2019 Standouts From The NLF Showcase and Crabfeast

29945f4d-6899-4e27-b690-33b611585e40Perennially one of the most well attended team tournaments of the summer, the Baltimore Crabs organization hosted their annual Crabfeast for the classes of 2017 through 2020, welcoming over 110 college coaches to a multitude of different sites in the area. In the 2019 age group, Madlax toppled the Crabs in the final, avenging a title game loss from the Platinum Cup and winning Crabfeast for the second year in a row.

Before the team event went down, the NLF hosted a fantastic one-day event to showcase the rising sophomore Class of 2019s from the participating teams, providing an extra look at a ton of uncommitted (and committed) talent. I honed in on the ’19s on each of the three days, also receiving help from intern T.J. Oursler on Saturday. Make sure to check back soon for an additional report from Oursler & Tal Bruno covering the ’17s, ’18s and ’20s. 

Christian Ronda, A, Prime Time / Brunswick (Conn.)
Ronda is an undersized but effective operator from X, beating his defender with smooth roll dodges and remarkable lateral quickness.  He is a threat to score or feed the backside, as he always had his head up when coming around the cage, looking for an unmarked teammate on the crease.  Ronda has a quick release that puzzled goalies and allowed him to consistently put the ball in the back of the net when finishing from within five yards.

Alex Breschi, M, FCA Maryland / Loyola Blakefield (Md.) – North Carolina
Breschi is a tough, two-way middie that made plays all over the field that proved to be instrumental to FCA’s success throughout the tournament.  He played hard between the lines, picking up key ground balls off the wing and acting as a one man clear on multiple occasions, using his speed and strength to blow by riding attackmen. In 6v6 situations, the future Tar Heels’ offensive prowess was on full display, using a right-to-right split to beat the pole and a hard overhand shot to overpower the keeper.    

Will Cory, A, Madlax / Episcopal (Va.)
Helping make up an outstanding attack unit for the tournament champs, Cory had a few really nice outings over the course of the weekend to raise his stock. The 5’10, 165-pound rising sophomore showed prowess with both his left and right, rolling back to his strong hand around the cage while showing deft vision and big-goal ability. He got underneath his man and also tended to show grit in the riding game on a frequent basis.

Connor Humiston, A, Crabs / Georgetown Prep (Md.)
Humiston is a high IQ player who understood spacing impeccably and is sneaky without the ball from his spot high on the crease. Carrying a sturdy frame, the crafty Virginia commit caught everything and buried the majority of his shots, often the beneficiary of pretty feeds from linemate Liam Powderly. 

Nick Harris, M, Resolute / Dublin Coffman (Oh.)
Securing a commitment to Notre Dame (their first 2019) hours after the event, Harris was on a different level in Friday’s showcase. The lefty was able to get to the spots and fill up the net with his high level of athleticism and a nasty split dodge, also making things happen re-dodging or rolling back. Slick, well-rounded and useful in the middle of the field, Harris opened a lot of people’s eyes and will be fun to watch going forward.

Sam Sweeney, LSM, Annapolis Hawks / Gonzaga (D.C)
After a strong freshman year for the Eagles, Sweeney displayed his range and aggressiveness this past weekend, throwing precise checks that dislodged the ball from his opponent time and time again.  He was dangerous in transition, scooping the ball off the turf and using his wheels to fly down the field and create 4 v. 3 fast breaks.  Sweeney is athletic enough to match feet with quick middies and has the size to stand his ground against bigger players that like to dodge downhill.  His best asset was the intensity at which he played, something that you don’t always see out of kids at summer tournaments.

Peter Garno, M, Mesa Fresh / Haverford (Pa.)
The UVA-bound Philly product is a polished middie who found ways to get his hands free for accurate shots, both on the run and with time and room.  Garno has clearly put a lot of time in on the wall, as he has a great stick and efficient release.  He had a quick burst out of his split dodge that allowed him to create separation and consistently get off high percentage shots.  Garno is a deadly shooter with a technically sound overhand release, burying a number of shots within twelve yards both of the times I saw him play.

Connor Drake, A/M, Long Island Express / Wilton (Conn.)
For the second weekend in a row I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to see Drake play, and once again, he didn’t disappoint.  He routinely burned defenders down the left alley and on one occasion, he unleashed a sidearm shot into the top corner that fired up his teammates and gave them the spark they needed to close out the win. The future Blue Devil is simply a fun player to watch because of his flashy style of play, elite speed, and innate ability to make even the hardest plays look easy.

Peter Davies, A, Laxachusetts / Taft (Conn.)
Among the top performers during the fall recruiting period, Davies missed the previous two weekends while finishing up a huge season with Dover-Sherborn in the Massachusetts playoffs. On Friday, he was lights out, utilizing face dodges or inside rolls on the way to the cage and taking advantage of his big 200-pound frame and cannon of a shot. As of now, Davies has his choice of a few Big 10 programs as well as a handful of others.

Weston Carpenter, M, Express North / Ridgefield (Conn.)
Carpenter was a key cog for the Express North squad that fared well, making noticeable plays in a number of ways. He’s not particularly explosive but still demonstrated a smooth dodging style of up top and strong stick skills as well as an awesome three-quarters release while creating offense from the alleys. Fellow middies Jack Howe (Pleasantville, N.Y.) and Keegan Doller (Yorktown, N.Y.) also impressed on that team.

Christian Mule, A, Team 91 / Half Hollow Hills West (N.Y.)
When he wants to be, Mule is as productive as anybody in the entire class. It’s very apparent that he has a phenomenal field sense, playing the role of facilitator or go-to goal scorer to provide 91 with a boost. He liked to create going from behind the cage or from the corners, using a quick first step and the ability to run through checks. I’d like to see him be a touch more consistent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still one of the more coveted uncommitted attackmen.

Owen Cauley, D, Crabs / Severn (Md.)
Cauley is a defenseman who is starting to come on really strong. He won’t wow you with any one quality more than the other and is way more effective than he is flashy, taking awesome approaches to ball carriers and patrolling traffic around the cage. He never got caught up ball watching and was always man conscious, combining with Regan McNemar (Boys’ Latin) and Xander Martin (Gilman) for the Crabs defense.

Michael Swirbalus, M, Laxachusetts / St. Sebastian’s (Mass.)
An energetic and hard-nosed athlete, Swirbalus showed great consistency and made plays that jumped off the page in his three days in Maryland. In Friday’s event, he had three goals in 20 minutes while also becoming an asset for the offense by drawing the early slide and dumping the ball to the open man. Set to transfer from Westwood to Seb’s, he has tremendous torque and accuracy on his shot after creating separation. Committed to Cornell back in October.

Colton Teitelbaum, G, LI Express / Locust Valley (N.Y.)
Bound for Loyola in a couple of seasons, Teitelbaum looks to be one of the more polished keepers in the 2019 group. Express rallied around him when he was in between the pipes, relying on him to communicate orders and keep guys in the right places. He made tough save after tough save whether it was with his stick or body, tossed out outlets that were on the money and had the all-important short memory after giving up the occasional goal.

Sam Parkinson, M, Alcatraz Outlaws / St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
Immanuel Brown, M, Breakers / St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)
Hank Bethel, D, Breakers / Gilman (Md.)
Bayard DeMallie, A, Building Blocks / Deerfield Academy (Mass.)
Liam Powderly, A, Crabs / McDonogh (Md.)
Bryson Shaw, M, Crabs / Mt. St. Joe – MARYLAND
Jackson Braden, D, Eclipse / New Canaan (Conn.)
Ryan Schriber, D, Express North / Wilton (Conn.) – MICHIGAN
Lance Tillman, A, FCA Maryland / Valor Christian (Colo.) – UNC
Noah Klein, G, FCA Maryland / Friends (Md.)
Jack Spence, M, Big 4 HHH / Springfield (Pa.)
Connor Zachar, M, Laxachusetts / Phillips Andover (Mass.)
Cole Biggins, LSM/D, Laxachusetts / Duxbury (Mass.)
Tommy Bavuso, D, Leading Edge / Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.)
Christopher Kirschner, M, Leading Edge / Hunterdon Central (N.J.)
Sean Derby, D, LI Express / St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Chris Glynn, M, LI Express / Manhasset (N.Y.) – GEORGETOWN
Michael Grogan, LSM, Madlax / Episcopal (Va.)
Robert Schain, M, Madlax / Bullis (Md.)
Connor Shellenberger, A, Madlax / St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) – HOPKINS
Gavin McGill, M/FO, Mesa Fresh / Malvern Prep (Pa.)
Ryan Niggeman, LSM, Mesa Fresh / Haverford (Pa.)
Teddy Donnellan, LSM/D, NH Tomahawks / Brewster Academy (N.H.)
Christian Tomei, G, Palm Beach Revolution / Oxbridge Academy (Fla.) – OHIO STATE
Mashod Harrison, M, Patriot / Delbarton (N.J.)
Michael Gottlieb, M, Prime Time / Brunswick (Conn.)
Joey Corbett, M/FO, Prime Time / Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) – MARYLAND
Kyle Beasley, M, Resolute / Loveland (Oh.)
Van Parker, A, Team 91 / Broughton (N.C.)
Greg Campisi, LSM, Team 91 / St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Andrew DiFrancesco, A, Team Minnesota / Minnetonka (Minn.) – DENVER
Jack Neill, M, Thunder / Pace Academy (Ga.)
Kyle Susko, G, VLC / Westfield (Va.)


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