By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/30/15
Team 91 (N.Y.) scored the first three goals of the second half to break open a 2-2 game and claimed an 8-3 win over Penn*Lax Tuesday night in the title game of the USBOXLA Northeast Regional High School Open title game at BucksMont.
Penn*Lax, an elite box team formed of Philly players this year, was making its tourney debut and will advance with Team 91 and Blue Star (N.J.) to the Nationmals in August in San Jose, CA.
Team 91, the defending champion, had seized a 2-0 lead before tallies by Chris Hladczuk (La Salle, 2017 Yale commit) and Joel Trucksess (Haverford School, 2017 Lehigh commit) tied it. Both goals were assisted by Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin, 2016 Princeton commit and U19 training team member).
But Team 91 got a quick goal from Mike Madsen (Locust Valley, 2016 St. John’s commit), one by Will Cabrera (Scarsdale, 2017 Yale commit) and Keller Jacobs (St. Anthony’s, 2016 Scranton commit).
The USBOXLA event was hosted by Fusion Lacrosse and featured teams from North Carolina to Connecticut and youth to High School Open divisions. The top three finishers in each division advance to Nationals.
“We’ve got freshmen through seniors and this is our first live event and it just takes some live action,” said Penn*Lax co-coach Adam Mueller, who shared duties running the team with Fusion coaches. “We had some some really nice indoor lacrosse plays, we just didn’t repeat them enough.
“Now, we’re going against a really really talented and well-coached team from 91 and they know their way around a little more.”
Penn*Lax finished 3-1 in pool play to earn the berth in the finals.
“Maybe in a couple tournament we’ll be a little better and give them a better battle,” Mueller said of Team 91. “But we’re proud of the kids that came out and worked hard.
“They’ll definitely be better players by going through the practices and playing in these games.”, Team 91 coaches gave their players a thorough lecture.”
Cabrera said his team’s coaches gave a stern lecture at halftime.
“Our coach (Brian O’Keefe) had a nice little talk; he said we had to get our energy up and our minds in the right place,” said Cabrera. “We had to get our passes on. It helped us get the energy to start playing harder D and to pick up the passes and move it up field more.”
Cabrera and Madsen each scored two goals and Taylor Strough (Cold Spring Harbor, 2017 Fairfield commit), Joe Madsen (Locust Valley, 2016 St., John’s signee), Mac O’Keefe (Syosset, 2016 Penn State signee) each had one. Noah Cohen (Hewlett, 2016) and John Hulsman (2017 Florida Tech commit from Werstminster, MD) were strong in goal.
“We were playing our game, but coach wanted us to move the ball quicker,” said Cabrera. “We were holding it a little too much. We wanted to move it enough to keep the goalie guessing.”
“The coaches said we need to make our changes better; they were beating us up the floor,” said Mike Madsen. “We started meshing and flowing.
“Throughout this tournament we developed a chemistry that’s been unreal. We got a couple new guys and they’re great additions.”
Final Pool Play Standings
HS OPEN Green
Team W L GD GS GA
Team 91 4 0 25 35 10
Penn*Lax 3 1 19 29 10
Leading Edge 2 2 4 19 15
Blue Star 2 2 -3 10 13
Fusion 2 2 -4 20 24
Duke’s Invitational 2 2 -9 18 27
Eagle 1 3 -5 20 25
Super Star 0 4 -27 10 37