By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/28/16
Ryan Brown (Central Bucks East), Jack Traynor (Malvern Prep) and Quinn McCahon (Malvern Prep) each scored two goals as Penn*Lax defeated Team 412 (Pittsburgh), 9-3, today to claim the US Box Lacrosse Association Northeast Regional Open Division title at XL SportsWorld BucksMont ISC in Hatfield.
The top three teams in each division earn invitations to the USBOXLA Nationals in California next year. Teams will challenge Midwest, West, and Southern championship caliber teams at Nationals which will also include games against Canadian champions.
Penn*Lax, comprised of elite players from Philly, Northern Delaware and South Jersey, went undefeated in the tourney and dominated the title game from the start. Dominick DeStefano (Malvern Prep), Kieran Ward (Malvern Prep) and Jake Smith (Avon Grove) also scored while Connor Reese (Owen J. Roberts) and Axell Beskar (Souderton) handled the goaltending chores.
“I think it (the title) was from the chemistry we had,” said Brown, a 2017 Salisbury commit. “We’ve been practicing for a month now and we started to really bond together.
“We were able to see the guys open. I think the camaraderie and chemistry is excellent. We all knew of each other from the start, but now we all know each other and know how we play.”
“This definitely was our best game,” added Traynor, a 2018 Penn State commit. “We got better and better every game; our coaches are awesome. Most of of us are new to it (box), so they are helping us get better and better.”
Why did Traynor come out for the team? “A lot of my buddies doing it so why not?” he said, “It was an opportunity to play indoor and get better.”
Brown said the Penn*Lax team has a different feel than the travel club experience.
“It’s a whole different atmosphere,” he said. “In club everyone wants to get into college and get committed. Here we’re all pretty much committed and there is no selfish play; we’re all looking to play together and get it done.”
“I know it’s a cliche, but they did get better every game,” said Penn*Lax head coach Adam Mueller of his squad. “We don’t have any defensive players; they are all attackmen or offensive middies for school.
“I was most proud of the fact that each game we got better defensively in front of the goalies. That’s been a concern of mine. I want them to get the offensive experience of box lacrosse, but it’s nice to know they’re willing to put in the hard work on the defensive end.”
Connor Brumfield (Mt. Lebanon), Ben Mulholland (Sewickley Academy) and Weston Powell (North Allegheny) scored for 412.
“It’s our third year of box travel lacrosse and we have a better idea of what we’re getting ourselves into,” said 412 head coach Peter Tumbas. “This high school group has been together for two years and it was a good experience.”
Eagle (Tri-State) defeated Superstar, 12-6, in the third-place game as Sean Gibson (Bergen Catholic, 2018) had two goals and was a standout on face-offs.