The Under Armour Underclass Games act as the most anticipated event of the summer, drawing the sport’s elite players at the high school level and pitting them against each other in a battle of regions. The event split into two for the first time: Command Division for ’19s and ’20s and the Highlight Division for ’17s and ’18s. Summer contributor Tal Bruno was there focusing on the younger guys and has provided a look at the top uncommitted players. Check back this week for more coverage from UA.
Liam Powderly ’19, A, Baltimore / McDonogh (Md.)
Powderly is the quintessential Baltimore attackman. The righty quarterback operates from behind the cage with a fierce attitude, acting as both an initiator and a finisher. His understanding of the game is impressive, but I was most impressed with how dynamic he is as a player. He isn’t huge physically, but he dodges with conviction and uses the size he has to drive defenders back when he isn’t breaking ankles. He has great vision while dodging or carrying, constantly finding teammates open for step down shots. Athletically, I liked the speed Powderly plays with, throwing in hesitation steps and super quick changes of direction on dodges in order to keep his defender guessing with every stride. In his first game on Saturday, the McDonogh product scored two identical goals, both on right-handed wraparounds from behind the cage. Each shot slammed the far pipe with authority before ending up in the goal, showcasing the power he brings to his game. He has a great feel for the game and made a strong impression throughout this tournament.
MacGregor Peterson ’19, A, New England / Taft (Conn.)
A big right-hander, Peterson finds scoring opportunities in a variety of ways, and cashed in on two of them against a tough West team on Saturday. Peterson is a shooter, but doesn’t limit himself to an off-ball, step-down position. Instead, he makes his own luck, dodging from behind, from the alleys or sweeping across the top. I watched as he swept completely across the field, exhausted his dodge, and stung one on the run for a New England goal. Later in the same game, he found open space off the ball and stepped down, unloading a tenacious overhand shot for a second goal. Peterson is a strong, athletic attackman with great size that will continue to improve and make an impact at the next level.
Joey Taylor ’19, A, Philadelphia / LaSalle College HS (Pa.)
Taylor is another tall, lanky attackman, but it is easy to see why he’s a special player. The righty from Philly quarterbacks his offense with confidence, commanding teammates and slinging crisp passes with both hands. He has good vision and field awareness, finding gaps in the defense for cutting or passing lanes and drawing slides all over the field. He loves skip passes, and often fires them from behind the goal to a middie up top for a time and room opportunity. Taylor makes waves when he dodges as well. I was left in awe after he scored on an one-handed, wrap around shot that found the back of the net catching his defender off guard, along with the goalie. He brings a crafty yet fundamental style to his game, which is both exciting and inspiring to whoever is watching.
Alexander Wicks ’20, M, Baltimore / St. Mary’s (Md.)
While he lacks the advantage of size, Wicks possesses great speed and athleticism. I was impressed with his ability to blow past defenders as he moved up field. On one play, the righty went coast-to-coast with the ball on a clear, dodged at the restraining line, and let loose a cannon on the run that smacked the far low corner. He has confidence in his abilities, and with a few inches to grow, should continue to develop. Wicks is a two-way midfielder that can play solid individual and team defense, and go on to dominate in his own offensive end. He makes a living off of his quickness and speed, and has a strong shot on the move or stationary that forces opposing defenses to slide early in hopes of containing him. He should look to be an effective initiator at the college level, even though he has four years of high school left.
Andy Andrews ’19, M, Baltimore / Gilman (Md.)
Another strong product out of Baltimore, Andrews shines in any situation. He’s a big, thick and strong midfielder that can play great lacrosse with either hand, notching two goals in one game that I had the opportunity to watch. Andrews is a downhill dodger, but also makes big plays on the crease and off-ball. He scoops up tough groundballs in the middle of the field and plays hard-nosed defense as well. Andrews throws checks without losing position, and D’s up opposing teams’ top initiators with commanding athleticism. A truly fundamental player, he can do it all, and does it humbly with a smart, yet hungry, attitude. He will certainly make an impact in Division I lacrosse, likely committing in the near future with the attention he’s garnered.
Henry Carpenter ’19, M, Midwest / MICDS (MO.)
Carpenter is a big boy, utilizing his size as he bodies up defenders and bullies his way toward the cage. The dominant midfielder creates his own opportunities, but is far from selfish. He’s a big, strong, two-way athlete with a football style of play that enables him to shoot around or over top of defenders. Carpenter can play rock solid defense, clear the ball and bring it right down the middle for a rocket on the run. He also takes the wing of face-offs, where he thrives in the groundball and transition game. His size allows him to back down opposition, putting him within his shooting range. I even saw him throw a fake, followed by a dip underneath and finally a roll before letting a shot fly around his man for a goal. In one word, Henry Carpenter is powerful, and college coaches are taking notice.
Sam Keyser ’19, D, Philadelphia / Penn Charter (Pa.)
Carving up ball carriers like Thanksgiving turkey, Keyser is a big defenseman out of the Philly area who can play both close and LSN. He makes life difficult for opponents on the wings of face-offs, throwing ferocious checks on loose balls and scooping tough groundballs under pressure. Keyser is stingy between the boxes, carefully timing up checks and forcing turnovers in stride. He has a smoothness to his stickwork that allows him to pick ball handlers apart and give possession back to his offensive unit. He is one more impressive prospect out of the Philadelphia region.
Quinn Roff ’19, D, West / San Marcos HS (Ca.)
Roff is a giant with a long pole. He is big, thick and athletic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. The big defenseman brings an aggressive mentality to the field, complimented by his great size and speed. Roff lays the lumber, slinging checks over the head and around the backs of opponents in a hailstorm of metal and muscle. He forces turnovers and pushes dodgers off their line with great strength and control. He isn’t afraid of pushing the tempo either. On one play I watched, Roff trailed into his offensive end, received a skip pass in mid-crowhop, and slammed it home for a West goal. He should fit in comfortably on a D1 defensive unit.
Will Pettit ’19, G, Philadelphia / Malvern Prep (Pa.)
A tall keeper who can fill up the net with a wide stance and high hands, Pettit drew attention from coaches and spectators the last few days. He has strong fundamentals and lets the shots come to him, reacting quickly and assertively to the ball. I was impressed with his poise on shots in tight, as he made save after save on the doorstep in the absence of defense, and even one huge save man-down that came from point blank, but was abruptly snagged out of the air. He makes the saves he’s supposed to make, and he makes the saves he isnt supposed to make. Pettit’s lights out play drew the eyes of many this weekend, and his talent wont be on the market for long.
Joey Pezzimenti ’20, A, Upstate New York / Victor (N.Y.)
Pezzimenti thrives off ball, where he finds open room to step down and unload on the goal. He’s a shorter attackman with a thick torso that he uses to lean on defenders and create seperation for his hands. He has a quick release on his shot, and it seems that with just a flick of his wrists, out comes a 90 mph fastball. Pezzimenti lets it fly underhand, overhand, or sidearm, and can place his shots anywhere on the goal. He shoots around screens and uses hitch moves to beat matchups. After seeing four of his goals created four different ways, I was impressed with his dynamic shooting ability with both hands. He’s gone slightly under the radar, but found more exposure this weekend with the Upstate team and should be on scouts’ watchlists.
Jack Neill ’19, M, South / Pace Academy (Ga.)
A super quick little righthander out of Atlanta, Neill brings a different level of athleticism to his game. He’s light and displays some blazing speed as he burns down the field. His ankle breaking split dodge down the alley leaves defenders in his wake, opening him up for a heavy shot on the run. I watched him score off of a beautiful jumpshot on the move, where he pounded in a high bouncer under the top pipe. He doesn’t have great size, but he certainly accels in the speed department. Pun intended.