By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/2/19
Reilly Holleran is the lone wolf on the Evolve Canada (Ontario) 2020 lacrosse team.
He is the team’s only American and admits he’s never played box lacrosse in his life. But Holleran, an LSM from Episcopal School (VA), is a good fit.
“My teammate at Episcopal, Dylan James, who is Canadian, told me in the fall of my sophomore year, ‘Hey we (Evolve) don’t have enough poles, can you come out to Baltimore for one tournament?'” said Holleran Sunday at the Victory Events Liberty National Elite Classic at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
“I said, ‘Yeah, sure’ and I met the guys and I loved it. They are all happy and funny; my type of people. I bonded with them, and now I am stuck with them. I am the token American.”
Holleran proved his mettle last weekend. He helped Evolve win the 2020 A championship with a 9-3 win over Top Caliber, and on Friday he was named an All-Star at the Liberty National Showcase (the scheduled All-Star Game Saturday was canceled due to inclement weather). The event Friday attracted 290 athletes and over 90 coaches; in all over 125 coaches attended during the weekend.
“The Canadians are a different breed and they play a different game,” Holleran said. “They all told me I play Canadian defense; they are fast, aggressive and get on their hands. If they get beat, they slide and they are cool with contact. It’s fast; that’s what I like about it.”
In Friday’s showcase, Holleran said he meshed quickly with his teammates.
“I went into Friday and I really just wanted to have fun and adjust to the heat,” he said. “I wanted to get to know the guys on the team. That’s the best way to play; you’ve got to know the guys around you. You have to gain chemistry on both sides (offensively and defensively)
“I bonded really well with the goalies. On clears they trusted me to take it up the field and I got some good looks.”
Holleran is not tall, but he is strong.
“They call me ‘Muscles.’ That’s my biggest strength; they make fun of me,” he said with a smile. “I try to be (strong). Even though I am short, I try to put on as many pounds as I can so I don’t get knocked down.”
Holleran said his Evolve squad has great chemistry.
“We do have a lot of good chemistry,” he said. “Our coach brings everything together and our defense meshes. Our goalies, Cole George (Everest Academy) and Dawson Lippert, pull it all together. They are loud and they communicate.”
Reflections from other All-Stars:
Jack Naughton, Shady Side Academy, PA Dukes Elite, 2020 Attack (committed to Holy Cross following the showcase)
“My ultimate goal was to get exposure and get recrited and I achieved that when I committed to Holy Cross. I am very grateful to Coach (Ian) Farley (Offensive Coordinator). Their staff is great, head coach (Peter) Burke is amazing and so are the rest of the coaches. Just like at every showcase, you don’t know anyone so it’s all about making connections and bonding as a team. My goal was to make my showcase team play as a team and to get them pumped up. We went 3-0, which is nice. The team was great and very competitive. I learned you have to play fast all the time and to dodge with a purpose. I have to work on getting bigger and faster and playing smarter by building my lacrosse IQ.”
Nicholas, Mormando, Interboro, PA, Duke’s Mainline, 2021 Attack
“I think my shooting was good and our team did well in the Showcase. There were a lot of rising seniors and the competition was hard. But it was a great learning experience; you had to get through adversity and learn your teammates and build the teamwork. Our high school season went well, I think we were 10-7 with limited numbers (Mormando had 52 goals and was second team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference). It was always a battle. I have to work on my stamina, my left hand, and fundamentals in general. You never stop practicing. As a program (Dukes Mainline) is building every practice and every game to get better and better. We have to keep adapting to adversity.”
Liam Jones, Princeton Day School, NJ Tristate, 2020 Attack
“It was really hard to stand out with 290 kids there. So I tried to help us play as a team and hope we had a lot of success, thinking that would get me there (to the All-Star Game). I looked for the back side because at a lot of showcases most people don’t know each other and usually there is a one-slide but never a two-slide. I am looking for a high academic school with good lacrosse, D3 or D1. I feel I have to get better with my off hand and be more dynamic on dodging. Those two go hand-in-hand; if you can go both ways it’s easier to dodge.”
Joseph Giannella, North Rockland, NY, NJ Riot (Rockland-NY), 2020 Midfield
“The Showcase was really fun and had a lot of competitive guys. I really just wanted to play my hardest and get some good two-way middie runs while getting the other guys involved. I am looking at five schools – at D3 so I can make an impact in my freshman year. This is our first year as Riot Rockland and we’re just trying to get more people involved (with the ball) and get them moving off the ball. I like pushing the ball, playing both ways, and getting the attack involved.”
Eric Thompson, St Xavier, OH, Resolute, 2020 Midfield
“There was a lot of D1 competition at the Showcase. Coming in, I just wanted to show the coaches I could play. I think communication with your new teammates is key – even though you just got together. I felt my defense and offense were good. I pride myself on my defense and not letting him get top side. On offense, my strength is my alley dodge and being able to score on the run. I am looking at D1 or D2 and I am open to D3 but looking at D1 or D2. I think I need to keep my head on a swivel on defense and work on my left alley dodge.”