By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/15/15
It didn’t matter that temperatures were in the 30s, the wind was fierce, the air was raw.
The first day of action today in the Mid-Atlantic Lacrosse League kicked off with hundreds of onlookers watching as top club youth teams from Pennsylvania and New Jersey competed at the Conshohocken Proving Grounds and Radnor Memorial Field.
The Mid-Atlantic League features division for teams in 5th through 8th grades (2019-2022) and runs until May. It was created by NXT Leagues to provide clubs with top competition in the spring in hopes of helping players prepare better for the summer club season while building skills through more game experience. In all, 14 clubs are participating.
“All the kids want to play at a high level and do it every week against tough competition,” said PA Roughriders 2019 coach Doug Corrigan, whose team rallied to defeat NXT, 8-7, in overtime. “When we get to the summer and we’re playing teams from Long Island and Baltimore, it’s going to be a big plus.”
In the Roughriders victory, Matt Civitella of Valley Forge Middle School tied the game, 7-7, with 11 seconds left in regulation and then won it early in overtime on a man-up dodge. Civitella said he and his teammates joined the leagues to get more experience against top competition.
“Individually, I’d like to get better with my left,” he said. “I feel confident with my right, but hopefully this will move me up a notch. For the team I just want to win games. I want to have fun, but winning is fun.”
How did he become the hero after his team had fought back from a 7-2 deficit entering the final quarter?
“On the tying goal I really didn’t know how much time was left so I just took my guy,” he said. “As soon as we went into OT, we said, ‘We got here, we worked this hard, we gotta win!’ On the winning goal it was an iso to me. I don’t know how it went in, I was really happy.”
NXT 2019 co-coach Gerry Smith said the league is a win-win for all involved.
“It’s tremendous to be able to have a competitive league right here and have such tremendous facilities,” he said. “I am pleased to be a part of it and proud of being a part of NXT.
“I think win or lose, it doesn’t matter. With a league like this, as long as you get better every week, you’ll be proud. With the nature of lacrosse now, everything happens in the summer, so being able to get the guys prepared for that is huge.”
Club programs competing include NXT, PA Roughriders, Radnor LC, Fusion, Mesa Fresh/Fever, Phillie Elite, Uprising, Stars and Stripes, Black Storm, Freedom, Rising Sons and Bucks Select from PA as well as Building Blocks and Leading Edge from New Jersey.
Follow @NXTLeagues for the updated scores.