All Star Lacrosse

2017AA Clams Go 2-1 at the Freshman Philly Showcase

After a cold start, Clams '17 AA's finish the day, and fall season, hot.

Overview: I have coached and been a part of a lot of lacrosse, over the course of decades. And I can count on one hand how many times I've been a part of lacrosse event as cold as yesterday was. It was ski slope weather, but if it was a ski slope yesterday, they might have closed the lifts due to wind.

Still, the boys seemed unfazed, and powered through what was an uncomfortable day for all with toughness, fortitude and purpose. In more ways than one, it was a very gratifying day, and one that clearly speaks to the team the 2017 AA's will be, and in many ways, are already.

But the day was not without its blemish. In game one, we faced off against a nice team from Georgia known as the Thunder. I did not think they were special per se, but they were solid, and played the game with poise and intelligence. We, on the other hand, came out firing...wildly. While some of the goals that were scored were nice, most were individual in nature, something we discussed afterward was not going to be a recipe for long term success.

Afterward, we met in the warmth of the indoor facility, where we had access to some turf. And for about a half hour, we made a change that appeared to alter the trajectory of the rest of the day. The changes were not major; a change in the offensive set, implemented a simple man up play, some defensive review. But something clicked, that's for sure. For what followed was undoubtedly this team's best game of the fall.

Going up against Team 91, a group that now has the unofficial reputation (or so I'm told) as Long Island's best at present, we fell down 0-2, and once again felt a level of deflation that we might again face a tough loss. Then we blew up.

It would be easy to pin the burst on Bailey Laidman (Dover-Sherborn), as he went on a tear, rattling off four straight. You wouldn't be wrong. Bailey was awesome, plain and simple. But it is also worth noting that 3 of his 4 first half goals were assisted (vs. only one in all of game 1; Matt Paul (Rivers) dished 2, and Trevor Ballantyne (Rivers) 1). It is also worth noting that during that time, Ben Churchill (Rivers) came up with 2 huge saves, and also led to a fast break that led to a pivotal goal. During the initial spurt, Spencer Flinton (Needham) was outstanding at the X, as was Geoff Fox (Wellesley) and Aidan Van Duzer (Rivers) coming on off the wing.

In short, once we got rolling, we didn't stop. The game was not as close as the 11-7 final score indicates, as they got a couple goals at the end when the outcome was decided. This game showed us that when we're a our best, we're darned good.

Our roll continued right through the third game, when we decisively defeated a Titanium Select squad that I was told was an All Star group from all their programs throughout the Midwest. The final score of this game was 11-2.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the 2017 AA Clams. We got better and better as we went, and capped off our fall playing our strongest lacrosse. Just how you want it. All of this was particularly gratifying because a lot of college coaches got to see us at our best. On the biggest stage we saw all fall, we played our best.

The future's bright for the Clams 2017 AA's. We wish all of them the best of luck in their first season of high school lacrosse. Even though they'll just be freshmen, we know some of these young men will make their presence felt early and often!

Statistics (as always, I'm sure there are at least a couple errors or omissions)


Name School Points Goals Assists
Bailey Laidman Dover-Sherborn 12 11 1
Trevor Ballantyne Rivers 8 3 5
Matt Paul Rivers 6 1 5
Thomas Bono Nobles 3 3 0
Jake Haase Belmont Hill 3 1 2
Mike Biddle Andover HS 2 2 0
Jack Siebert Melrose 2 2 0
Jack Griffith Weston HS 2 2 0
Harrison Gray Governor's Academy 1 1 0
Andrew Hall Weston HS 1 1 0
Bill Jacobs Yarmouth HS (Maine) 1 0 1
Name School Save Percentage
Ben Churchill Rivers 57%
Ryan Bannon Hopkinton 46%


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