Commentary

Summer lacrosse clubs hone recruits

Updated: August 4, 2009, 1:42 PM ET
By Geoff Shannon | Inside Lacrosse

In its inaugural effort to shake up the summer club scene by ranking, reporting and intently following summer recruiting teams, Inside Lacrosse discovered that creating said rankings is the equivalent of ranking apples and oranges.

That's because variations between the programs tend to outweigh the similarities. Some teams play competitive tournament-style circuits. Others attend lacrosse showcase events. There are programs that practice consistently and some that just show up and let it rip.

Some programs split teams strictly by recruiting age groups; some pull together the best of the best regardless of age. Many organizations want to actually win the summer club title; others are content to showcase their kids with a secondary thought of winning.

So this is an attempt to gauge apples, orange, peaches, pears, kumquats and quinces. Inside Lacrosse looked at summer title records, final finishes, tournament competition and overall competitiveness. This is the end of summer rankings.

1. Long Island Express Central Team

 

Major titles
Champs -- Tri-State National Tournament, Shootout by Brine Session II, Finalist -- King of the Hill Session II

[+] EnlargeChamp Camp
Jason Taylor/Inside LacrosseHigh school players tried to make their mark at summer tourneys, such as Champ Camp 2009.

Players to watch
Will Mazzone, attack, Ward Melville (N.Y.); Ryan DeSimone, attack, Smithtown East (N.Y.); Greg Danseglio, defense, St. Anthony's (N.Y.); Mike Pellegrino, defense, Connetquot (N.Y.)

Final take
The Long Island Express Central team, comprised of rising juniors, rolled through the summer with a 38-2 record. Though an All-Star team, LI Express Central played incredible team ball, beating physical opponents such as Boys' Latin (Md.) and Tri-State Black for top title victories. It also took home some early summer trophies at the Tri-State Peddie School and Juvenile Diabetes tournaments. This team has the best group skills in the summer circuit, with knowledgeable scorers across the board.

2. CRABS 2011's (Baltimore Lacrosse Club)

 

Major titles
Virginia Team Camp (5-1)

Players to watch
Logan Connelly, attack, St. Mary's (Annapolis, Md.); Wells Stanwick, attack, Boys' Latin (Md.); Ryan Tucker, midfield, Gilman (Md.); Tyler German, midfield, Queen Anne's (Md.)

Final take
Another team made exclusively of rising juniors, CRABS 2011's finished the summer with just three losses, did well in its home tournament and was the top team at the Virginia Team Camp. The team had a few "out of the car" losses in various tournaments, but played strong after initial adversity. It's a rising junior group that gets points for doing exceptionally well against teams with mostly rising seniors (though the 2010's won their own tournament, the Crab City Challenge, earlier this summer.)

3. Duke's LC

 

Major titles
Champ Camp 2009

Players to watch
Seniors: Jordan Wolf, attack, Lower Merion (Pa.); Andrew O'Connell, goal, Malvern Prep (Pa.); Stephen O'Hara, defense, St. Joe's Prep (Pa.). Juniors: Kevin Forster, attack, La Salle (Pa.); Joe Sankey, attack, Penn Charter (Pa.)

Final take
Duke's LC swept through Champ Camp with its mixed rising junior/rising senior Duke's I team, beating a tough BELAX program 6-5 in the championship final. Also gave a solid performance at the Tri-State event, going 5-0 in pool play. Duke's II, a team comprised mostly of rising juniors and sophomores, also had a solid summer, finishing 6-2 overall.

4. Top Gun Lax

 

Major titles
King of the Hill Session II

Players to watch
Garrett Campbell, attack, St. John's Prep (Mass.); Jordan Greenfield, attack, The Rivers School (Mass.); Frank Wheeler-Larusso, midfield, Catholic Memorial (Mass.); Geordie Carrick, defense, The Rivers School (Mass.)

Final take
The highlight of the season was taking the King of the Hill Session II tournament with a 6-4 victory over the Long Island Express and a final record of 6-0. Top Gun Lax also finished a strong 5-2 at the Shootout by Brine and 4-1 at the MVP Tournament Session I.

5. Tri-State Lacrosse

 

Major titles
Finalist -- Tri-State National

Players to watch
Mac Davis, goal, Glen Ridge (N.H.); Ethan Kibrick, goal, The Peddie School (N.J.); Dean Dickey, Moorestown (N.J.); Matt Gilbertson, defense, Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.)

Final take
A good year all around for Tri-State's different teams. The 2010 Black team finished 24-5, losing just once in three of their four tournaments, including twice to No. 1 Long Island Express 2011's. Tri-State's 2011 Team (rising juniors) finished 16-6 with winning records at King of the Hill Session I, Tri-State National and Princeton Team Camp. A note: The best year in its program could be the 2012 teams.

6. Madlax Super Select

 

Major titles
Finalist -- Crab City Challenge, Virginia Team Camp (3-1-1)

Players to watch
Garrett Swankowski, defense, Loudoun Valley HS (Va.), Virginia; Chris Daddio, midfield, Loudoun Valley (Va.), Syracuse; James Malm, midfield, Woodberry Forest (Va.), Johns Hopkins; Hunter DeButts, defense, Episcopal (Va.), Princeton

Final take
Both the Madlax Super Select team, a collection of the top 20 players in the club regardless of position, and strictly rising junior squads did well this summer. They ran through the Crab City Challenge, losing to Crabs 2010's in the final. The Juniors Orange team did well at the Virginia Team Camp and the UP Lax tourney.

7. CT Bulldogs Red

 

Major titles
Shootout by Brine Session 1

Players to watch
Brendan Rotanz, attack, Fairfield Prep (Conn.); Todd Heritage, attack, Cheshire (Conn.); Tobias Armour, defense, Choate (Conn.); Alex Rose, defense, Old Lyme (Conn.)

Final take
The team pulled off a big win in the Brine Shootout Session I, beating a tough Roadhawks White team in Inside Lacrosse's favorite championship game of the summer. Also tied a LI All-Star team and beat West Coast Starz at their own Bulldog Jamboree. Other junior teams also performed well, with Bulldogs Grey making the final of the Junior AA bracket at Tri-State and Bulldog Blue winning the Junior A title.

8. BELAX (Md.)

 

Major titles
Finalist -- Champ Camp

Players to watch
Seniors: Tony Rossi, midfield, Calvert Hall (Md.), Maryland; Pat Powderly, midfield, St. Paul's (Md.), Syracuse; Tyler Frederick, attack, McDonogh (Md.), Ohio State. Juniors: John Kelly, defense, Bullis (Md.); Bobby Gribbin, midfield, Georgetown Prep (Md.)

Final take
A strong group of elite players from the Maryland and D.C.-area prep schools, BELAX gave the Dukes all they could take in the Champ Camp final. They also rolled several top teams on the way to that title and finished third at the Evolution Games in Philly.

9. Roadhawks White (Central N.Y.)

 

Major titles
Syracuse Shootout, Finalist -- Shootout by Brine Session I

Players to watch
Billy Ward, attack, Baldwinsville (N.Y.), Syracuse; Carl Zimmerman, attack, Homer (N.Y.), Harvard; Connor Entenmann, attack, Auburn (N.Y.), Cornell; Danny Eipp, defense, Westhill (N.Y.), Harvard.

Final take
The Roadhawks' premier team won 13 games in its final two tournaments, sweeping through the Syracuse Shootout before making the finals at the Shootout by Brine Session I. Its core of juniors (John Greacen, Ari Waffle, Stephen Basile) carried the team at UMBC before falling against the CT Bulldogs.

10. NESLL U19 Black (New England)

 

Major titles
Semifinalists -- Champ Camp, Shootout By Brine

Players to watch
Josh Dionne, attack, Avon Old Farms (Mass.); Sean Shakespeare, attack, Noble and Greenough School (Mass.); Pete Bowes, defense, Walpole (Mass.)

Final take
The NESLL program finished the summer with a strong run, finishing in third place at the Shootout by Brine Session II, losing to Landon and BL on their way through the third-place game. It also dominated at Champ Camp before falling to BELAX in the semifinals.

Honorable mentions

 

Connecticut Chargers
Won the Bison Brawl and finished in the semifinals of the Crab City Challenge.

Edge Lacrosse
Seniors made the finals of the Gait Cup. Juniors won the Rutgers MXP Session II tourney.

Alcatraz Outlaws
Took home the King of the Hill Session I title with a win over Chicago/Team One.

Green Turtle
Won the Gait Cup over Edge Lacrosse Seniors.

New Hampshire Tomahawks
Made it to the final of the Long Island Lax Classic, losing to Smithtown in OT. Also solid records at showcase event UMass Mid-Summer Classic.

West Coast Starz
Did well at the UMass Lacrosse Classic showcase and performed at the Bulldog Jamboree.

For more on college lacrosse and lacrosse recruiting, check out Inside Lacrosse.