By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/19/18
FREDERICA, Del. – An unlikely champion with players from Philly and many parts of Pennsylvania made history today.
Team PA rallied dramatically for a second time in two games, and claimed its first National Lacrosse Classic High School Boys’ Championship with a 7-6 thriller over New England at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
Sean Curcio (Manheim Township, 2019 ATT, Air Force commit) fed Conner Covey (one of three Maryland players, Westminster High, 2020 MF) for the game-winner with 10 seconds to play as PA earned the automatic berth to compete in the prestigious Brogden Cup in late December in Florida.
Pennsylvania – which had never reached the finals of the NLC in its 11-year history – stormed back from a 7-3 halftime deficit to beat highly-touted Long Island, 9-7, in the semifinals. Then in the title game, PA led New England, 4-1, in the first half, but yielded five unanswered goals while struggling with a bevy of turnovers.
But with less than 3 minutes to play, Anthony Caporuscio (Crestwood, 2020 ATT) scored the second of his three goals and then took a feed from Mark Sickler (Hershey, 2019 MF/ATT, Army commit) and backhanded in the game-tying goal with 1:40 to play.
The PA team featured five players from Philly, five from York/Cumberland/Lancaster Counties, four from Northeast PA, three from Maryland, two from Berks County, and two from New Jersey. It was a club from a high diversity of locations and showed the depth of talent from what used to be called non-traditional areas of lacrosse in Pennsylvania.
“Sean had the ball – he is a great player and they were disrespecting him by putting a shorty on him – so he burned his defender and they slid off me and and I cut down the middle and put it on the money,” said Covey. “I just had to finish the ball.”
“Coming in we didn’t know who was going to be on the team. But in the first practice we got to know each other and the coaches knew everyone’s name right off the bat. We all hung out together; some teams had cliques, but we all meshed.”
The Long Island win set the tone for PA’s ability to respond to challenges.
“It was all heart,” said Capuruscio. “We just wanted to win and get to the championship game. Pennsylvania has never won it before; that was the push.
Curcio added two goals in the title game, Sickler scored once and Connor McCoy (Conrad Weiser, 2019 MF/ATT) had one. In the win over Long Island, Dominic Corto (York Suburban, 2020 ATT), Caporuscio, Ryan Eife (Central Bucks East, 2019 MF/ATT) and Sickler each scored twice while Dominic Deluca (Wyoming Area, 2020 MF) scored once.
“In the final, it was all heart still; we have a great group of kids and we all got along real well. I think that’s how we got the chemistry. It just shows how widely spread the skill level is in Pennsylvania and shows the progression in the state.”
Added Curcio: “We were down 7-3 at the half (against Long Island), and in both games we just took it one play at a time and one goal at a time and kept pounding the net. I guess we try harder when we are down.”
The talent was clear. Sickler and Curcio are top recruits who play Philly club with Big4HHH and the Covey twins, Conner and goalie Logan, helped lead Westminster to a Maryland 3A Public state title. Caporuscio collected an incredible 126 goals and 69 assists this year for Crestwood, a Class AA the state qualifier. The Covey twins, Curcio, Dom Corto and faceoff specialist Tyler Dunn (Calvert Hall-MD, 2020) were named All-Stars. Goalie Joshua Estavillo (Monroe Township-NJ, 2020) shut out Long Island in the second half to help enable the comeback.
Talk about talent around the state of Pennsylvania has been a big topic since Manheim Township won the PIAA big school championship last Month.
“We had some really good players and some have been playing together for years with my club team and All-Stars I have coached,” said PA coach Frank Corto, who runs TEAM Lacrosse in Central PA. “I have been trying to say in the last 12 months that we have talent put here in Central PA. Manheim Township put it on the map.
“It’s fun to be a part of it and it’s nice about PA winning its first championship. I got a winter vacation planned!”
Dom Corto, (coach’s son), who plays for TEAM Lacrosse and the Duke’s LC, said the team never lost confidence.
“We just made new friends and the chemistry builds,” he said. “We kept our heads up and our attitude up and you run through it and get the ‘W.” I am really excited to go the Brogden Cup. This shows we don’t have one hotbed in the state; there is talent everywhere.”
Eife said another key was settling down after the turnovers.
“I think it was about slowing the ball down, keeping long and good possession and working the ball for a good shot; we had a couple good scorers and a couple good feeders,” he said. “I think it’s cool. The only time I met these guys was at tryouts.
“It’s good to see there is talent all over, not just hot spots. There is talent from Scranton and York lighting it up.”
The winning goal for Team Pennsylvania in today’s @NLCLacrosse HS boys’ championship game featured @seancurc feeding @connercovey1 for the GW tally with 10 seconds to play as PA edged New England 7-6 for its first title and a berth to the @brogdencup pic.twitter.com/WNz0W8W6Qs
— Phillylacrosse.com (@phillylacrosse) July 19, 2018
Connor Bross M Conrad Weiser 2020
Dominic Corto A York Suburban 2020
Ryan Prum FOGO Ridley 2019
Billy Meyer D Toms River South-NJ 2020
Justin Shocker D York Suburban 2019
Conner Covey M Westminster-MD 2020
Sean Curcio A Manheim Township 2019
Tyler Dunn FOGO Calvert Hall-MD 2020
Jakob Switzer M/A Wyoming Area High 2020
Jake Cavanaugh D Cardinal O’Hara 2020
Connor McCoy M/A Conrad Weiser High 2019
Anthony Caporuscio A Crestwood 2020
Connor Knittle D Trinity 2020
Dominic Deluca M Wyoming Area 2020
John Betzko D Dallas High 2019
Ryan Eife M/A Central Bucks East 2019
Jackson Gowie A Haverford High 2020
Seamus McCloskey D The Haverford School 2019
Logan Covey HSB G Westminster High School-MD 2020
Joshua Estavillo G Monroe Township-NJ 2020
Mark Sickler M/A Hershey 2019