Ten 2017’s and 2018’s That Thrived At Big 4 Champions League

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Madlax’s Spencer Alston ’18 (Cred: William Stewart Photography)

Set on the picturesque campus of Hill School in Pottstown (Pa.) this past weekend, Billy McKinney and the Big 4 HHH program ran their annual Champions League event, which has quickly turned into one of the most talent-laden events of the year. Sophomores and juniors took the field on Sunday to play in front of dozens of college coaches, following up on a phenomenal day of 2019 play on the previous day. Take a look below at some of the most impressive ’17s and ’18s and check back tomorrow evening for an extensive recap of the freshman event.

On site once again, freelance photographer William Stewart provided some excellent art from Sunday’s action. Scroll through the slideshow for pictures of Edge, FCA, LI Express, Madlax, HHH, Laxachusetts, 3d Pacific and Leading Edge. Stewart’s website with all of his work can be seen here.

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Spencer Alston ’18, LSM/D, Madlax / South Lakes (Va.)
What I appreciate about Alston is that, unlike many other young d-men, he is equally adept at covering guys both behind the cage and up top. Though carrying less than ideal height at 5’8, he possesses a sturdy frame and has a pitbull mentality, especially between the lines shadowing opponents 1-on-1 or with wing play. Alston is able to flip his hips quickly and keep up with players of all skill sets and sizes, also demonstrating an excellent handle in transition.

Colby Smith ’17, M, NXT / Hempfield (Pa.)
Even when playing slightly injured like he was on Sunday, Smith is an absolute load to handle. The future Ohio State Buckeye displayed soft hands inside, above average shot accuracy and fantastic play without the ball. Having racked up 86 goals and 23 helpers last spring, Smith has upped his shooting stroke and looks bigger and stronger than he was in the summer.

Alex Bamford ’18, A, Express North / Brunswick (Conn.)
At this point, Bamford has established himself as arguably the best pure shooter in the class and continued to prove that  after recently switching from Team 91 to Express North. The Michigan commit did an excellent job creating shots for himself with a few remarkable cuts and then got the ball out in a hurry with a ton of velocity. His most dramatic play was in the afternoon against Madlax, catching a pass five yards from the cage, turning quickly and then sending in a shovel shot low past the goalie.

Jack Frisoli ’17, M, Laxachusetts / St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) 
One of the headliners of a great 2017 group headed to Cambridge (read more about them here), Frisoli is an Energizer bunny of a midfielder and a joy to watch. He explodes out of his dodge to leave his matchup steps behind and then does a great job blasting well-placed shots on the run. It was clear that whenever he was out there, Laxachusetts was much better off and were always boosted by his big plays.

Jake Stout ’17, G, FCA Maryland / Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
Bound for Towson, the junior stood on his head in a major way during the second half against an offensively gifted Leading Edge group. Poised and blessed with rapid hand speed, Stout saw the ball impeccably from all release points and distances. When he wasn’t frustrating the shooters from New Jersey, he was active out of the cage with clears across the midline or GB’s near the endline.

Matt Moore ’17, M, Big 4 HHH / Garnet Valley (Pa.) 
It may sound farfetched but based on how Moore has developed, it’s almost as if the nation’s No. 1 junior could play at Virginia right now. The youngest player invited to August’s training camp for the U.S. team, Moore makes it look easy and can run all day thanks to a background on the soccer pitch. His best feature is a lights out split dodge to create separation before unleashing cannons on the run to stymie keepers.

Corey McManus ’17, A, Leading Edge / Summit (N.J.)
Brian Tevlin ’17, M, Leading Edge / Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)
Connor Morin ’17, A, Leading Edge / Morristown Beard (N.J.)
Quite frankly, it feels like these guys have been in high school forever. Coming off a highly successful summer both individually and as a team, this trio led the way for Leading Edge during Sunday’s games. McManus has definitely progressed, using a thick frame to his advantage when working his way to the cage and canning goals with a nasty release. Committing to Yale back in the summer, Tevlin is another kid who has put himself on a national radar, ranked 80th in the Class of 2017. His confidence was apparent as he was shaking touted opposing middies and showing a deft shot with both his left and right. Contributor Bill Tharp highlighted Morin (Villanova) earlier this week, but the imposing five-star attackman was once again highly impressive. He made some plays beyond his years and rarely made any mistakes when quarterbacking the Leading Edge attack.

Liam Bateman ’18, M, FCA Maryland / Loyola Blakefield (Md.) 
One of nine commits on FCA’s 2018 team, Bateman is a stock-rising type who is appearing more and more comfortable at midfield after converting from attack less than a year ago. Frequently getting to his strong hand on the run, the Loyola-bound sophomore was great on both ends of the field, snagging an interception and then sprinting upfield in transition.

OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED

Scott MacMillan ’18, G, Big 4 HHH / Conestoga (Pa.)
Brett Hobbs ’18, A/M, Big 4 HHH / Salesianum (Del.)
Mac McLaughlin ’18, A, Big 4 HHH / Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) – AIR FORCE
Thor Adamec ’18, LSM/D, Express North / John Jay (N.Y.)
Zach Green ’18, A, FCA Maryland / Calvert Hall (Md.) – MARYLAND
Jacob Kelly ’18, A, FCA Maryland / Calvert Hall (Md.) – NORTH CAROLINA
Peter Ahonen ’17, G, Laxachusetts / Brooks (Mass.)
Jake Antonucci ’18, A, Laxachusetts / Westwood (Mass.)
Patrick Tully ’17, D, Leading Edge / Summit (N.J.) – LAFAYETTE 
Ben Berke ’18, A, Leading Edge / Lawrenceville (N.J.)
Connor McCulloch ’18, A, Madlax / St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.)
Austin Stewart ’18, M, Madlax / St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) – DENVER

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