By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/14/14
TL Loggerheads (S.C.) midfielder Jack Davies enjoyed the challenge of competing in the Philly Summer Invitational 2017 Fab 40 All-Star Game Saturday night at United Sports in Downingtown.
“You’ve got to take it to the top notch and go 115 percent,” said Davies, of state runner-up Wando High. “You have to really work on your fundamentals of protecting your sticks. You have to say, ‘I am going to leave nothing out there and play my game.’”
Davies was one of many that shined Saturday in three Fab 40 contests, for the 2015s, the 2016s and a combined 2017-18 game. The NXTsports tournament – also featuring the NXTCup for youth teams – drew 260 squads and more than 100 college coaches as teams played in round robin action Saturday in hopes of qualifying for Sunday’s playoffs.
“The competition was top-notch,” Davies said. “Coming from South Carolina, our team did real well. We went 1-2, but we played a great tournament. Then for me, coming to the All-Star Game, I got to play with the best kids from the tournament.”
Seattle Starz midfielder Cole Daninger (O’Dea High) was one of eight 2018s that played in the 2017-18 All-Star Game.
“There was lots of competition,” he said. “Being from Washington, the (competition) is not nearly as skilled completion. It was great playing older kids; it helps me to talk better and work on communication and my stick work, Our team went 2-1 and really improved as the day went on. It was a great experience.”
NXT Lacrosse Club (PA) 2017 defenseman Sam Schluter (Tatnall School, DE) enjoyed playing against players from around the nation and Canada.
“It’s a lot of fun, coming from a hotbed like Philly to get to play from the East Coast and all around the country,” he said. “You learn a lot from every shift. You have to give it 110 percent.
“Our team went 3-0 today. Our success comes from working with the same guys every day. We started in the fall and then went indoors and now we have chemistry with each other.”
For 2015 face-off specialist Zach Stephenson (McCallie School, TN) of LB3 Atlanta went 9 for 9 at the X in the All-Star Game and was a key factor in his team’s eventual berth in the championship game. He was looking to get seen
“I really enjoyed it (the All-Star Game),” he said. “And in the tournament no matter the team, everybody has a good face-off guy. I am looking to get more looks.”
Stephenson describes himself as a tireless worker.
“I hustle, I don’t stop,” he said. “My biggest strength is that I give it my all all the time.”
Ben Kishore, a 2016 goalie from MadLax and Paul VI (VA) more than held his own in the All-Star Game.
“I feel I did alright, It was really fun playing with the best of the best out here,” he said. “All these kids have a lot to show and many are going to great colleges.
“I like that a lot of college coaches were on the sidelines, but it was a little nerve wracking but fun.”
Kishore’s team struggled for wins, but did not quit.
“Our team went 0-3, but I think we built character and we definitely came together as a team,” he said.
One of the day’s offensive stars was CT Chargers 2016 midfielder Liam O’Connell (Choate Rosemary, CT), who had four goals for the Black All-Stars.
“It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of good players out here,” he said.
O’Connell said he is hoping to find the right school this summer. “Right now I am talking to a few coaches and hope to get going this summer,” he said. “I really like using my left and I have a good (hard) shot.”
The Chargers went on to win the championship.
“We have a lot of contributors from everywhere and we take good shots,” he said. ‘Overall we have a really deep team.”