By Jaclynkelli Kronemberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/25/17
SYOSSET, N.Y. – For the second time in two years Team Philly left the I-95 Cup faceoff championships with consolation prizes.
Team Philly – comprised of the region’s top FO players from Philly Facoff League – went undefeated in round robin play again, but fell in the finals to host New York, 24-17, today in the 2nd annual I-95 Cup at the Long Island Sports Hub.
The event, run by the Faceoff Academy, featured the top face-off men from seven elite regions. New York was the second seed in the playoffs after Philly went 6-0 in the round robin preliminaries.
Also represented were Boston, DMV (D.C/Maryland/Virginia), Team South, New Jersey and Ohio. Each team had six round robin matches with each of their seven face-off players competing in best-of-7 matches.
After the round robin round, Philly had 152 wins followed by New York with 146 wins, Boston with 126 wins and DMV with 121 wins. These teams advanced to the semifinals, where Philly faced off against DMV and New York faced off with Boston.
Philly cruised to a 26-10 victory over DMV to get to the Championship. In the other semifinal, New York and Boston finished in a tie leading to a best of three faceoff between the two top faceoff guys from each team. New York advanced as Jordan Ginder (Deerfield Academy-MA, 2018, Duke commit) downed Boston’s Nolan Enneguess (Falmouth-MA, 2017, Stony Brook commit) in three matches.
New York took the momentum from the overtime win into the Championship game. They defeated Philly 24-17 to claim the I-95 Cup.
“This was more of a team effort and a team sport – compared to more facing off, which is more individual,” said Ginder. “They (Faceoff Academy) really work on bringing teams together and bringing kids that usually go against each other together to form the best team they can.
“With this tournament there were mostly skilled players. There was a tryout to make the team and most of the kids here were just ready to butt heads and ready to go at it.”
Team Philly featured Sean Christman (Malvern Prep, 2017, Boston University); Nate Hammond (Avon Grove, 2018, Navy); Anthony Giuliani (La Salle, 2017, Penn); Luke McCallion (Haverford High,2017, Vermont); Michael Ott (Central Bucks East, 2018,); James Reilly (Conestoga, 2018, Georgetown); and Mike Sisselberger (Southern Lehigh, 2018, Lehigh). The coaches were John Bodnar, Mike Dolente and Shawn Kaplan.
Christman was disappointed to lose in the finals but pleased with his team’s performance.
“This is the second year in a row we made it to the finals,” he said. “Last year and this year we had the number one seed. I was really happy we went undefeated in the round robin.
“It was disappointing to lose in the final, but it was good to get some reps with these guys because everyone here is really good. I had some tough matchups. I didn’t know how it was going to go because these were guys I’ve never played before. It definitely felt good to win most of my matchups. I would’ve liked to win in the final but that guy was really good. This tournament is a good time.”
Philly coach Bodnar added: “I was really proud of my team; we won every (preliminary) round and we were 6-0 going into the playoffs. We did really well in the semifinals but we just came up short again at the end.
“Last year we only had four teams and this year we had seven. We proved that we are one of the strongest areas as far as faceoff guys go. Credit to all the guys today, they really worked as hard as they could and I’m proud of them. We have three seniors on this team this year and the rest are underclassmen so we will be here again next year. I just want to thank the Faceoff Academy for hosting us. It was a lot of fun.”
NY coach Greg Gurenlian had a big stake in the finals. Gurenlian was a standout at Springfield-Delco and Penn State and has come back to Philly many times to give clinics and tips to the Philly FO specialist.
“The New York team is a combination of Long Island guys and Westchester guys,” he sad. “I see them every single week so it is really cool. Being a Philly guy, originally and transplanted New Yorker, it’s fun being able to see both sides. It is always good to catch in with the Philly guys.
“John (Bodnar) and the Philly Faceoff League guys are awesome. They work along side the FLA and we do a good job working together to make sure the kids get what they need. Today went great. I thought it went really well. We had four teams last year and seven teams this year and hopefully we keep expanding it.
“I tell my guys they have to focus on their own technique. Other then maybe saying this guy is kind of quick so let’s go with a quick guy or lets go with a stronger guy, but mostly it is just worrying about their own technique and it takes care of itself.”
Another key member of Team New York, Conor Calderone (Smithtown West, 2019, committed to Maryland), enjoyed the event’s keen competition.
“I knew this was going to be an event where all the best guys would come out to compete, so I wanted to come and compete too,” he said. “We started off strong , then we got a little tired but we fought back in the end and we came together.
“Everyone stepped up and we pulled out the win. In the last matchup they needed me to step up and I went out and won 4-1 so I was pretty happy about that.”
Tags: Dukes LC