By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrose.com, Posted 12/29/16
Penn*Lax co-coach Luke Wiles said his goal for the Philly-based box lacrosse program is simple: To catch up to Long Island powerhouse Team 91.
“That’s the bar in box lacrosse on this country.” said Wiles after the Penn*Lax JV (2019/2020 age class) fell to Team 91 Crush, 7-2, in Wednesday’s Northeast Regional final at Hatfield’s XLSportsWorld BucksMont ISC. “We’ve been working with the kids coming on three years and attempting to get them to that bar.”
The top three teams in each division earn invitations to the USBOXLA Nationals in California next year. Teams will challenge Midwest, West, and Southern championship caliber teams at Nationals which will also include games against Canadian champions. 412 Elite of Pittsburgh defeated Eagle (Tri-State-NJ), 8-5, for third place.
The event was hosted by Fusion Lacrosse.
Andrew McAdorey, a standout 2021 FO-middie who attends Our Lady of the Hamptons and is headed to St. Anthony’s, led Team 91 with four goals. Aidan Danenza (St. Anthony’s), Jack Schirtzer (Shoreham-Wading River) and Rino Rotondo (Half Hollow Hills East) also scored and Alex Pazienza (St. Anthony’s) stood out in goal.
“We moved the ball a lot better than we did originally,” said McAdorey who has played six years of box lacrosse. “We had some sticky sticks in the beginning, but towards we got into a flow and played with a lot of emotion.”
Danenza said his team, many of which have played together for years, meshed well. “We really worked together off ball and got some goals off transition. They had a lot of deep shots and we got some fast breaks.”
For Penn*Lax, Stephen Blue (Souderton) and Jack Jogerst (Council Rock North) each scored and Wiles credited Michael Voehringer (Malvern Prep, face-offs), Mason Garrabrant (Salesianum School) with strong play.
In the meantime, Wiles looks to help Penn*Lax reach the top. The Penn*Lax Open High school team won its title, although Team 91 did not compete this year.
“We were hoping we were at that spot (championship level),” said Wiles, a longtime NLL player who starred at Delaware and who coaches with Fusion. “It seems we are still a notch below that. Last year we were five notches below, so we are getting closer as a program, but it takes a lot more work.
“Those guys (Team 91) have been doing it for a long time. They are very very talented and I am honored they come to this tournament and show us the right way because it’s beautiful to watch. They are very special and they have been groomed and leaned on.
“They take their craft very seriously and they use their energy the right way. If something goes against them, they use that energy by scoring goals or getting loose balls … things that win games. We are getting closer, but we are still a little bit away.”