By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/4/10
It was a day for Philadelphia’s top boys’ lacrosse players to bask in the limelight.
Lower Merion’s Jordan Wolf (attackman), Conestoga’s Casey Ikeda (defenseman), Haverford School’s Liam O’Connor (face-off specialist/midfielder) and Malvern Prep’s Andrew O’Connell (goaltender) all enjoyed standout performances Saturday for the South All-Stars in their 17-12 loss to the North in the annual Under Armour All-American game at Towson University.
Click here for wrapup and stats on the game as posted Saturday evening
The contest, broadcast on ESPNU, featured 46 of the top seniors in the country. Wolf (bound for Duke) excelled on offense with a team-high three goals and one assist while O’Connor (Notre Dame) took every face-off and won 21 of 33 while scooping 16 groundballs and scoring once on transition.
Defensively, Ikeda (Maryland) was a strong all-around force with two groundballs, a caused turnover and several key clears. Meanwhile, O’Connell (North Carolina) stopped 10 of 18 shots.
“It was a really good experience,” Wolf said. “It was nice to be playing with kids from all over the country that were so talented.”
Wolf said the team had two practices and that it was easy to mesh with his new teammates.
“In the practices we started to get some chemistry,” he said. “Everyone is so good we clicked right away. There was no learning curve.
“It was a way different level than high school lacrosse. Everyone was the best player on their team.”
Wolf – who had 73 goals during the season – was able to flash his skills from the X. He made some of his patented dodges and scored once from 10 yards out, while adding another on a man-down situation.
“I am happy with the way I played, especially at that level,” he said. “It was a good feeling to be able to do things I like to do; I just wish we could have gotten the win.”
Ikeda also was amazed by the talent on the field.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was so much fun; the game was so much faster.”
Ikeda said it was easy to work with new teammates on the back line.
“We all came from our own defenses, but it was so much easier to pick up and soon we were all on the same page,” he said. “They all had the common knowledge of knowing when to slide.
“I was pretty happy with how I played. I got caught ball-watching a couple times, but other than that I played well.”
O’Connor was forced to take every draw when late last week it was learned one of his teammates could not participate. O’Connor also scored an early goal, taking the draw and going right down the field on his own.
“I thought I played pretty well,” he said. “I needed a little warm-up, but after the first couple face-offs I got into a rhythm. When I scored my goal, it boosted my confidence a little bit and I just kept on trying to get the next draw.”
Was he tired after playing so much?
“Yeah, I was beat,” he said. “I got a bunch of bruises and I kept getting slashed. I found out Thursday the other (face-off specialist) was not going to be on the team. One of the other guys was going to take some face-offs, but I got stuck with them all. It was fun; I had a good time.”
O’Connor was impressed with the talent on the field.
“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “Everyone had good stick skills and could shoot the ball hard. It wasn’t like the spotlight was on me.”