By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/29/14
After falling by seven goals to undefeated Team 91 in pool play, host Fusion Lacrosse was a decided underdog today when it met the Long Island power in the finals of the USBoxLa Northeast Regionals at BucksMont Sports Center.
This time, Fusion remained close, thanks to a brilliant six-goal effort by Drew Schantz (Malvern Prep, 2016 MF, Notre Dame commit). But a late rally failed as Fusion suffered an 8-7 loss. As the runner-up Fusion will advance to the National Championships on Aug. 1-2 in Colorado.
Team 91, which swept all four division championships, saw Fusion battle back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2, and 5-3 to forge ties. Team 91 went ahead 7-5 and then 8-6 before Schantz scored to make it 8-7 with 32 seconds left.
Fusion pulled its goalie and gained possession, but Charles Kelly (Malvern Prep, 2015 UNC commit), who dominated at the face-off X, saw his point-blank shot stopped by Jack Zullo (Chaminade, 2016 Notre Dame commit).
“We played them in the first game today and they came out and beat us, but we were hyped to play them again,” Schantz said. “So we cam out firing and we put the ball in the back of the net.”
Schantz said he had not played box lacrosse for several years.
“In eighth grade I was up in Canada for a week with Six Nations, but otherwise this was my first box experience,” he said. “I played D-middie for Malvern so this was a great experience and a great way to get my stick skills back in session for the winter.”
Ryan Antell also scored for Fusion, which went 3-1 in Pool Play.
Mike Madsen (Locust Valley, 2016 ATT committed to St. John’s) scored the first three goals for Team 91, which used all 2016s. Mac O’Keefe (Syosset, attackman, Penn State commit) scored twice while Chris Pickel (Bayport-Blue Point), Keller Jacobs (St. Anthony’s) and Thomas Martello (Chaminade) each scored once. Noah Cohen (Hewlett) also excelled in the goal.
“I think we stuck to the fundamentals, doing what we’ve been practicing since Day 1; staying together and avoiding penalties,” said O’Keefe. “In box, you have to get used to the transition of up and down and the stick skills help your outdoor game.”