Notable Scores From The Week, Games to Watch This Weekend, Hill-IMG Recap

IMG_1705.PNGIntriguing results have been everywhere so far this spring, as parity has been full blast and Top 25 teams are already dropping like flies.

The Hill Academy (Ont.) holds down the top spot in North America, validating it with a 18-8 win over IMG Academy (Fla.) on Monday, written up in full below. Bullis (Md.), McDonogh (Md.), IMG Academy (Fla.) and Smithtown East (N.Y.) round out the top five, though that list will be updated on Sunday as it is every week. Catch up on the StringKing / Recruiting Rundown Top 25 here and check back Sunday for an update.

Sponsored by Sideline Swap, our Top 25 private school rankings saw some change with Bullis taking over the top spot. The Bulldogs begin conference play on Friday against Episcopal School of northern Virginia.

An addition to the weekly Recruiting Rundown schedule, G3 Lacrosse – the lovechild of top professional keepers Adam Ghitelman, Kip Turner and John Galloway – will be sponsoring a Goalie of the Week award beginning on Monday. To nominate a goalie after a big week, e-mail with stats, links, photos & video when applicable.

St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 5, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Malvern Prep (Pa.) 15, La Salle (Pa.) 10
No. 13 Gonzaga (D.C.) 12, Paul VI (Va.) 6
Georgetown Prep (Md.) 12, Gilman (Md.) 6
St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) 6, La Costa Canyon (Calif.) 5
Victor (N.Y.) 21, Webster Thomas (N.Y.) 7
Regis Jesuit (Colo.) 14, St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) 10
Landon (Md.) 13, Mt. St. Joe (Md.) 8
Torrey Pines (Calif.) 15, Cherry Creek (Colo.) 11
Manhasset (N.Y.) 11, John Jay (N.Y.) 9
West Islip (N.Y.) 9, Ward Melville 7
New Canaan (Conn.) 8, Fairfield Prep (Conn.) 7

Episcopal (Va.) at No. 2 Bullis (Md.)
No. 20 Landon (Md.) at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.)
Foothill (Calif.) at No. 23 St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) at Noble & Greenough (Mass.)
Upper Arlington (Oh.) at St. Xavier (Oh.)

No. 13 Gonzaga (D.C.) at No. 17 Haverford (Pa.)
Carmel (Ind.) at Brother Rice (Mich.)
No. 9 Deerfield (Mass.) at No. 25 Westminster (Conn.)
Garden City (N.Y.) vs. No. 21 Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) at Haverford, Pa.
No. 14 Hun School (N.J.) at Lawrenceville (N.J.)
Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) at Delbarton (N.J.)
Mountain Lakes (N.J.) at Ridgewood (N.J.)
Niskayuna (N.Y.) at No. 8 Darien (Conn.)
No. 5 Smithtown East (N.Y.) at Greenwich (Conn.)
Syosset (N.Y.) at Northport (N.Y.)


There wasn’t much doubt as to who deserved the No. 1 spot at this point in the season. Beginning the spring as North America’s top-ranked team, Hill Academy (Ont.) waltzed through their annual Mid-Atlantic trip, reeling off wins over some of Maryland’s most established private school programs.

On Monday, however, the Pride asserted its dominance more than ever, scoring the game’s final nine goals to beat No. 4 IMG Academy (Fla.), 18-8.

The formula was not unlike what they’d used in their four previous wins over Top 25 wins, it was just elevated to another level. Hill went 22-for-30 at the face-off X, including an impressive 19-of-26 mark from Ohio State 2017 recruit Justin Inacio.

“Justin has such attention to detail and we have complete trust and confidence in him,” said Hill head coach Brodie Merrill. “That’s a good feeling when you have that in a face-off guy so we wanted to control the pace and dictate. We kept telling him we’re looking for base hits out of him and not home runs. When you get possessions like that with our offense, it’s a good formula.”

The Pride maintained impeccable ball movement and sneaky off-ball play that made IMG’s heads spin. On the other end, the defense clamped down to limit a team that had been lighting up opposing teams for 20+ goals in several of their most recent outings. A postgrad from Rivers School (Mass.), future Buckeye goalie Josh Kirson made 14 stops, using his imposing frame and quick hands to frustrate opposing shooters.

“We really felt heading into the spring that the defense and goaltending would be real strengths of ours,” said Merrill, who is considered one of the best longpoles of all time. “Each one of them brings something different but they’re starting to build some good chemistry there. There’s great defensive midfield play too and they wanted to respond to the challenge.”

The game – which was moved to from Buffalo’s Canisius College to a state-of-the-art indoor facility an hour and a half away outside of Rochester – wasn’t always one-sided. The first half was fast-paced and intense, featuring upwards of 12 players who will represent Team Canada in this summer’s U-19 World Games.

Embarking on a spring trip of their own, IMG Academy found themselves in a 5-1 hole midway through the second quarter then a 7-4 deficit at halftime. They re-grouped and found some energy out of the half, as Vermont signee Ben French scored less than a minute into the third to make it 7-5 before the teams traded goals. Unfortunately for them, French’s EMO tally to make it 9-8 would be the last goal that the Ascenders would put on the board.

With Inacio dominating face-offs, Hill was able to pour it on with a combination of smart, methodical possessions and precise transition play. It seemed that they were constantly able to get offense right on the doorstep where the soft-handed Canadian finishers could dunk it in with ease.

“Face-offs are always a big part of the game and they were absolutely dominant there. Possessions and possession time were key factors in the second half as they went into the fourth quarter and took all of the momentum and win out of our offense,” said IMG head coach Bill Shatz after the game. “We were right there in the third quarter at 9-8 and had a couple of quick turnovers and they were capitalized so things started to swing real fast.”

The battle featured two of North America’s most heralded scorers in Hill’s Cornell-bound lefty attackman Jeff Teat (RR’s No. 30 senior) and IMG’s heralded uncommitted attackman Tehoka Nanticoke, ranked 19th in the whole class but plans to stay at IMG for a postgrad year and join the Class of 2017. Often face-guarded, slid to early and locked down by Jeff Henrich (Ohio State), Nanticoke was mostly held in check but being the player he is, he was able to get free and provide a playmaking spark at times. Teat faced the same type of treatment but still finished with four goals and three assists. Elsewhere, Denver-bound junior Riley Curtis, also a lefty, found a ton of success with a five-point day to continue an outstanding year for the Pride.

Hill will have some more time off and will head across the border on April 17th for a matchup with Culver Academy at Brother Rice HS outside of Detroit. They’ll also have a Philly stretch with games against La Salle (Pa.) and Salesianum (Del.) on the 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

IMG, meanwhile, continues on a jaunt through the Northeast. On Thursday, they knocked off a strong Westfield (N.J.), 9-5. The Ascenders’ game against Navy Prep (R.I.) was canceled, however they’ll move on to play four more games to finish out the schedule: Bergen Catholic, Lawrenceville, St. Augustine and Seton Hall Prep.

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