By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/20/14
A group of 240 of the top 2016 and 2017 girls’ lacrosse players from the East Coast competed Saturday and Sunday in the Nike Elite 120 at The Indoor Sports Pavilion in Randolph, N.J.
The invite-only event drew 94 Division I coaches as 120 players in each class participated in SPARQ Testing in four events and then a two-day championship tournament.
Brandywine Majors 2016 teammates Emily Mathewson (Garnet Valley), Kara Nakrasius (Garnet Valley), Maddie Gebert (Owen J. Roberts) and Sydney Gagnon (will begin at Episcopal Academy Wednesday after transfer from Downingtown East) competed, along with a number of Philly players from the Phantastix, Dynamite, X-treme, STEPS-Philly and South Jersey Select.
The girls were placed on evenly balanced teams to square off in tournament play over two days. Gagnon’s Eagles (6-0), coached by Radnor coach Brooke Fritz, defeated Gebert’s Hawks (4-2) for the championship after taking a 7-2 lead and holding on for the victory. Morgan Hendry and Samantha Scarpello of South Jersey Select also played with Gagnon
“I felt like I played pretty well,” Gagnon said. “The defense helped me out a lot and I was able to play my game. I was comfortable, if that makes any sense.”
Gagnon said her team jelled quickly.
“Our girls were hustling and many of them were getting the fastest times so we had speed,” she said. “They got a lot of groundballs and we had the possessions.
“We were passing a lot. No one was selfish and we made good decisions. The defense was tight and forced a lot of turnovers. We played together.”
Mathewson’s team placed third.
“It was very competitive, but I think I did pretty well,” said Mathewson, an attack. “I was a little nervous seeing all those coaches, but our team played like the ‘comeback kids’ and made it to the semifinals where we lost by one goal.”
Mathewson enjoyed competing in the SPARQ testing for the second time in less than a year. She first was tested last summer at the Nike Ride.
This time she excelled, testing as the top 2016 player in the vertical leap with a leap of 27.8 inches. Players also were tested in the 20-yard dash, the 5-10-10-5 Agility and the Kneeling Powerball (testing core strength).
“It was awesome doing the SPARQ again,” Mathewson said. “It was the same four stations I did at Nike. I think my basketball skills came into play for me.”
Mathewson said she is close to committing to a Division I college.
“I am finalizing the list and I will be making a decision very soon,” she said. “It was awesome to get one last look. And it was a really nice tune-up to get ready for the school season.”
2016 SPARQ winners
20-yard dash (IN SECONDS) Katie Muldoon (Long Island Top Guns) 2.96
5-10-10-5 Agility (IN SECONDS) Katie Muldoon (Long Island Top Guns) 6.5
Powerball (IN FEET) Maddie McDaniel (MD United) 40.1
Vertical Leap (IN INCHES) Emily Mathewson (Brandywine Majors) 27.8
2017 SPARQ winners
20-yd Dash (IN SECONDS) Brittany Faye Bruno, (t3) 2.58
5-10-10-5 Agility (IN SECONDS) Hannah Cermack (STEPS) 6.75
Powerball (IN FEET) Molly Baechler (South Jersey Select) 45.6
Vertical Leap (IN INCHES) Amelia Cole (Capital Blue 2017) 25.1