By Bradley Schlegel
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/14/16
Nick McEvoy relied on his athleticism Saturday to clinch the inaugural I95 Cup title for Team DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia).
McEvoy scooped up a 50/50 ball near the sideline to clinch a victory over Team Philly in the finals of the tournament, co-sponsored by The Faceoff Academy and the Philly Faceoff League, at the Maplezone Sports Institute.
“I see myself as an athlete,” said McEvoy, a 2016 combo middie/FOGO from Gonzaga (D.C.) who is signed with Penn State. “So my goal is to separate the ball from my opponent and get to the ground ball as quickly as possible.”
The DMV team – which fell to top-seeded Philly, 32-24 in round robin play – won three of the final four face offs to post a 27-24 victory in the title match.
Justin Shockey – a 2017 faceoff specialist from Landon School (MD) – went 5-1 during the tournament despite recovering from a broken left leg.
“We play the best lacrosse in the nation,” said Shockey, who has committed to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Nick Rowlett, a 2018 midfielder from Robinson (VA), defeated Christian Feliziani – a 2016 from Episcopal Academy who was recently named to the U.S. Men’s National Under-19 Team – in the finals.
“Nick was our MVP today,” said Brendan Fowler (Duke grad, Charlotte Hornets), who served as the DMV coach in place of Chris Mattes, an assistant coach at the University of Maryland. “He did a great job.”
Team Philly had entered the finals with a 4-0 mark (103 wins) after whipping New Jersey, 35-19, in the semis.
The I95 Cup featured the top teams (10 players each) from the four Mid-Atlantic regions. Tourney creator and co-director John Bodnar (Team Philly) of Philly Faceoff, said he hopes to expand the tournament next year and has received interest from coaches in the South, Midwest, West and Canada.
The DMV team, which earned the second seed by collecting 84 wins during the morning’s preliminary round, defeated Team NY in the semifinal round.
“Our guys were solid all day,” said Fowler, a high school lacrosse coach in California. “It took me a little while to get a feel for our guys and the opposition. In the finals, I paid more attention to the matchups.”
The tournament’s high level of competition forced McEvoy to utilize more finesse moves than usual during his 6-0 run. He said the opposition featured stronger faceoff opponents than he’s used to facing.
Shockey relied heavily on his technique to win most of his face offs.
“I couldn’t move very far or very fast,” he said.