By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/5/12
More than 100 college coaches attended the annual Quaker Fall Laxfest Sunday at Radnor High as 20 club teams from around the Easter Coast drew thousands of fans for the start of a major month of recruiting.
Nearly every major Division I team and many top Division III squads sent coaches to watch a tourney that focused mostly on uncommitted juniors and sophomores as well as seniors looking for the right fit.
Ten Philly teams – Duke’s L.C. Green (2014) and Blue (2015), Mesa Fresh 2014 and 2015, HEADstrong, ManUp, NXT, Phillie Elite, Rebel Elite and Twist – 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).
Beginning today Phillylacrosse.com highlights a player from each Philly squad as well as the Sting, who brought players from as far as California and Texas.
Today we feature HEADstrong, NXT, Rebel Elite and Twist.
Senior midfielder Dennis (D.J.) Young (Spring-Ford) said he was surprised to even make the team after last month’s tryouts. So competing Sunday was a thrill.
“My friend told me to try out and I will be honest – I didn’t think I would make it,” he said. “Today I just wanted to come out and do my best and get looked at. It was great competition; there were a lot of teams recognized around the area, maybe the nation.”
Young, who is considering several top Division III colleges such as Widener and Lynchburg, said his teammates jelled quickly.
“We had like seven of us 2013s and then mostly 2014s as well as a couple 2015s,” he said. “We hadn’t played with each other before, so we introduced ourselves, got a feel for how each other played and started talking and communicating. It just clicked.”
Did he notice all the coaches on the sidelines?
“I just kept that to the side so the pressure was not on me,” he said.
Sophomore attackman-midfielder Brady O’Neill (Kennett) was like a little boy going trick-or-treating for the first time. He played football (quarterback) for the Kennett JV team and was putting on the lacrosse pads for the first time this season after missing a month due to a dislocated shoulder.
“I just got cleared by the doctor,” he said. “I came in trying to get back into lacrosse form.
“I was kind of surprised at how the shoulder held up. I didn’t hold back and I tried to be as physical as possible and I was happy with the shoulder.”
O’Neill – who started the second half of the 2012 season as a freshman at Kennett – could not help but notice the many college coaches.
“I was surprised at the amount of recruiters here,” he said. “I was very impressed with the skills of the players here and very happy to be here with the NXT family.
“I have sent out letters to colleges and I am really hoping to get recruited. That’s the goal.”
What did he learn from the day’s action?
“From today you have to learn how to fix your mistakes and not worry about them,” he said. “You always keep your head because there is always another chance to be seen. You play your game and don’t try to be something you are not.”
Junior long pole Chris Karagelian (West Chester East) entered the tourney with high expectations.
“I came out really hoping to get committed,” he said. “Right now I am talking to St. John’s and Widener and I am attending the Villanova camp. I am hoping to get colleges to look at me and I am excited to be here. This is our first Fall tournament.”
Karagelian – a Third Team All-Ches-Mont League pick last year – said getting recruited in the fall is important because his high school team has struggled the past few seasons, although he is confident East will be much improved in 2013. He plans to make academics the first priority.
“West Chester East does not have that big a name for itself, but we have a lot of good young guys coming up,” he said. “I am trying to find the best fit for me.
“I want to play at a good school with a high level of lacrosse. But I also want an excellent education – academics come first.”
Junior long pole Matt Laudadio (La Salle) said his team wanted to keep up the momentum after a successful summer season.
“We are really excited after last year; we had a phenomenal team that placed in the Final Four at Champ Camp and we want to keep building on that,” he said.
“I’m just looking to get a lot of looks from a lot of different people. I am not looking anywhere specific. Our coach, Jack Devlin, said you don’t want to focus on D1 or D2 or D3 – you keep an open mind and who knows what can happen.”
Laudadio is hoping to earn a regular spot for the La Salle this year. The Explorers reached the state finals in 2012 before falling to three-time champion Conestoga and figures to be a very highly ranked team entering 2013.
“I am really excited about the season,” he said. “We want to come back and get that state championship. Nobody was happy about last year; nobody took their silver medals, they are still in coach’s office. He said he threw his into the lake.”