By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/16/19
FREDERICA, Del. – There were ups and downs for the Pennsylvania High School teams in the first day of competition at the Maverik National Lacrosse Classic today at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
The PA boys – the defending champions – went 1-0-1 in Day 1, earning a key 4-3 win over Long Island before settling for a 9-9 tie with Delaware.
The PA girls – who were champs at the NLC in 2016 and 2017 – rebounded from a 7-6 loss to defending champion Metro New York with an 8-5 win over a strong Virginia squad.
The PA boys return their head coach (Frank Corto) and several of last year’s members that competed in December against Team Canada in the Brogden Cup, the prize for winning the NLC. The squad is confident it can again challenge for the title.
“We won it last year and got to play for Team USA – that was a great experience to do that with my friends,” said 2020 (Westminster High, MD) goalie Logan Covey (Marist commit), who along with brother Conner Covey are the lone non-PA players on the roster. “We want to get back to playing like we did last year; it’s just a matter of getting used to everybody.”
In the first game today, 2020 attackman Dom Corto (York Suburban) scored the game-winner and had three goals to help key the win over Long Island. In the tie with Delaware, Corto led with four goals and three assists.
But Corto admitted his team committed way too many turnovers. Delaware managed to tie it at 8-8 on a goal by 2020 attackman Connor Garrison (Appoquinimink) after a turnover and again at 9-9 on a tally by Brady McGovern (Salesianum School) following a PA mistake.
“We have to control the pace of the game instead of just running with our heads cut off,” said Corto. “We need to settle down a little bit and I think we’ll be good.”
Corto said competing in the Brogden Cup was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – one he wants to repeat.
“It was definitely worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Corto. “Also, it’s my last summer tournament, one last hurrah with my friends before we all go our separate ways.
PA 2020 midfielder Conner Covey (Westminster), Logan’s twin brother, said he and Logan have played with many of the York-area members of the PA team for years. He added that with Logan Covey and Connor Kernan (Susquehannock, Cleveland State commit), the goalie tandem is as strong as anyone’s
“It’s fun getting a stick back in your hands, especially with people you grew up with,” he said. “That was a fun time, going to Florida at Christmas and playing against the Canadians. They were the top team and it was a great experience for everyone.
“We had a lot of turnovers today. We have to control the ball. We probably have the two best goalies so we’re not worried about the defensive end. We have to win the faceoffs, get the groundballs and play ball control. The turnovers turned the game today.”
Kernan is playing in the National Lacrosse Classic for the first time.
“I just like to take advantage of every opportunity,” said Kernan. “Hopefully we win it and get the chance to go to Florida to represent team USA.
“I think we need to communicate more on defense. We had some sloppy turnovers and allowed some fast breaks. We have the offensive talent; we just have to put it together and play clean and smart.”
The PA girls team is again coached by Brooke Watson (Archbishop Carroll assistant) and Kelli Romano (Central Bucks West assistant), who have worked the job together for 5 years.
Pennsylvania opened by falling behind Metro NY, 5-0, but lost it by just one goal, 7-6. Against Team Virginia, PA fell behind, 2-1, before going on a 5-1 surge to seize a 6-3 lead. Virginia cut it to 6-5, but Jillian Kennedy (2021 MF, Downingtown East) and Haleigh Albrecht (2021 MF/ATT, Pine-Richland) put the game away.
Albrecht had two goals and also scoring for Team PA were Katie Oates (two goals, 2021 MD, North Allegheny), Andrea Hook (2021 MF/ATT, Phoenixville), Katherine Malone (2020 MF, Scranton Prep) and Skye DePrado (2021 ATT, North Allegheny).
“We are starting to get the feel of things,” said Kennedy. “We are all starting to talk more; once we get to trust each other on the attack side, it will all go well.”
Shelby Hahn, a 2021 defender from Central Bucks West, said the defense was a key for success.
“I feel like the defense started out really strong and meshed from the start,” she said. “We wanted the ball and didn’t want to play settle defense. The attack started rocky and they was starting to move the ball and get big, which is good. Tomorrow will be even better.”
Chloe Morgan competed for the winning team (East region) last year in the 2021 Division (Rising Sophomore) at the NLC and decided to try out for the high school division.
“We won the championship and had a great experience so I came back,” she said. “I think we can do it.
“We are getting looks with quick passing. That’s how we’re going to get goals, with good assists. The coaches are great. We just have to put a whole game together. We have the pieces, we just have to put them together and do the simple things, like quick passing, cuts, picks, and go with motion.”