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Fall Ball matchup between Maryland & Cornell feels like homecoming for Philly players

Monday, 10th October 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 10/10/22

Excuse Maryland’s Kyle Long if he felt like a celebrity on Sunday afternoon when Maryland faced Cornell in a men’s Fall Ball game that attracted over 3,000 fans at Springfield-Delco High School.

Kyle Long signs the last of many autographs after Sunday’s game (Photos by Rene Schleicher)

Finally, after signing numerous autographs for youngsters and other fans, he described the thrill of playing as a starting member of the undefeated 2022 national champions at his alma mater before a sellout crowd in idyllic weather.

“This is just awesome, it’s what makes Springfield, Springfield,” said Long, a senior midfielder and two-time USILA All-American. “You build a facility like this to put on displays like this and the whole community comes out.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be from Springfield. It was awesome for us, and for Cornell to get together for the opportunity to get better and play against someone, not your own team. Thanks to (Maryland) coach Tills (John Tillman) and Springfield Coach (Tom) Lemieux for putting this together. I thought it worked out well with the sellout crowd.”

The event was arranged by Lemieux, who wanted to capitalize on Springfield’s new complex and the large number of Philly players on the two 2022 NCAA finalists. He sold it to Tillman and Cornell coach Connor Buczek and when tickets went on online they sold out quickly.

“I was ecstatic,” said Long, when it became official that Springfield would host the game. “It’s great for my teammates to see what Springfield is all about. I’m very thankful.”

Kyle Long sets up the attack

Maryland – which defeated Cornell in May, 9-7, in the title game for the 18-0 season – jumped to a 6-1 lead and was up 9-5 after 3 periods when the coaches started removing their first-string players. Junior attackman Daniel Kelly (Calvert Hall, MD) had three goals and junior attackman Danny Maltz (Riverside, VA) added two to lead the Terps.

“It’s a new group,” said Long. “Last year’s group was pretty special, but that trophy is in the trophy case like UVA’s in ’21 (Virginia defeated Maryland for the 2021 crown).

“We’re back on the offensive, trying to put our best foot forward every day. We put some good stuff on film; we just want to get better and we’re looking forward to playing Team USA Saturday (in the annual Fall Classic in Sparks, MD).

Philly grads also helped. Senior faceoff specialist Gavin Tygh (Penn Charter) won half of his 10 faceoffs and freshman defenseman Will Schaller (Hill School) was one of the first off the bench. Sophomore attackman Eric Spanos (Malvern Prep, 2021 Co-Player of the Year) early, but walked off with an injury. e Freshman faceoff specialist Mitchell Loyd (St. Joseph’s Prep) won 2 of his 3 draws. Midfielders Gabe Goforth (Bishop Shanahan, junior) and Geordy Holmes (Haverford School, sophomore) and defenseman Nick Redd (Wilmington Friends, junior) saw plenty of time in the second half. First-team All-American Luke Wierman (senior, Henderson) did not suit up.

For Cornell, senior Billy Coyle (Malvern Prep) was the team’s starting X attackman and Gene Martin (Moorestown, senior) had some nice saves as a backup goalie. Midfielders Charlie Box (Marple Newtown, freshman) and Michael Bozzi (Haverford School, sophomore) also saw time.

Gavin Tygh wins a faceoff

Tygh, a 2019 Co-Player of the Year, appreciated the chance to play in the Fall before family and friends.

“I give Coach Tillman all the credit for setting this up,” he said. “There’s a lot of Philly guys at Maryland, and lots of alumni from here and they wanted to pay dividends. There’s a lot of great players coming out of the area and coach Tillman felt it was super important for Philly guys to come back here – it was great seeing parents and the guys wearing Eagles jerseys in the stands.

“It’s great to scrimmage Cornell every year. It’s helpful for us and helpful for them. At Maryland, we’re just trying to get better than we were yesterday. A lot of players played well today and next weekend we get to show our talents and hard work vs. Team USA. It’s a great segway to spring.”

Tygh – who was a member of the 2021 UVA national champion – said Maryland is not feeling any pressure as the defending and undefeated national champion.

“If there is any pressure, we take that as a gift,” he said. “Coach tells us to be nervous at practice instead of games. In games, you just fall back on your training. That training is a huge part of the culture at Maryland; so I don’t think there’s any extra pressure on us this year than last year.”

Schaller said coming in as a freshman is made easier by that Maryland culture.

Will Schaller defending

“Even in the little experience I’ve had so far, the culture is second to none,” said Schaller, a two-time First Team pick. “I think the most important part is the relationships we make off the field. That’s what I’ve fallen in love with about this group and this team.

“I am very grateful these guys have my back, and of course I have theirs. The lacrosse is awesome, it’s extremely competitive. We’re constantly grinding every week … every day. So put it together for a game – I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Schaller – a native of Maryland – also enjoyed seeing his Philly teammates and foes soak up the attention at home.

“It was awesome to see a lot of true Philly guys back home in their element with a good fan base in the stands,” he said. “Especially Kyle. We’re super grateful for Springfield High School to let us play. It was our first real test against different colors and it was really good to get out there.”

Coyle said Cornell is happy to learn what it needs to work on as the Big Red gear for the 2023 season and a possible trip to Philly for the Final Four.

Billy Coyle

“Thanks obviously for Springfield for hosting us,” he said. “It’s always nice to play against another uniform in the fall. We definitely have a lot to work on, offensively, defensively and in the middle of the field.

“We always love playing Maryland because it tells us so much. It was nice to have my mom and dad and other family come here to see me play, but more than anything I was glad to see us get some competition under our belts.”

Coyle said the new season starts fresh.

“Honestly, we are wiping the slate clean,” he said. “We had a great run last year in the tournament and the post-season, but this is a brand new team. We are looking forward to next season and we’ll hopefully make another run and win some championships.”

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