By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/24/09
Penn Charter’s Joey Sankey, considered one of the nation’s top rising junior attackmen, made a verbal commitment to play at North Carolina Thursday night, Phillylacrosse.com has learned.
Sankey said the commitment came sooner than he could have expected – especially since he missed the second half of the scholastic season with a broken collarbone.
“It happened a lot earlier than I had thought,” Sankey said. “I was hoping for maybe the middle of year in my junior season. I never thought it would (happen) in July going into my junior year.
“I’m really happy. I need to keep up my grades for school. That’s the main thing I’m thinking about now.”
Sankey, who plans to study business, has had more highs and lows this year than a rollercoaster.
He made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2008 at Penn Charter, notching 50 goals and 48 assists on a team that reached the Final Four of the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) tournament. Sankey, despite a pulled muscle in his back, was still enjoying a strong sophomore year (22 goals, 19 assists in the first nine games) when he broke his collarbone and had to miss the rest of the year.
Against doctor’s wishes, Sankey decided to play in the inaugural EPSLA Showcase June 11 at Haverford College. He was brilliant, scoring four goals – with UNC head coach Joe Breschi in attendance.
Breschi actually knew plenty about Sankey already. Sankey had been invited to Sophomore Day at North Carolina with nine other select players during the winter. He was first seen by North Carolina chief assistant Pat Myers while playing for the Philly entry in the Under Armour Underclassmen Games in 2008.
“The Showcase was the first time Coach Breschi ever saw me play,” said Sankey, who noted that his doctor told him he was “crazy” to play in the Showcase. “After that, I got an e-mail from my coach, telling me to call (Breschi).
“I called coach Breschi and he told me they were impressed. That started the whole process.”
On Thursday night, Sankey got the offer – and he took it immediately.
“I got real interested going into my sophomore year and I started thinking more seriously once I started talking to Coach Breschi,” said Sankey, who plays club lacrosse for his father, Harry Sankey on Rebel Elite, as well as for the Duke’s Lacrosse Club
“The early commitments are starting to get sooner and sooner every year. I never thought it would be this soon, but a lot of D1 colleges like to have their recruits done by almost before the junior season even starts.”
Sankey said he also liked Hofstra and Notre Dame. At North Carolina, Sankey will join five players from Malvern Prep, including Chris Layne (rising sophomore middie), Matt Conte (rising sophomore middie), Conor Steidle (incoming freshman attackman), Ryan Creighton (rising senior middie at MP) and Andrew O’Connell (rising senior goalie at MP).
Sankey has had more ups and downs this summer on the club scene. He had five goals as Rebel Elite blanked Maryland’s Next Level, 6-0, in the championsho game of the Brine Summer Sizzle July 19 at Bel Air, Md.
But the next day at the Brine Shootout at UMBC, he injured his right wrist and he will be going soon for an MRI to see if it’s broken. Either way, the injury has forced him to give up his spot on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) US National High School Team, which is playing Canada’s Ontario Edge Aug. 1-2 in Toronto.
If the injury is severe, Sankey will miss time playing football. He is a slotback-cornerback for Penn Charter’s grid team.