By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/22/18
FREDERICA, Del. – Josh and Audrey Estavillo of Monroe Township (N.J.) got a little more than they bargained for when they tried out for the National Lacrosse Classic.
Josh, a 2020 goalie, decided to try out for the Pennsylvania team and helped the squad win its first High School championship Thursday with two two dramatic comebacks, the second a 6-5 win over New England for the title.
Audrey, a 2021 attack/midfielder, helped the East claim the 2021 girls’ championship with a 5-4 triumph over the South.
Both brother and sister said the experience of the NLC exceeded all expectations.
“I decided to compete in the NLC showcase because I wanted to compete at a higher level,” said Audrey. “Many talented lacrosse players tried out for this showcase and I got the pleasure to play against them and with them, making more connections and friendships. I enjoyed meeting new people and the way everything was run. Mostly, I enjoyed playing and learning more about the game.”
“This year I missed the NJ tryouts so I went for PA,” said Josh Estavilla. “I wanted to play against some of the best competition in the country. I also wanted to face NJ because some of my friends were on that team. This year went above my expectations.”
In the playoffs, Audrey’s East team dealt the South its first loss in the title game.
“The biggest reasons for my team’s success was skill and chemistry,” said Estavillo, who plays for DEWLAX. “Everyone on my team was friends with everyone, making our bond very strong and applicable to the game. The girls on my team are also very skilled and talented, which is also important.
“I learned that any group of players can dominate if they have a positive mindset and positive energy. For some of the girls on my team, it was the first time they’d played with the other players. We all were able to connect and work with each other on the field.”
Josh Estavillo’s PA squad lost just once in the pool play, 9-5 to undefeated Long Island. Pennsylvania was trailing Long Island, 7-3, when he entered the game in the semifinals. Amazingly, PA scored all six goals in the second half to win it, 9-7.
“I felt that our chemistry was one of the biggest reasons on why were very successful,” said Estavillo, who plays club for Nation United, NJLC, & Team Turnpike and thanks Monroe Twp. Rec lax for his lacrosse roots. “Also, our individual skills played a part. Everyone was on the same page and we all had one goal in mind. That was to win the championship and go to Florida.”
What happened to change things at halftime?
“I don’t know what (PA) Coach (Frank) Corto said to the team because I was getting warmed up,” said Estavilla. “But, during the second half we played with more intensity. We won the ground ball battle and moved the ball really well on offense.”
Now, Estavillo and Pennsylvania earn a trip in Florida to compete in the Brogden Cup, an International tourney that pits the NLC boys’ champion against an All-Star Team from Ontario. Also, an All-Star girls’ team of 2020 and 2021 players from the NLC will be chosen to compete.
“It felt amazing to be part of PA’s first championship,” said Estavillo. “I think we’re going to give Team Canada a run for their money.
“Like I said before, we had one goal. None of us took the time from our week just to lose. We all wanted to win and go to Florida.”