By Chris Goldberg, Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/29/20
After a slow start, Team Philadelphia Highlight proved it was the dominant force in the All America Underclass East Super Regional at Maple Zone.
Using a 6-0 second-half run, Team Philly toppled New Jersey, 8-3, Friday to advance to the All America National Championships in October, unofficially at Virginia Beach, VA.
Philly won all five of its games by a combined 48-11 count, but its all-around talents did not show in the first half when New Jersey went out to leads of 2-0 and 3-2.
But after halftime, All-Tourney pick Alex Petrignani (Academy of the New Church, 2021, Army commit) scored his second goal to tie it, 3-3, and All-Tourney Matt Fritz (6 of 7 faceoffs, Wissahickon, 2021, Ohio State) won the draw and took it in himself for a 4-3 lead, and an onslaught followed.
Antonio DeMarco (Penn Charter, 2021, North Carolina, all-tourney) then scored his first of two goals and Andrew Kelly (La Salle, 2022) made it 6-3 before the end of the third period. DeMarco and Jack Clark (Springfield-Delco, 2021, Drexel) scored in the final quarter to ice it.
“We got used to relying on Eric (Spanos, tourney MVP) and they were keying on him,” said Petrignani of Spanos, who had the overtime goal in a 5-4 win over New Jersey Thursday and was the team’s leading scorer. “We have a lot of good middies and good attackman and that helped us get going.”
Faceoff men Fritz and Matt Riley (5 of 8 draws, Salesianum School 2021, Georgetown) dominated throughout the tourney. The Philly defense and goaltending also was consistent all five games.
“We were above 70 percent in every game on faceoffs, so that helped a lot,” Petrignani said. “A lot of us played together after freshman year on this team so we knew each other and some have played on club teams so the chemistry was there.”
Fritz credited his wings for the success at the X.
“Our wingmen were terrific all week long,” he said. “We knew Jersey had a strong team. I was glad to get my goal; that helped our momentum, and Matt played awesome as well.”
Fritz said Team Philly’s confidence has continued to rise.
“You saw that game and how well rounded we are,” he said. “We didn’t have to rely on Eric (Spanos). He did win a lot of the games for us (Thursday), but we were firing on all cylinders today. You saw what we could do in the second half.”
New Jersey took its early lead on goals by Finn Morgan (Haddonfield, 2021), Michael Farrell (Manasquan, 2021) and Justin Lawler (Randolph, 2021). Colin Zyck (Saucon Valley, 2021, St. Joseph’s) also scored for Team Philly.
“It’s a selfless group that just wanted to win,” said head coach Tom Lemieux (Springfield-Delco). “They played hard and got to know each other pretty well for being together just a few weeks.”
Boys Highlight All Tournament Team
Name Number Team
Justin Lawler 19 New Jersey
Liam McLane 11 CONNY
Eric Spanos (MVP, Malvern Prep, ATT) 23 Philly
Wes Peene 20 New Jersey
Antonio DeMarco (Penn Charter, MF) 22 Philly
Matt Wrede 4 New Jeresey
Myles Spiess 22 CONNY
Alex Petrignani (Ac. of the New Church, MF) 17 Philly
Matthew Fritz (Wissahickon, FO) 1 Philly
Alex Martin 15 CONNY
Carson Brown 15 New Jersey
Pup Buono (Malvern Prep, LSM/DEF) 21 Philly