The 2017 season didn’t end the way Malvern Prep would have wanted it to.
The Friars started the year 5-0 with wins over MIAA powers Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield, as well as PIAA state qualifiers St. Joseph’s Prep, Garnet Valley and Strath Haven, before losing a pair of games to La Salle and rival Haverford School. They couldn’t consistently get back to the way they started and ultimately finished 17-6. That’s a good record just about anywhere, but Malvern couldn’t help but wonder what could have been.
2018 might give you an indicator, and the inaugural Philly’s Elite Invitational showed why. The Friars knocked off Chester County rival Conestoga, 10-7, in the championship game, capping a perfect 6-0 run in the tournament. Penn State commits Seamus Glynn and Jack Traynor were tabbed as co-MVPs for Malvern.
Next year, Glynn will likely slot into Billy Coyle’s lefty attack spot. Glynn, a natural attackman, had to carve out minutes for himself out of the midfield this year, but he’ll revert back to his usual spot next year. He’ll take an added season of knowledge into that role.
“I think that learning behind guys like Billy Coyle, you get a lot of experience and learn the position. He’s a great player and he taught me a lot,” Glynn said. “I think we’ll do really well next year. We’ve got a lot of good guys – a lot of hype riding on us – and I think we can deliver if we work hard in the offseason and keep getting better.”
The Philly Elite Invitational included 18 of the best teams from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Malvern reached the final by handling Friends Schools League champion Academy of the New Church, while the Pioneers nipped Mountain Lakes in the other semifinal, 3-2, in overtime on a Chris Cara goal. The excellent competition meant that nearly every game was competitive and allowed coaches to see how their players reacted against top competition.
No competition, though, was better than Malvern. The Friars will be absolutely loaded again next year and, if the PEI was any indicator, as deep as anyone can be.
“I thought it was a great tournament,” Glynn added. “Conestoga played really well. ANC played well. I think our biggest takeaway as a team was that we have a lot of young guys step up and play really well. I think we’re looking good going into the season. The roster’s deep with a lot of guys who can play and it gives me hope for Malvern lacrosse in the future.”
Uncommitted Standouts at the Philly Elite Invitational
Academy of the New Church
Dave Closterman, A, 2018
The Lions’ staff is incredibly high on Closterman, and it’s not hard to see why. Fresh off of a 52-goal, 91-point that helped him garner all-state honors, Closterman was a man amongst boys at the PEI. An all-around lefty threat, he does a great job of finding his open teammates, but he’s also a big-time scorer. Closterman should be the focal point of what’s expected to be a strong offensive core for ANC next season.
Team MVP: Closterman
Honorable Mention: Seamus Hogan, LSM/D, 2018; Milo Navarro, M, 2018.
Scott MacMillan, G, 2018
If there’s a better ’18 uncommitted goalie in the country, I’d love to see him. MacMillan is that good, and it’s surprising to see him still off the board. If he were three inches taller, he’d have been snapped up a long time ago. He does everything else well. MacMillan, also a hockey player, has a strong command of the Pioneers’ defense and will be a three-year starter for Brody Bush. He moves well with good quickness, makes excellent decisions in the clearing game and is very tough to beat in close.
Team MVP: Tate Kienzle, M, 2018
Honorable Mention: Kienzle
James Barretta, M, 2018
The brother of incoming Maryland freshman Tori, Barretta has a style that will endear him to any coach. He’s a jack-of-all-trades and a master of ground balls, and when he dabbles at attack, he rides as well as anyone. Need a man-down guy or an ace on the faceoff wing? Barretta can handle that, too.
Team MVP: Nico Iacovino, G, 2020
Honorable Mention: Iacovino; Jack Riley, M, 2019
Brent Meilinger, M, 2018
Another do-it-all type out of the midfield out of a program that’s produced some good ones, Meilinger showed off an impressive offensive game at the PEI. A slick middie who can go either righty or lefty, he’s also got the lacrosse IQ to go with his classroom dominance – he sports a GPA of more than 4.0 – and he’ll be a good late pickup for someone.
Team MVP: Meilinger
Honorable Mention: Devon Boyko, LSM, 2019
Chris McCoun, M, 2018
McCoun found his way into the Churchmen’s lineup early in his career thanks to strong defensive work, but at the PEI, he was one of EA’s top goal scorers. His offensive game has come a long way and his defensive presence hasn’t gone anywhere. He’ll occasionally take a wing on face-offs and he’s developed into quite an asset in transition.
Team MVP: Jack Henderson, F/O, 2019 – Penn State commit
Honorable Mention: Rowan Brumbaugh, A, 2019
Hunter Baar, A/M, 2019
Baar played his best lacrosse this spring down the stretch for the Jaguars and that play carried over to the PEI. A natural lefty, he showed a newfound ability to bury goals with his off-hand, which makes his natural athleticism and dodging ability even deadlier. He’s quick and smart, and with Garnet Valley graduating more than 250 points, he’ll be counted upon to step up next season.
Team MVP: Baar
Honorable Mention: Austin Patton, D, 2018
Gavin McGill, M, 2019
A former face-off guy, McGill’s game has significantly evolved, and at the PEI, he showed off his offensive game. The lefty is reliable and he’s got a strong shot, and he’s earned the trust of Malvern’s coaching staff on the defensive end. A vocal leader, he should find himself earning more playing time next spring.
Team MVP: Jack Traynor, A/M, 2018, – committed to Penn State. Seamus Glynn, A/M, 2018 – committed to Penn State.
Honorable Mention: Rowan Cabahug-Almonte, FO/M, 2020. Michael Voehringer, FO/M, 2020.
Jake Huey, FO/M, 2018
Huey enjoyed a strong PEI, displaying good athleticism and a dependable stick when he had the ball. He frequently went forward on his wins and proved to be a threat from inside 12 yards, and he showed that he’s able that he can play a little defense if he needs to.
Team MVP: Alex Viola, A, 2018 – committed to Marist.
Honorable Mention: Marlon Weathers, M, 2019
Mountain Lakes (N.J.)
Ben Kaplan, D, 2018
A leader on the back end for the Lakers, Kaplan showed the ability to lock down just about anyone who dared to try to dodge on him. He’s big, strong and tough, which is never a good combination if you’re an opposing attackman going against him. Mountain Lakes had a stingy defense with good goalies, and Kaplan is one of the biggest reasons for that success.
Team MVP: Matt Barkauskas, A, 2018 – committed to Bucknell
Honorable Mention: Scott Mourtzanakis, A, 2018
Matt Dougherty, A/M, 2018
Dougherty possesses good size and can let it fly at 5 by 5. You’re asking for trouble if you let him get his hands free. He was Penncrest hockey’s leading scorer in the winter, and his stick-handling ability translates well to the lacrosse field. He’s got a solid handle, but he’s also works hard at the other end of the field and has blossomed into a strong two-way midfielder.
Team MVP: Dougherty
Honorable Mention: Shane Stevens, G, 2020
Connor Pierce, M, 2018
Pierce was the Raiders’ top midfielder in his first season after transferring in from California. A tall, athletic middie who had a strong Under Armour tryout for Team Philly, Pierce has a good shot and can run for days. Expect him to be one of the Central League’s best middies next year.
Team MVP: Pierce
Honorable Mention: Drew Brown, A, 2019
Zane Johnston, A, 2018
Johnston can turn on the afterburners and leave anyone in the dust. He pairs that excellent speed with excellent field vision and versatility. He’s more than capable of playing midfield, too, and he’s a great student. He had a showstopper while flying through the crease against Strath Haven where he toasted his defender and flung in a backhander while absorbing contact.
Team MVP: Johnston
Honorable Mention: Sean Crowley, A, 2018
Pat Clemens, D, 2019
Clemens will not be uncommitted for much longer. He started as a freshman on the Cougars’ 2016 state title-winning team, and this year, he was Springfield’s top cover guy as the Cougars won their second consecutive title. He’s a versatile chess piece that you can move around without making him uncomfortable. An All-American as a sophomore, he can play either close or LSM with ease and he’ll even face off in a pinch. Clemens embodies the Springfield identity as a tough-as-nails, skilled guy who’s a nightmare to play against without being flashy.
Team MVP: Clemens
Honorable Mention: Liam DiFonzo, M, 2019
Gage Warrell, D, 2018
Spring-Ford took some hits to graduation on defense, but if Warrell’s play at the PEI is any indicator, the Rams will be just fine next year. He’s big, fast and physical, but he doesn’t play out of control. He’s strong positionally, can cover well and is an effective communicator on the back end.
Team MVP: Jarrod Marenger, A/M, 2018 – committed to Frostburg State
Honorable Mention: Kyle Pettine, G, 2018
Ryan Morris, D, 2018
It’d be surprising to see Morris be available much longer. He had a great year for the Panthers, collecting a first-team All-Central League nod, and his performance at the PEI showed why. Also a basketball player, he moves quite well for a big guy and pairs that with strong fundamentals. You’ll rarely see Morris lunging and he keeps a good base that makes it tough to get around him.
Team MVP: Jeff Conner, M, 2018 – committed to Virginia
Honorable Mention: Vincey Palermo, G, 2019
Jameson Waldron, LSM, 2018
Checking in at about 6-1, 180 pounds, Waldron looks the part of a big-time LSM. He does a little bit of everything for Summit, including gobbling up ground balls and jump starting the transition game. Waldron also pairs his strong, physical play with good aggressiveness.
Team MVP: Nick Thomson, A, 2018
Honorable Mention: Thomson
Lucas Roselli, FO/M, 2018
One UD coach called Roselli the Cards’ strongest pound-for-pound player, and that’s always a good thing when the guy earning that title is the one taking your faceoffs. Roselli has quick hands and good athleticism, but he’s also tough enough to scrap if he doesn’t win it right away.
Team MVP: Dillon Lojeski, G, 2018
Honorable Mention: Lojeski
Wilson West Lawn
Cole Snyder, M, 2018
Snyder brings a lot to the table, but he makes his bones on the defensive end for the Bulldogs. An all-county pick as a D-middie, he’s a stingy on-ball defender, and his great speed helps him in transition. If the ball’s on the ground, it’s probably his, too.
Team MVP: Francisco Cox, G, 2018 – committed to Robert Morris.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Strause, D, 2019