By Bradley Schlegel
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/15/16
The inaugural I95 Cup, perhaps the first team faceoff competition held, launched Saturday with positive feedback.
The event, held at MaplezoneSports Institute in suburban Philly, featured four 10-man teams from four Mid-Atlantic hotbeds, Philly, D.C./Maryland/Virginia (Team DMV), New York City/LI and New Jersey.
The intent of the team competition was to discover which region has the best team of face-off specialist, according to creator John Bodner.
He said another benefit was to expose Philadelphia area faceoff specialists to top competition from other lacrosse hotbeds.
Team DMV won the title, edging Philly, 27-24, after Philly had dominated the preliminary round matches.
Bodner, who runs Philly Faceoff and co-sponsored the tourney with Faceoff Academy and Maplezone, and served as the coach for Team Philly, described the event as a success.
Consistent winning in the faceoff circle requires a combination of skill, technique, determination and a mental aspect, he said.
“There are times when you lose the ball in the clamp, but the draw is not over,” he said. “Face offs can also be a total mind game.”
Nick Mcevoy and Justin Shockey, two of Team DMV’s top performers, lauded the tournament’s high level of competition.
Bodner said he received lots of positive feedback from the coaches and participants. He called the tournament a fun way for the players to prepare for the upcoming spring season.
“All these kids are reading about each other on social media,” Bodner said. “As faceoff guys they want to face the best.”
Initially, he planned to hold the event last summer. However, that didn’t work out.
Bodner called the Philly Team roster – which included U19 member Christian Feliziani (Episcopal Academy, Ohio State signee) – a solid representation of the region.
“The hardest part of running the team was trying to pick the top 10 face off guys,” Bodner said. “There were 10 more guys who I could have picked.”
Bodner wants to expand the tournament next year. He said coaches in St. Louis, Florida, Canada and California have expressed an interest in participating.