvern Prep, Johns Hopkins) and Goran Murray (Haverford School, Maryland) missed the age cutoff. Bobby Tait (Germantown Academy, Syracuse) tore up his knee during the first day of games at tryouts and three others, goalie Conor Kelly (Haverford School, Notre Dame), and attackmen Chris Hupfeldt (Haverford School, Penn) and Kevin Forster (La Salle, Maryland) were named as alternates but only can be chosen to go to Finland if someone on Team USA gets injured.
Team USA – which opened its exhibition slate last weekend with a 12-4 rout of the Long Island stars – does have two players from the region, midfielder Steve Pontrello (St. Augustine Prep, North Carolina freshman) and face-off specialist Tyler Barbarich (Bridgewater-Raritan, of Twist Lacrosse, University of Delaware rising sophomore).
Kelly, who redshirted at Notre Dame this year, was with the U-19 team in the fall for a tournament and played quite well. He liked the chemistry of the US team, but also feels the Philly squad, which has eight members of Haverford School’s undefeated national championship team from 2011, will compete well.
“I got a chance to play with the guys in the fall in Dallas and it was a lot of fun to get to know them,” he said. “I have been playing with these (Philly) guys all throughout high school and in showcases. It should be a lot of fun.
“I definitely think (we will do well). Every summer this group gets together for tournaments. We’re not going to be as sharp as them but I think we can put it together pretty quickly.”
Murray, who was a key starter for the Terps in their run to the NCAA championship game, is also excited to play Saturday.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to play with these guys and represent the state of Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s great playing with these guys again. It’s like a reunion of a team that has played together in the summers before.”
Team USA coach Tim Flynn was happy with his team’s victory over Long Island.
“For our first time out I thought we played well; we made a number of errors in the substitution game, which we have to clean up,” he said. “We will be practicing Friday in a full field scrimmage so we should be able to square those away.
“The kids are, I think, as advertised, in terms of their abilities on the field. It’s a very versatile, very hard-working and very talented group.”
Flynn said he expects a great challenge from Team Philly.
“We know how the talent level and work ethic of the players in the Philly area are,” he said. “It’s an exceptional area for lacrosse and we’re going to have to be on our best foot forward.”
How has the US team meshed?
“Absolutely, one of the strengths of this group is how quickly and totally they have come together as a team,” Flynn said. “They are very good people. They have strongly united and we’ll see how that continues under stress. But it’s a real good start.”
What does he most hope to accomplish with the exhibitions?
“I think it’s really a combination of personnel; what groups are going to run well together and complement one another on the field as well as still ascertaining the role for different people,” Flynn said. “We are learning each individual’s strengths and how best to utilize those strengths.
“The goal is getting out and playing really tough competition and putting ourselves in stressful situations so we can build and get better.”
The Philly squad has a few changes form the one released earlier this week. Recent Haverford School graduate Sam Rohr (midfielder, Penn) has replaced injured Fords teammate Will McNamara (Virginia). Attackman Kevin Forster (La Salle, Maryland) will not play and midfielder Brendan McGrath (Haverford School, Princeton) will not play due to an injury but is with the team.
First Name Last Name Position High School College (*committed to attend)
Matt Barrett G Malvern ‘2013 University of Virginia*
Sean Coleman M La Salle ’13
Brian Dailey LSM Conestoga ’11 Duke University
Sam Rohr M Haverford School ’12 University of Pennsylvania
Jeff Heath M St. Joseph’s Prep ’11 University of Delaware
Hup Hupfeldt A Haverford School ’11 University of Pennsylvania
Jamie Ikeda D Conestoga ’12 Duke University
Beau Jones A Germantown Academy ’11 University of Delaware
Kurt Kaunas A Parkland ’11 Lehigh University
Conor Kelly G Haverford School ’11 University of Notre Dame
Drew Kennedy M Malvern Prep ’11 Johns Hopkins University
Bradlee Lord M Conestoga ’12 University of Maryland
Joe McCallion M Haverford School ’11 University of Pennsylvania
Brendan McGrath M Haverford School ’11 Princeton University (injured)
Eddie Morris D Malvern Prep ’12 Johns Hopkins University
Goran Murray D Haverford School ’11 University of Maryland
Mike Paoline D Downingtown West’12 St. John’s University
Matt Rambo A La Salle ’13 University of Maryland*
Joey Sankey A Penn Charter ’11 University of North Carolina
Ty Souders D Emmaus ’10 Lehigh University
Bobby Tait D Germantown Academy ’11 Syracuse University
Carl Walrath A Haverford School ’11 University of Virginia
Matt Walters M Haverford School ’11 Syracuse University
Matt Ward LSM Ridley ’12 Harford (Md.) CC
Pos. – Name, High School, Hometown, College
A – Connor Buczek, St. Xavier High School ’11, Amelia, Ohio, Cornell ’15
A – Daniel Eipp, Groton Dunstable ’10, Groton, Mass., Harvard ’14
A – Matthew Kavanagh, Chaminade High Sch ’11, Rockville Centre, NY, Notre Dame ’15
A – Kyle Keenan, Smithtown West High School ’11, Smithtown, N.Y., Duke ’15
A – Joseph Leonard, Hicksville High School ’11, Hicksville, N.Y., St. John’s ’15
M – Brent Armstrong, St. Stephens and St. Agnes ’12, Falls Church, Va.
M – Tyler Barbarich, Bridgewater-Raritan High School (Twist Lacrosse) ’11, Martinsville, N.J., Delaware ’15
M – Matthew Florence, Kent Denver High School ’12, Greenwood Village, Colo.
M – Stephen Kelly, Calvert Hall ’13, Lutherville, Md.
M – Sean Mahon, Chaminade High School ’11, Garden City, N.Y., Harvard ’15
M – Steven Pontrello, St. Augustine Prep ’12, Marlton, N.J.
M – Charles Raffa, St. Anthony’s High School ’11, Syosset, N.Y., Maryland ’15
M – Michael Tagliaferri, San Roman Valley High School ’12, Danville, Calif.
M – Ryan Tucker, Gilman ’11, Towson, Md., Virginia ’15
M – Robert Zoppo, Calvert Hall ’10, Baltimore, Md., Towson ’14
D – Ralph D’Agostino, Immaculata High School ’11, Califon, N.J., Syracuse ’15
D – Gregory Danseglio, St. Anthony’s High School ’11, Islip Terrace, N.Y., Virginia ’15
D – Robert Enright, Massapequa High School ’11, Massapequa, N.Y., Johns Hopkins ’15
D – Luke Howard, Landon School ’11, Potomac, Md., Ohio State ’15
D – Stephen Jahelka, Garden City High School ’11, Garden City, N.Y., Harvard ’15
D – Tanner Ottenbreit, Regis Jesuit High School ’11, Aurora, Colo., Virginia ’15
G – Zachary Oliveri, Connequot High School ’11, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Massachusetts ’15
G – Kyle Turri, West Islip High School ’11, West Islip, N.Y., Duke ’15