By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/9/13
Despite moving 12 players up to teams competing in the 2014 Division, the Duke’s Lacrosse club 2016 squad claimed the championship in the inaugural Best of the Best team Showcase Sunday at Mitchell Fields in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Dukes pushed the players up to compete in the rising senior class because so many players were competing in the Under Armour Underclassmen or Uncommitted games at Towson University.
“This was kind of the first time some of these guys were taking a lead role so for us to win with this mix of players against top competition was a great accomplishment for them,” said Dukes coach Ebe Helm, who did the coaching himself. “It was great to see the dynamics work and it was fun to coach them and win a championship.”
The Dukes won the championship with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Team Minnesota on a late goal by Adam Goldner (Malvern Prep). That came after a gritty 5-4 win over the powerful Long Island Express on a late goal by Kevin Stump (St. Joseph’s Prep). The Express had just dealt the Dukes a 5-4 loss in a non-pool game for the Dukes’ only loss of the tourney.
The event featured at least 20 elite club teams in each of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 divisions.
Also at Best of the Best, Dukes 1 fell to Team Turnpike (N.J.) in the 2014 finals and Dukes 2 fared well and nearly made the 2014 playoffs. Many rising sophomores dotted the rosters of the top teams.
The Dukes named face-off specialist Conor Gaffney (Lenape, NJ) as its MVP while Goldner was named Offensive MVP and defenseman Saunders Heely (Downingtown East) and two-way middie Chis Rivera (Manheim Township0 were the Defensive MVPs.
The team featured: Beau Yerger (Salesianum), Zak Methlie (Springfield-Delco), Adam Goldner (Malvern Prep), Bryce Reid (Avon Grove), Nick Vernacchio (Upper Dublin), John Cook (La Salle), Aaron Kager (Manheim Township), Alex Haas (Haverford School), Kevin Stump (St. Joseph’s Prep), Cody Sweeney (La Salle), Kyle Scheuerle (St. Joseph’s Prep), Eric DiGirolamo (Parkland), Ian Walsh (Shipley), Zack Lipkin (Lawrenceville School), Jake Saenz (Hill School), Conor Gaffney (Lenape, NJ), Dylan Speitel (Manheim Township), Saunders Healy (Downingtown East), Andrew Fine (Haverford School), Carter Gensler (Spring-Ford), Tate Hutchinson (Manheim Township), Joe Robertson (Salem, Va), Peter Gayhardt (Episcopal Academy), Chris Rivera (Manheim Township), Jaosn Yoquinto (Bishop Shanahan), Drew Gallant (Penn Charter) and coach Ebe Helm.