By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 1/20/10
The Haverford School will play Canada’s Hill Academy and Lawrenceville (N.J.) will meet Texas state champion Highland Park as part of a scholastic tournament doubleheader to kick off the 2nd Annual Konica Minolta Big City Classic on April 10 at the New Meadowlands, lacrosse officials have announced.
The Fords, co-champions of the powerful Philly Inter-Ac League in 2009, will face the Canadian power from Vaughan, Ontario, at 10:15 a.m. The Lawrenceville-Highland Park game will begin at 8:30 a.m. in what will be the first event ever played at the new stadium, located on the site of the old stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The winners of the two games will meet for the tourney championship the following day at Lawrenceville at 1 p.m. while the losers square off in a consolation game at 11 a.m., according to Lawrenceville athletic director John Simar. The first day of the tourney was moved to the New Meadowlands location to accommodate the Big City Classic.
Haverford School went 16-8 last year and finished 27th in the final LaxPower National Coaches/Computer ratings. The Fords have 10 players that have signed or committed to Division I colleges on their roster, seven of which are juniors.
The seniors that have signed include midfielder/face-off specialist Liam O’Connor (Notre Dame), attackman Chris Aitken (Penn State) and midfielder Billy Annesley (St. Joseph’s). The juniors that have committed include defenseman Alex Beatty and midfielder Brendan McGrath (Princeton), goalie Conor Kelly (Notre Dame), attackman Chris Hupfeldt (Penn), long stick midfielder Goran Murray (Maryland), midfielder Carl Walrath (Virginia) and midfielder Matt Walters (Syracuse).
Highland Park finished 20th in the LaxPower National Coaches/Computer Ratings, going 18-1. The Scots, who were 18th in the final Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse High School Power Rankings, claimed one of their wins over Lawrenceville, a 12-11 overtime victory. Highland Park was the Texas High School Lacrosse League Division I state champion for second straight season and finished the year ranked No. 1 in the STXLacrosse/WestSideLax.com Top 25 rankings.
The Scots feature senior defenseman Chris Hipps, who signed a Letter of Intent to play at Duke.
Lawrenceville was 13-6 last year, losing one of its games to Haverford, 8-7, in overtime. The Big Red will feature two Philly-area players that have committed to colleges, PG attackman Westy Hopkins (member of two-time defending state champion La Salle), who has committed to Notre Dame; and midfielder Christian Clay (Duke’s Lacrosse Club), who is committed to Division III power Haverford School.
Hill Academy, considered one of the premier prep programs in the Northeast, is coached by Brodie Merrill. A former standout in the Canadian Lacrosse Association who The former Georgetown great and longtime box lacrosse standout from the Canadian Lacrosse Association, Merrill plays in the National Lacrosse League for the Edmonton Rush and in Major League Lacrosse for the Toronto Nationals.
Last year Philly’s Springfield-Delco defeated Ridgewood (N.J.), 8-5, in the opening of the inaugural Big City Classic.
The Big City Classic, sponsored by Inside Lacrosse, features three major college contests:
College teams playing in the Big City Classic are:
GAME 1 – 1 PM – Hofstra vs. Delaware
GAME 2 – 4 PM – Virginia vs. North Carolina
GAME 3 – 6:30 PM – Princeton vs. Syracuse
The HEADstrong Foundation has been chosen as the Big City Classic Charity of choice. The participating teams have been invited to wear HEADstrong’s lime green shoelaces and lime green chinstraps provided by Cascade in support of the Foundation. Also, the referees will wear lime-green and black uniforms.