By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/8/09
Plymouth Whitemarsh junior face-off specialist/midfielder Shawn Kaplan recently has committed to play at Ohio State, adding to a growing list of Philly underclassmen to make verbal commitments to Division I schools.
Kaplan, a second-team All-Suburban one American Conference pick last year, said
the Buckeyes’ academic help system, the Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO), was the major factor in his decision.
“The biggest thing, especially for my dad, was SASSO,” said Kaplan. “It’s all about student-athlete support. Their coaches are constantly getting updates on how we are doing, and it’s very structured.
“You have to be there a certain amount of hours and we have free tutors to take care of athletes getting (academic) help. They make it hard not to do well.”
Kaplan also liked the coaching staff and new head coach Nick Myers.
“After getting to know the coaches and all the people there, I see the atmosphere is unbeleievable,” Kaplan said. “This is definitely a team on the rise.”
Kaplan last year helped the Colonials finish third in the American Conference with a 13-4 overall record. He won 76 percent of his face-offs and this winter starred for Rebel Elite Lacrosse Club, which placed fifth in the Dick’s Tournament of Champions in Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Kaplan said the key for winning face-offs for him is his mental approach and ability to work with his wings.
“It’s about technique and hand speed, but at the higher levels everybody has this,” he said. “I pride myself on never giving up. Even if I lose the actually draw, in my head I go crazy to get the groundball.
“For Rebel Elite, I really worked hard with my wings, Ben Sampson of Emmaus and Ed Coombs of Hatboro-Horsham. I knew if I couldn’t win it right away, if I could get it near them they’d scoop it up. We worked hard to make face-offs a 3-on-3 game instead of 1-on-1.”
Kaplan plans to pursue business at Ohio State, but for now, he is focusing on helping PW move up in the American Conference.
“We are really excited about the season because there has been a lot more (training) going on in the offseason,” he said. “We are also bringing back a lot of seniors and experienced players.”
Kaplan’s commitment is just one of many by a talented Philly junior class. Others include:
Stephen Aitken, Haverford School, attack, Penn State
Ryan Creighton, Malvern Prep, midfield, North Carolina
Tim Golder, Avon Grove, attack/midfield, Penn State
Bobby Hill, Malvern Prep, midfielder, Virginia
Tyler Johnston, Ridley, attack/midfield, Georgetown
Joey Jones, Abington, attack, Hofstra
Henry Lobb, Malvern Prep, long stick midfield, Duke
Brendan Nave, Springfield-Delco, defense, Penn State
Andrew O’Connell, Malvern Prep, goalie, North Carolina
Liam O’Connor, Haverford School, midfield/face-offs, Notre Dame
Stephen O’Hara, St. Joseph’s Prep, defense, Notre Dame
Rich Rambo, Abington, midfield, Hofstra
Austin Rogusky, Conestoga, midfield, Loyola
What’s more, a number of more commitments are expected in the coming weeks from Lower Merion attacker Jordan Wolf, Garnet Valley attacker Eric Warden and several others. Emmaus coach Jef Hewlings also reported that he has at least four juniors receiving significant Division I interest.
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