Categories: clam_chatter Date: Nov 20, 2012 Title: Results from IAS, Philly Showcase, & UP LaxFive teams at three tournaments in three different states.
This weekend we sent teams all up and down the east coast to close out the Fall 2012 Tour. We sent a 2015 team up to IAS in Milford, NH on Saturday while the 2014 A's and 2016 AA travelled down to Annapolis for the weekend for the UP Lax Tournament. Sunday the 2014 AA and 2015 AA teams were at the Philly Showcase.
The 2014 AA team capped off it's Fall 2012 Tour with a trip down to the Philly Showcase. This event is considered by many to be the best event of the fall, and seeing the number of coaches distributed across seven fields it's easy to believe that's true.
To start the day, we drew a very skilled Green Turtle 2014 team from the Baltimore area. After a sleepy first half that left us in a hole, Andrew Gallahue (St. John's Prep) sparked a rally with some great riding that led to his two goals, plus a man-up opportunity that led to our third goal of the game. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and ended with a 3-5 loss.
That loss to a lot to give us that wake up call that was needed and it showed in the next two games. The first was against the Roadhawks, a central New York team, that was one of the few teams that could match our size and athleticism, especially in the midfield.
This game had a frenetic pace for most of the first half mainly because the midfield area between the restraining lines was a little small. This gave the game a bit of an indoor feel because players didn't have much time and room in transition, but also led to a lot of transition play. At half, on individual tallies from Jordon Fong (Middlesex), Andrew Gallahue, and Parker McKee (Nobles/Michigan) we held a 3-2 lead. In the second half the boys settled down and not get swept up in the excitement and took full control of the game with Andrew and Parker each adding another goal while AJ Vazquez (Belmont Hill) and Austin Gaiss (Phillips Andover) each notched a goal as well giving us a comfortable 7-4 victory.
Our final game was our best game (just as it was a year ago at this time at this same event) as we matched up with the Long Island Express 2014. As most dominant team performances do, it started with face-off specialist Collin Orr (The Rivers School) and defense. That defense was spearheaded by Max Gustafson (Belmont Hill) who seemed to be taking the ball every time his man got it. Simply put, it was the most dominant I've seen Max play ever and it had been building all day.
With a 3-1 lead at half, the offense took over in the second half scoring seven unanswered goals to give us a 10-1 win to end the day. Highlighting that offensive burst was Jordan Fong with three goals and an assist while Tucker Mscisz (Pomfret), Andrew Gallahue, and Kaelan Fitzpatrick (Gould) all added two points to the cause and Matt Knight (Westminster) tallied a goal as an exclamation point.
The defensive core of Max Gustafson, Eamon O'Leary (St. John's Prep) and Thomas Soule (Nobles) answered every challenge thrown at them while the LSM tandem of Chris Casey (St. John's Prep) and Aaron Son (The Rivers School) helped FOGO Collin Orr post a 65.5% win percentage at the face-off X going 21 for 32. Goalie Rob Shaw (Roxbury Latin) had a dynamic day Sunday in net allowing only two goals and posting to blank sheets while Kevin Lally (Beverly HS) continued to be the consistent netminder we've come to rely on to set the tone in the fist halves of all our games.
So, at the day we found ourselves happy and excited with the direction we continue to move in as we finished the fall tour with a 7-2 record and still having our best in front of us for the Summer 2013 Tour.
Game 1: L 3-4 vs. Madlax 2015
The Fighting Clams ‘15AA wrapped up the Fall 2012 campaign with a 1-2 showing at the Philly Showcase, squaring off with MadLax, LI Express and CNY Roadhawks along the way. Having competed locally at Harvard and UMASS, the sophomore Clams were anxious to hit the national stage and see what some of the best competition the country had to offer. In large national events, our goal is to build a team that will be competitive with the highest level age-appropriate competition the tournament can supply. This was precisely the case this weekend in Philly, as the Clams dropped very exciting one-goal games to Madlax and CNY Roadhawks, with a victory over the LI Express sandwiched in the middle. Seeing the amount of college coaches on our sidelines for each contest, it is clear that many recruiters were just as excited to see the Clams as we were to see them!
As has been the case often this Fall, the ‘15AA Clams saw much of the offensive production come from the attack with Mikey Harris (Brewster Academy), Foster Leboeuf (Phillips Andover) and Kerry Lyne (Wellesley HS) combining for 15 of the 21 Clams goals on the day. With two very solid attack lines rolling through the day, one thing that was clear – Leboeuf and Harris can ball! It is very difficult to stand out on a stage with the kind of national talent that was present in Philly, but these two guys showed that they have the ability to be premier attackmen in the ’15 class. In the first tilt, the Clams dropped a tough one-goal game to MadLax 2015. Lebouef, Lyne and Harris shared the scoring with one goal apiece with Leboeuf and Lyne’s goals both being assisted by Harris. Angus O’Rourke (St. Sebastian’s) served a very important role in this game, filling a void at the X and went 4 for 4 in the process.
In the second game, the ‘15AA Clams kicked the offense into the next gear en route to an 11-8 victory over the LI Express. The Clams begun to buy into the concept of creating re-dodge opportunities for midfielders and as a result, we saw a huge scoring increase from that group. Andrew Bolte (Brooks School) buried two goals and Will Christiansen (Weston HS), Henry Behrens (Masconomet HS) and Angus O’Rourke (St. Sebastian’s) all got in the scoring column. The attack group continued to hold up their end of the bargain with Leboef and Harris notching 2 goals each along with one from Lyne. Josh Kirson (Rivers) and Henry Donnellan (Newton South HS) combined for 8 saves and Tim Dick (Rivers) led the defense with an amazing 10 ground balls in the contest.
The Philly Showcase marks the end of the Fall 2012 campaign for the Fighting Clams ‘15AA. This group combined for an overall record of 11-5-1 and turned a quite few heads along the way. We could not be more proud of this group and look forward to getting back on the field this Summer. We have already begun putting together the Summer Tour Schedule for ‘15AA’s and as promised we will challenge this group with the best competition we can find – they have proved they can handle it. Great Fall, gentlemen – see you this Summer!
The Up Lax tournament was a very interesting one for the '14 A's. To say it was a tale of two halves would be cliche and completely accurate, but there's a little more to it than that.
On Saturday, I knew going in that the deck was loaded against our '14 A's. The thinking was this: our A's had not lost, and I had a general, underlying fear of budding overconfidence. What I also knew was that this group had been given a competitive schedule, but not an overwhelming one to this point in the fall; I figured it was time to throw the toughest competition a high end tournament could muster, and see who'd respond, and who would not.
While Saturday stung a bit overall, it was very telling. Right out of the gate, there were some players who definitely stepped up. Shawn Waldron (attack, St. Johns Prep) has played outstanding lacrosse all fall, and nothing changed on Saturday. Despite drawing double and triple teams, Waldron kept coming around the corner hard, and managed a team-high 5 goals on the day to go along with 3 assists. Drew O'Connell (St. John's Prep) looked like the Princeton-bound middie he is, notching a couple goals, and doing a very good job of initiating offense from the midfield. Doug Richardson (midfield, Rivers) played very tough on Saturday, showing athleticism and competitiveness in the face of stifling pressure. Valuable contributions were also made by Colin Feheley (attack, Brewster), who had 3 goals on the day, one in each game, and Sam Cleveland (attack, Arlington HS). Defensively, the balanced attack of poles Colin Fahey (St. Johns Prep), Jake Levy (St. Sebastian's), Sam Reardon (Rivers) and Bobby Koziol (Agawam HS) put forth a commendable effort; Jimmy Cochran (BB&N) gave his best effort in Saturday's final game, stopping 12 shots as we fell short to the Annapolis Hawks 4-8.
The Up Lax tournament director circled back with me after Saturday to see how things went, and asked if I wanted another day of the toughest competition the event had to throw at us. I asked what he thought. He indicated he thought we should recalibrate and play at the top end of their Varsity bracket. I said I was game.
Man was that a change. What it showed was that while our '14 A's might not be D1 candidates, which is basically what we were thrown against on Saturday, that when put against Varsity competition, we were standouts. In other words, our A team is exactly as we've described it: high end Varsity players who will make very capable D2/D3 prospects.
Now it is important to note that the team was not exactly the same. Joining us on Sunday only were George Lucey (midfield, Brooks) and Shaun O'Hare (attack, Rivers); departed was Alec Cover (attack, Rivers), who found himself on the receiving end of a mild concussion. And while we missed Alec on Sunday (who circled back, and is feeling fine) the two-for-one trade added a little depth, we played much better.
On Sunday, it was hard to single out individuals, which is exactly the type of thing coaches want to be able to say. Attackmen Shaun O'Hare and Sam Cleveland (Arlington HS) were dominant, and line mate Harrison Alpaugh (Nobles) rebounded from an quiet Saturday to become a pivotal cog in the machine on Sunday. Shawn Waldron, Doug Richardson and Drew O'Connell continued their stellar play, but players like J.R. Barnes (middie, Hopkinton), Wyatt Sullivan (middie, Arlington HS), Tyler Powers (attack, Duxbury HS) and David Kasten (middie, Newton South HS) stepped up as did the defense, from the goalies right on through the poles.
In short, it was a dominating team-wide performance, as the combined 30 goal margin of victory on the three Sunday games combined clearly shows. Confidence is a funny thing. And apparently, it is a tad tougher to gain at the A level, at least right out of the gate. Once we gained it, this team's true colors truly showed, and it was a sight to behold. So the '14 A's end the season 9-3, and 9-0 vs. the caliber of competition this team is by definition supposed to play. They beat who should have beaten and, with only one possible exception in my eyes, they lost to who they should have lost to.
Game 1: W 9-2 vs. Performance
Game 2: L 3-4 vs. Roughriders 2015
Game 3: W 6-5 (O.T.) vs. Looneys
The Clam 2016 “AA” had another successful weekend down in Annapolis this past weekend. We played some great teams from all over the country and we more than held our own.
We started off the weekend against Rough Riders ’16 first thing Saturday morning. This game proved to be a great start to the weekend as we came out to a demanding 6-1 lead at the half and never looked back finishing up 8-2. We were led offensively in this game by Ryan Waystack (1G, 1A/Masconomet HS), and Eddie Martin (2G/Rivers). Defensively we were led by Josh White (4 GB’s/Nobles).
Our next two games saw us matched up against an older team from Minnesota and South River from Maryland. We came out on top in both games, I think in large part to our spectacular groundball play all around. From our attackmen through to our defensemen, when the ball went on the ground it was an all-out effort every single time to come up with it, and we came up with those 50/50 groundballs a vast majority of the time throughout the weekend. For a team that was undersized more often than not, I was very impressed with the grit and scrappiness that they showed when the ball was on the ground.
Day 2 brought the Clam 2016 “AA”s to a different field with a different level of competition. In our first game we beat a solid Performance ’16 team by a comfortable margin of 9-2. When I looked at the score sheet, it jumped out that of the nine goals in this game we scored, seven were by different players and eight of those goals were assisted. This really showed our ability to be unselfish and spread the ball around.
Our second game of the day was against the Rough Riders ’15 team from Maryland. This was our only loss of the weekend, dropping a 4-3 decision. In this game the 2016 “AA”s saw probably the best competition they had played all fall and they didn’t back down. McCrae Williams (Weston HS/9 saves) stood out in this game, keeping us in it with some spectacular stops. The bigger loss was midgame due to injury; Billy Guarente caught a helmet to helmet hit with about 3 minutes left in play and was taken away in an ambulance (Billy ended up suffering a concussion and he is already home and recovering). Billy’s teammates really took this to heart and scored mere seconds into the man-up making the score 4-3. Unfortunately we were not able to tie the game in the final seconds and ultimately lost it 4-3.
Our final game of the weekend and final game of the fall of 2012 was not looking very promising in the opening minutes. The Looney’s from Maryland came out to a demanding 4-0 lead over the 2016 “AA”s in just the first quarter of play. After taking a timeout and really thinking about their task at hand, we came out in the second half and chipped away at the Looney’s lead ultimately tying the game at 5 bringing it into overtime. About 2 minutes into overtime Caleb Mahoney (Rivers) picked up a groundball in the defensive end and started making his way up field. Since he had been dominant all weekend in the clearing game the Looney defense was forced to slide to him early and aggressively. This opened up Jack Seibert (Melrose HS) on the back side. Caleb made the savvy look to Jack and Jack finished just like he always does, capping off the 2016 “AA” Fall in very dramatic fashion.
I am very excited to be coaching this team for Clam seasons to come. It didn’t take me long to see that this is a very special group of young men who truly enjoy being around one another, but it wasn’t until this past weekend in Maryland that I realized their potential on the lacrosse field as well. This team is in for a very bright future, and I am happy to be part it.
With a tournament structured like the IAS Showcase, averaging 16 goals per game will give you a great chance of winning most, if not all, of your games.
The overlooked part of the team was our defense. Owen Ward (Brewster Academy) and Luke Polcari (Belmont HS) not only helped stem the offensive tide that this tournament promotes, but they also added to the offense with Owen tallying four goals while Luke notched a goal and an assist.
But, as I said, the day was ruled by the offenses. Tommy Wynn (Belmont Hill) was the lead horse for our offense with 14 goals and 4 assists on the day with Ben Sommers (Governor's) 8 goals and 4 assists.
Our first game of the day was our best as we started with the IAS Cougars. We came out of the first half with a hard fought 9-6 lead, but with a feeling that we let some opportunities go by the wayside. That was not the case in the second half as we completely took over the game, outscoring the Cougars 11-3 and going onto a 20-9 win.
Next up was Team Austin. Our defense rode the momentum from our first game, holding Team Austin to only 3 goals in the first half. The secong half turned into a bit of a shootout, as usually is the case with most games at the Showcase, but the three goal lead we built held true as we walked away with a 12-9 victory.
From a purely fan's perspective, this might have been our most exciting game. From a coach's perspective (especially a defensive coach), I was extremely impressed with our offense. This was an old-fashioned shootout. Both teams' offenses were clicking and there wasn't much either defense could do. In both transition and settled situations, the offense ruled the game. As it usually is the case in these games, the last couple of possesions were key and both our offense and defense finished strong to close out a thrilling 19-18 win.
Unfortunately, we then ran into a buzz-saw of a team in the 2013 Club Rebel Elite. While this team was very good, I was extremely happy with the "no quit" attittude the entire team had. We just didn't have enough in the tank, dropping our last game 13-19.
The beauty of the IAS Showcase is that it forces players to make decisions quicker and be just a little bit crisper with passes and shots as well as being decisive with defensive slides and passing lane control. Even after two previous weekends with most of this guys, I feel I learned a lot more about their abilities on Saturday, and am extremely excited to see these young players grow.