By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/24/14
Much was written and said about how Team Stars and Stripes had to adjust when playing against Team Maple Leafs in Sunday’s inaugural High School Challenge Cup at Union College.
But the Canadian players also had to make major adjustments playing against elite American players in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 games. Team Stars and Stripes won two of the three contests, taking the 2016 (18-12) and 2015 (19-16) games after bowing, 16-15, in overtime in the 2017 game.
“You always had to keep in mind that they can shoot with both hands when you play field with American kids,” said Team Maple Leafs 2017 standout Cam Garlin, who won the game in OT and scored six goals while winning over all watchers. “They shoot with both hands almost identically well. You have to play smarter defense.”
Garlin, who plays for the Whitney Warriors and is a member of Evolve Elite, said his teammates rely more on box skills.
“Jack Keogh, who is committed to Hopkins, played down in the states with Evolve and I have never seen a kid dodge that well,” Garlin said. “They (American players) can turn the corner and shoot any time and it’s hard for our defense to adjust to that.
“We play the 2-man game and live off that. We had to keep their attack down to a minimum.”
The Stars and Stripes used three goals by Sean Barry (Smithtown East, NY) to send the 2017 game into overtime. But Garlin took a feed from Quinn Commandent to win it.
“I have played in Ontario field championships, but this was probably the most exciting game I ever played in,” Garlin said. “Union College has a great stadium and it was really good to play the best the Americans had to offer.”
Garlin described the winning goal: “Quinn, my attack partner, was having a great game, maybe the best I have ever seen him have. I used a pick and make a fake and got a step on my man and Quinn threw the ball in the middle and all I had to do was put it home. It was a great pass.”
Team Stars and Stripes also enjoyed the unique matchup of contrasting styles.
Bucknell commit Jake Saenz, a 2016 midfielder from The Hill School (PA) and Duke’s Lacrosse Club, had a goal and two assists to help Stars and Stipes lead from start to finish in its game. He gave these comments.
Why was your team so successful?
Saenz: “Without question, the one thing that helped out team be successful was the coaching. We came from all over the country and we all had different skill sets. Coach (Rick) Beardsley did a great job of bringing all of us together to be successful not as individuals, but as a team. Due to his coaching, I feel we meshed really well.”
How was the style of Team Maple Leafs different and how did you and your team adjust to their skills?
Saenz: “The main difference was the fact that the Canadians were just so talented with only using one hand. All of their dodges and stick skills were executed with one hand. To adjust to this, Coach Beardsley instructed our defenseman to stay low and play their hips. Another difference with the Canadians game was the fact that they play rougher than we do here in the states. That, in turn, forced us to rise to the occasion and to play rough as well.”
What did you enjoy most about the experience and what did you learn from it?
Saenz: “It was awesome to represent my country in the Stars and Stripes game. I learned how different the game is played up north; and how talented the Canadians are with their stick skills. I also learned a few techniques from the Canadians that I can implement into my own game.”
Do you feel the exposure from the event will help you and also prepare you for the Fall recruiting season?
Saenz: “The exposure was great. Being already committed to play for Coach (Frank) Fedorjaka at Bucknell, I feel this event prepared me well for my upcoming fall tournaments. This served as a great warmup to play a lot of lacrosse this fall.”
Tags: The Hill School