Players That Impressed At The Philly Freshman Showcase

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Photo: NXT Sports

Going down this weekend at the beautiful United Sports complex in Downingtown (Pa.), NXT hosted their annual Philly Freshman Showcase, one of the most well attended and well run events of the year. The individual portion went down on Saturday afternoon, culminating with the Fab 40 All-Star Game (rosters here). Club teams took to the fields on Sunday, featuring many of the same players from the previous day. I made an effort to see as many teams that I had yet to see this month since there were teams like Leading Edge, Madlax and Edge that I had already seen in each of the last three weekends. Check out over 60 players that dazzled this past weekend:


Alex Slusher, A, Oregon Episcopal (Ore.) / 3d
Out of the 2019’s that I had yet to see headed into the event, Slusher was probably the most impressive. He’s already remarkably polished at this early stage and the attention he’s getting from top programs certainly reflects that. Slusher attacked both sides of the cage with confidence and proficiency, limited turnovers and brought heat on his shots with time and room. In addition, the amount of effort he put in during the ride jumped off the page. Posted three goals in Saturday’s All-Star Game.

Hank Bethel, D, Gilman (Md.) / Breakers
The fact that he made Gilman’s varsity football (ranked No. 19 by USA Today) team as a freshman defensive end tell you what kind of athlete he is. Physically, he looks like a young Jack Reilly. The lefty has incredible range and is relentless so much so that by Sunday afternoon, nobody wanted to go anywhere near him. He was excellent off-ball, took great approaches and absolutely ate kids alive when he was playing 1-on-1 D.

Peter Davies, A, Dover-Sherborn (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
No one put the ball in the back of the net as much as Davies did this weekend, earning the Massachusetts native runner-up honors as Saturday’s event MVP. He was extremely effective finding holes in the defense’s slide patterns, able to catch everything thrown at him before dumping it into the goal. The thick lefty got his shots off quickly and placed them well past goalies, including a beautiful one-handed shovel shot in the All-Star Game, finishing with a hat trick.

Connor Mitchell, M, Buford (Ga.) / Thunder
Grant Mitchell, M, Buford (Ga.) / Thunder
By the end of Saturday, everybody (myself included) was absolutely gushing about these twins committed to Ohio State. They’re big, dodge hard and have great athleticism, having no trouble getting their hands free and absolutely letting it fly with a tremendous amount of velocity. By my count, they each put up two goals in the ASG and were good for at least during team play on Sunday. Huge building blocks for Nick Myers and the Buckeyes.

Donny Gayhardt, D, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / NXT
With one brother at Penn and the other off to Notre Dame in the fall, Gayhardt has strong bloodlines and from the looks of it, he’s spent plenty of time in the backyard playing with his siblings. Fairly tall, he’s fundamentally sound on defense, sitting down and giving his assignment fits. His stick work will need to continue to improve but for now, he’s an excellent 1-on-1 cover man who was great throughout the weekend.

Liam O’Hara, M, McDonogh (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Standing 5’9 and 160 pounds, O’Hara is a polished midfield dodger who excelled running down the alleys and demonstrating a highly impressive shot on the run. On the defensive end, he was locking down renowned middies on the other team and got a lot of his best work done in the transition game. Definitely a recruit to watch going forward.

Andrew Giovinco, A, Syosset (N.Y.) / Team 91 
Giovinco broke through this weekend, proving to be a quick as a hiccup wing dodger who was constantly creating separation on his way to the cage. He seldom made mistakes and showed off an excellent lacrosse IQ as well as toughness on his way to scoring chances. Giovinco made some standout plays in the riding game as well.

Will Bou, F/O, Landon (Md.) / Baltimore Crabs
In the game that I saw, Bou won just about everything, popping it forward and gathering the groundball. He was remarkably quick off the whistle and made strong decisions after the win, showing that he wasn’t afraid to take it to the rack. Bou’s a name to watch for Ivy League programs and other schools with excellent academics.

Garrett Nilsen, A, St. Mary’s (Md.) / Annapolis Hawks 
Nilsen was phenomenal on Saturday and likely set himself up going well in terms of his recruitment going forward. The lefty often created offense when turning the corner, getting topside with a relentless dodging style and then finishing seamlessly. Nilsen is built pretty well for his age and also scored off some catch & shoot opportunities.

Will Frisoli, LSM, St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Helping make up a class of 2019 that is off the charts at LSM, Frisoli continued to impress this weekend to wrap up a huge fall. He roams the field with a high level of athleticism and endurance, laying nasty over-the-head checks and tenacity off the wing. When he picked up the groundball, he was always pushing transition to catalyze the offense.

Ken Wolfe, A, Southern Lehigh (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Part of a high-powered offense for Ryan Danehy’s HHH squad, Wolfe had a few great outings on Sunday, putting up a hat trick in an entertaining game against Long Island Express. He’s slightly undersized but has moves from X and a nasty release, turning the corner well. Wolfe took contact well and had a phenomenal rocker step and question mark.

Joey Corbett, M/FO, North Rockland (N.Y.) / Prime Time
It’s easy to appreciate Corbett’s game considering how many areas in which he’s able to thrive, so he’s a throwback in that sense. He scrapped at the face-off X to come up with his fair share of possessions but was also a formidable offensive midfielder who acted as a consistent sweeping shooter.

Lance Tillman, A, Valor Christian (Colo.) / FCA, 3d National
Named the day’s MVP, Tillman was a lot of fun to watch on Saturday. A textbook dodger, he’s got superb hands in tight and took a beating but almost always delivered. When carrying, he used quick footwork to get to the front of the cage, often going through a multitude of checks to make plays. Another kid who is heating up and has plenty of options to choose from.

Joseph Destro, LSM, Don Bosco (N.J.) / Patriot
After his verbal to UNC in early October, I was really looking forward to watching Destro, coming away very impressed. On the first play of the game, he picked up the GB off the wing and hammered a shot off the pipe. He was an absolute beast in the middle of the field, causing turnovers and pushing transition. Destro is a bonafide hustler who made his presence felt in every way possible. Great get for the Tar Heels.

Michael Nassif, G, Archbishop Williams (Mass.) / Fighting Clams
Nassif was impeccable in the half that I watched against Team 91, corralling at least a half dozen saves, many in spectacular fashion. He made a plethora of huge saves in close, including a nasty offside high stuff that he had no business making. He was a bit too antsy in the clearing game but was otherwise great. From what I heard the Clams’ other keeper, Patrick Mahoney, was also special throughout Sunday.

Jake Bonomi, M, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / LI Express
Committing earlier this month, Bonomi chose Michigan after visiting Notre Dame and Virginia. In the game that I caught, Bonomi sent in a pair of goals, demonstrating a smooth and savvy dodging style when blowing down the alley. He did a great job fighting through pressure and heavy checks in order to get his hands free and has a phenomenal release, just flicking his wrists to get shots off.

HONORABLE MENTION
Owen Murphy, A, Medfield (Mass.) / 3d National – Hopkins
Reece Lagerquist, LSM, Scarborough (Me.) / 3d National
Scott Bower, LSM/D, Episcopal Dallas (Tex.) / 3d National – Virginia
Immanuel Brown, M, Pallotti (Md.) / Baltimore Breakers
Carson Marano, G, Penn Charter (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Carson Peck, M, Avon Grove (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Gavin Tygh, F/O, Penn Charter (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH – Virginia 
Bayard DeMallie, A, Deerfield (Mass.) / Building Blocks
Walker Stevens, M, Westminster (Conn.) / Eclipse
Finn O’Connor, G, Fairfield Prep (Conn.) / Eclipse
Tyler Previte, D, Wilton (Conn.) / Express North
John Schreiber, M, Iona Prep (N.Y.) / Express North
Keegan Doller, M, Yorktown (N.Y.) / Express North
Noah Gels, A, Ridgefield (Conn.) / Express North
Henry Cherington, D, Salisbury (Conn.) / Fighting Clams
Noah Klein, G, Friends (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Jansen Pusateri, D, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Daniel Kelly ’20, A, Calvert (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Colin Almeida, M, Falmouth (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Konrad Knaus, A, Sandwich (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Conor Calderone, F/O, Smithtown West (N.Y.) / Laxachusetts – Maryland 
Tommy Bavuso, D, Rumon-Fair Haven (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Connor Drake, M, Wilton (Conn.) / LI Express
Michael Farrell, M, Manhasset (N.Y.) / LI Express
Andrew Tyeryar, F/O, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) / Madlax
Ryan Niggeman, LSM, Haverford (Pa.) / Mesa Fresh
Zach Neufang, D, Liverpool (N.Y.) / Orange Crush
Christian Tomei, G, Oxbridge (Fla.) / Palm Beach Revolution – Ohio St.
Mitch Moyer, A, Archer Academy (Del.) / NXT
Matthew Houston, M, Hempfield (Pa.) / NXT
Gabriel Furey, M, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) / NXT
Ryan Minter, M, Delbarton (N.J.) / Patriot
Christian Ronda, A, Brunswick (Conn.) / Prime Time
Dillon Morgan, M, Fox Lane (N.Y.) / Prime Time
John Hufnagel, D, Iona Prep (N.Y.) / Prime Time
Matthew Pallazi, F/O, Mountain Lakes (N.J.) / STEPS
Drew Brennfleck, M, Mountain Lakes (N.J.) / STEPS
Cade MacLeod, A, Roswell (Ga.) / Thunder
Frankie Ciniglio, D, Ward Melville (N.Y.) / Team 91
Greg Campisi, LSM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91
Jake Caputo, M, Middle Creek  (N.C.) / Team 91
Kenny Brower, D, Kellenberg Memorial (N.Y.) / Team 91
Quentin Matsui, D, Eden Prairie (Minn.) / Team Minnesota
Andrew DiFrancesco, A, Minnetonka (Minn.) / Team Minnesota
Canyon Birch, A, Manasquan (N.J.) / Upstate

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