By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecrits.com, Posted 2/10/13
Would you travel 14 hours on a bus through up to 3 feet of snow in a raging blizzard just to play a box lacrosse tournament?
Sure you would, if you are a member of the lacrosse team at Canada’s Everest Academy, located in Thornhill Ontario, just north of Toronto.
Everest’s biggest obstacle this weekend was having its bus avoid the obstacle course on the PA turnpike coming down to the Sportsplex Saturday morning in a snowstorm that paralyzed the East Coast. The squad made it without a scratch and proceeded to win the High School Class AA title at the annual Philadelphia Indoor Lacrosse Championships run by NXTsports.
Everest dominated the Long Island Jesters 14-5, in the title game, after tying with the Jesters, 10-10, in pool play. Everest had dispatched of Philly freshman club power Mesa Fresh 2016, 12-4, in the semifinals.
Juniors Sam Bonafede (Chaminade, committed to Princeton) and James Byrns (Massapequa) each had two goals and sophomore Joe Moirano (Massapequa) scored once for the Jesters. Sophomore goalie Matt Valdini (Massapequa) was a standout all day for the Jesters, who advanced to the finals with a 12-9 triumph over St. Augustine Prep.
How was the drive down for Everest? Not easy!
“The drive down was long – 14 hours – and we were weaving in and out of cars, seeing cars on side pulled over or in a ditch,” said Everest junior attackman Colton DeWolfe, who scored four goals in the championship win. “It was scary, risking your life to play lacrosse.
“But that’s what it’s all about.”
Junior Tyler Roche added three goals for Everest while senior Dereck Downs, junior Tyson Bell and sophomore Kyle Killen each had two.
Everest players have grown up playing box lacrosse, so the rules (30-second shot clock, 6-on-6, small goals with large-padded goalies) are nothing new to them. At first, the Everest players were not used to the more finesse style of American players.
“As you know we all play box lacrosse and there is a lot of hitting,” said Bell. “Coming into this, the Americans aren’t used to that; they play more for possessions and they slow it down.
“It’s like two worlds (colliding).”
In its first game the Screaming Eagles settled for a 10-10 tie with the Jesters as they adjusted to the officiating.
“In the first game we kind of shut down a little bit,” said Bell. “We weren’t used to the rules and we were getting penalties and being selfish. We figured it out as the day went along.”
Bell said the bus ride in was typical of conditions in Canada.
“The snowstorm was pretty bad,” he said. “It was coming down pretty hard and the flakes were pretty thick, but we like it (snow) up there in Canada.”
De Wolfe said the Americans also seemed to adjust to the Canadian box style as the day progressed.
“Honestly it all comes down to being an athlete and everyone here is an athlete and everyone can play lacrosse,” he said. “It’s just getting used to the new rules of box for (the Americans).
“There are a lot of pick and rolls and getting your body in there. You have to get out quick and get a pass on your stick.”
Two members of the Everest team – seniors Matt Lee and Kyle Pedwell – have signed with Division I Detroit Mercy. Several others are being recruited heavily in the junior class. Many competed in the NXTsports Can-Am Showcase last Fall at Detroit Country Day School (DCDS) in Beverly Hills, Mich.
The Jesters also had to get to Feasterville Saturday morning through a large storm that hit Long Island.
“We drove up this morning and the roads weren’t too bad,” said Bonafede. “We only had one or two subs, but we got through it.
“They (Everest) have great stick skills and it’s definitely different (from field lacrosse); you can’t be as athletic in box. But we played them tough and we’re proud of how we played.
“Our goalie Matt Valdini was awesome!”
NOTES – Penncrest (PA) won the HS Class A title with a 7-6 win over Leading Edge Elite (N.J.) as junior Will Manganiello scored on a penalty shot with no time left in regulation and finished with five goals. Manganiello also won the fastest Shot contest with a 100-MPH blazer.