By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/20/20
With more than 150 coaches watching, nearly 500 players competed in Saturday’s 2014/2015 day at the Philly Showcase at Episcopal Academy.
Two of the competitors – Roxborough junior midfielder Cori Grobes and Mastery Charter sophomore attackman Amir Fluellen – did not arrive with the biggest names. But both Philadelphia Public League players felt they held their own and saw great benefits from he competition.
“I expected it to be very challenging and that I would have to push myself – and I did,” said Fluellen, who like Grobes plays club lacrosse for the T-Ref Tomahawks of Philadelphia.
“It was like culture shock because they are better players and I am not used to this level. But I learned that my defense is good. I just have to step it up a lot on offense. I am not a savant yet and I have to work on some things to get myself a little better.”
Fluellen, who has played lacrosse since 7th grade, tried to use his 6-foot-3 frame to his advantage. “It is an advantage because I can work with bigger guys and back them down.”
Grobes also felt he was able to adjust to the higher level of play.
“There were a lot of talented players and a lot of people who knew what they were doing,” he said. “It was a great experience learning new things and meeting new people. I had a lot of fun and I would like to do it all over again.”
Grobes learned a lot about his game.
“I think at this point I stand pretty well,” he said. “There is always time to improve your game. I still need to go to play wall ball a lot and I need to work on my speed, agility and coming off my dodges.
“You see you can play lacrosse with these guys, but I have to work hard overall. I think I did pretty well, but there also were a couple things I wasn’t too happy about.”
“I think I learned you can play with anyone if you learn them and learn to trust them,” said Cherry, who plays for HEADstrong. “I didn’t know anyone when I came.
“The first thing I do every time I play with new people is that I make sure I learn their names. I literally stand my myself in the net saying names over and over so I can call them by name. I also make sure I get to learn they style of play so I know how to use them best.”
Cherry did not make the Fab 40 All-Star Game, but was happy with his play and the overall experience.
“It went really well,” he said. “The talent level was great. There was a mix of sophomores and juniors and the diversity was nice. I also liked to have so many great coaches watching us and coaching us.
“The in-pressure of having many watching us is typical of what you’d see in a college situation. That’s probably how nervous I would be. I was good to have that kind of experience.”
The day was capped by the Easton Fab 40 All-Star games.
St. Mark’s (TX) sophomore goalie Connor Mullen made eight saves in the 2015 game for the Black team in a 7-5 victory. He said the opportunity to play in a major East Coast recruiting event was enticing.
“My head coach told me I got invited to this and that I should go,” said Mullen. “I had a lot of fun. It was played at a really elite level. We’re getting up there (the lacrosse talent in Texas) and definitely expanding, but it was great to come here and play at a high level.”
Mullen believes his showing Saturday has placed him in the eyes of the big colleges. He has been talking to such major Division I schools as Princeton, Yale and Georgetown.
“From talking to some college coaches, I feel I’m in that upper half of that top group,” he said.
Episcopal Academy junior midfielder Rich Palezzese (NXT club) scored once for the White in a 7-4 loss in the 2014 All-Star Game.
“I talked to my dad before the game and he said it’s a normal game and that definitely eased my nerves,” said Palazzese. “My goal definitely from the beginning of the day was to make the All-Star Game.
“I thought the game went well. The biggest thing for me is trying to hustle on every single play. When you do that good things happen; I was just in front of the crease, just near the ball and I scored Canadian-(style).”
Palazzese said he is focusing on the academic side while looking at colleges.
“I am just trying to get into a good academic school and lacrosse will help me get there,” he said. “I am looking at the Ivies and NESCACs.”