By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/7/12
Of the nearly 500 players among the 20 teams that competed Sunday in the Quaker Fall Laxfest at Radnor High, few enjoyed the event as much as Jamie Griffin of the Duke’s Lacrosse Club Blue (2015) squad.
Griffin, a sophomore defenseman/LSM, attends Jenkintown High, which does not offer boys’ lacrosse. Therefore, competing against many of the top club teams from throughout the East Coast was key for being recognized.
“My only chance to play right now is on a club team, so I want to come out and play hard,” he said. “Since I am not playing high school I have to show myself. The games are played at a high speed that I can’t play at all year so I really have to hustle.”
Griffin – who aspires to one day play at the Division I level – said he hopes to play high school lacrosse through a co-op sponsorship program with another neighboring school. He has played with the Abington Lacrosse Club and is pleased to have made the Dukes, a highly-rated Philly team with a national reputation.
“It does help playing with really good lacrosse players that have great lacrosse IQs,” he said. “Playing with them really helps me to improve.
“The competition was great. I just had to work hard to stay warm.”
The Duke’s L.C. Green (2014) team also competed Sunday in a tourney field that had 10 Philly clubs and were joined by four Long Island squads (Sting, Express, FLG and Outlaws) as well as teams from Maryland (Hardshells), Virginia (MadLax, VA Lacrosse Club), New England (Storm), New Jersey (Leading Edge) and Central New York (RoadHawks).
Duke’s Green defenseman Mike Mazzola (Haverford School)also appreciated the exposure on Sunday. He has only been playing the sport for several years and is hoping to earn varsity time this year.
“Everything is going well; my goals is to talk to some coaches and to get some new ones interested and possibly find a home after this tournament,” he said. “I feel I am playing well.
“It’s always hard to get warmed up, but I feel I am playing well and this is good competition. I have played with a lot of these guys before so that helps.”
Mazzola said the event helped him see what he most needs to work on.
“I definitely need to work on stick checks and stripping,” he said. “I have only played lacrosse a couple years.”
Did he notice the more than 100 college coaches?
“Not so much but when you get to the sidelines fighting for a groundball you begin seeing them in the corner of your eye,” he said. “Sometimes you are playing in front of coaches you have talked to a couple times and it’s nerve wracking. You don’t want to mess up and have them lose interest.”
The Long Island Sting regularly competes in the Laxfest and features players from around the country. This year it had two players from California as well as players from Texas, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.
One from California, Malibu’s Ross O’Shea, a lefty attackman for Harvard-Westlake High in North Hollywood, managed to find some warm clothes for his trip to the East.
“Everybody her has a lot of goals and the main one is being recruited,” he said, “but my main goal is becoming a better lacrosse player.
“Out on the West Coast we have great competition, but coming here to the East Coast with all these hotbeds definitely helps me to develop skills as a player and teaches me things I never see on the West Coast. The defense is amazing here; my biggest goal is to become a better all-around attackman.”
O’Shea admitted that the weather in California was much warmer than the frigid conditions Sunday – but he did not mind.
“Right now it’s 90 degrees in California,” he said. “When you are out West and packing you definitely need tights and sweatshirts. But when you get out here it’s not too bad. I like the cold.”
Bronxville sophomore attackman Ted Forst played some varsity last year for a team that reached the New York Class C state semifinals. He relished being scouted by the many coaches.
“I have been playing on the Sting for a couple years and my main goal is to have a lot of an win some games,” he said. “There are a ton of coaches all over the sidelines and this ia great opportunity. It’s one of the top Fall tournaments and it’s always fun to play out here.
“You play against some of the best competition and you also get to watch some of the best players. You get to take in their moves and see where you rank up against them.”
Forst attends school just north of Manhattan. He was one of many in the New York city and Long Island area that got hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
“I still don’t have power; we were supposed to get it back on Sunday night, but they have been saying that the last couple days,” he said.
Ben Lipscomb is a senior (headed for PG year) midfielder/attackman from The Woodlands, north of Houston, Texas. He earned All-State last year when he helped his team go 16-2 before it fell to eventual state champion Highland Park.
“I love coming out to the East,” he said. “Lacrosse is getting strong in Houston and our top rivals are in Dallas.
“I want to get recruited and play out here in college. It’s great competition; the goalkeeping is phenomenal and everybody’s sticks are a lot better. The caliber of play is just better out here.”