Division I Rookie Watch: Attackmen Reeves, Abbadessa, Fields and Walsch Lead The Pack

Photo by Don ClarkThis week’s edition of Rookie Watch focuses entirely on the attack position, where loads of players have put up eye-catching numbers early on. One could argue that it’s the easiest position for coaches to “plug and play” freshmen, and newcomers all over the map have taken advantage of their opportunities so far in February.

Take a look at the inaugural post on this topic, which highlighted Denver’s Trevor Baptiste, Duke’s Justin Guterding, ND’s Mikey Wynne and standouts at Villanova and Hopkins.

Up at Colgate, touted attackman and Arizona native Anthony Abbadessa has been a key cog in the Raiders’ 3-0 start, registering nine points through three games including a trio of EMO tallies. I loved the Desert Vista HS product in high school, watching him put on a show at Maverik Showtime, the Under Armour Underclass Games and with the West Coast Starz organization. His vision and confidence around the cage was always really strong and it appears that he’s had no trouble adjusting to the next level.

Bucknell – the Raiders’ opponent this weekend – has also seen their young bucks impress. No. 49 freshman Will Sands (Friends Academy, N.Y.) was the highlight of the Bison’s No. 13 incoming recruiting class and was the Patriot League Rookie of the Week after putting up three assists in a big win at Navy. Other newcomers for Bucknell have appeared in the lineup, both defensively and offensively, and will assuredly be highlighted on here in the coming weeks.

Air Force has faltered in February with their 1-3 record (though two L’s were to Duke and Denver), but consider freshman attackman Chris Walsch a bright spot. After spending a year at Air Force Prep following his successful career at MIAA power Gilman, the crafty finisher has broken out with a whopping 12 goals and three assists, including a five-goal performance against Marist. He’s a tough kid with a strong hockey and soccer background, so the 8 GB’s (third on the team) make plenty of sense. During his underrated career as a Greyhound, Walsch always showed a knack for sticking his nose in the dirt, making things happen in the riding game or embracing contact on his way to the goal. Players like that thrive in college lacrosse and will earn the attention of college coaching staffs right off the bat.

With Lyle Thompson out of their Drexel game with an injury, Albany’s Connor Fields – the No. 15 recruit in the land – stepped up and put together an 3g, 3a outing to earn America East Rookie of the Week honors en route to a big 15-8 win over the Dragons. Coming out of Buffalo’s Bishop Timon, the lefty put up video game numbers during his career, holding the New York state record for goals in a season with 129 tallies during his junior season. Fields isn’t particularly big or athletic (though his hockey background is apparent) but he’s outstanding off-ball, an increasingly confident carrier and a lights out shooter from just about anywhere. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with all of the pieces in the Great Danes’ offense, once they’re healthy and in midseason form chemistry-wise. Fields (#5) can be seen below in Lax.com’s game highlights:

I had been hearing rave reviews about Yale’s Ben Reeves (2g’s vs. Maryland) and after watching him play live for the Bulldogs, I came away really impressed with what the two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week brings to the table. Relatively unheralded out of Pal-Mac (a school way off most people’s radars) , the No. 77 recruit and former Hobart commit is already a tremendous offensive force for the Elis. He’s showed off a fearless and opportunistic dodging style as well as a special chemistry with Conrad Oberbeck, which showed on Saturday afternoon in an entertaining game at Reese Stadium. In particular, I loved how Reeves uses his size, seldom made mistakes and dodged with his head up while going to the cage.

Elsewhere on the Bulldogs’ roster, freshman face-off midfielder Conor Mackie (Delbarton, N.J.) did a yeoman’s job at X, grinding it out to go for 8-for-10 with five groundballs. His effort in the second half was a significant reason why Yale was able to cash in on their possessions while also holding the Terps scoreless in the fourth quarter. Have to imagine that both players could be relied on down the stretch, while rookie defender Jerry O’Connor (Benjamin School, Fla.) has also seen a lot of playing time so far after impressing in practice.

The lacrosse world continues to take notice of the success of Villanova’s Danny Seibel, who was mentioned in this piece last week. Checking back in on his progress in the Wildcats’ two games since that update, the Belmont Hill (Mass.) graduate and former Fighting Clams standout has kept up his February success. During a matinee game at Drexel on Wednesday, Seibel put up four goals on the Dragons to put his season total at 10 goals all while shooting a superb 55.6% and leading a young offense. Georgetown Prep alum Charlie Horning, the No. 22 freshman in IL’s Recruiting Issue, recorded his first college points in the form of one goal and one assist.

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