Alex Albertson plays lacrosse for Parkland and used to run cross-country for the Trojans, but he’s a little different than the rest of his teammates.
For one, they’re his teammates, not necessarily his classmates. His school day usually starts around 9:30 in the morning. By that time, Parkland is usually a couple periods deep into the day. Last year, Albertson helped the Trojans win the PIAA District 11 championship and make the state tournament, but he’s yet to take a class with his teammates.
The Mesa Fresh 2019 defender has been homeschooled since first grade, and because of it, his daily life is a stark contrast from his teammates’ at one of the biggest public schools in the state.
“It’s pretty awesome. I usually get to wake up at a pretty casual time like 9:30. I do most of my classes at our local community college,” Albertson said. “I take three of my classes there, come home after my classes and do the rest of my schoolwork. I’m usually done pretty early and it’s pretty nice.”
Staying active through sports is the perfect way for Albertson to make friends, so he doesn’t feel like an outsider just because of his unique educational situation. It also helps to not just play sports, but also to be good at them, and that’s also helped Albertson. An Army commit, he has the perfect temperament not only for a defenseman, but for one headed to West Point. Michigan football defensive coordinator Don Brown is fond of the expression, “solve your problems with aggression,” and it’s one that suits Albertson to a tee. His play stood out at Saturday’s Terp Classic in Aston (Pa.). He uses his aggressiveness and physicality to intimidate opposing attackmen, but he’s also got the athleticism to run with anyone and an active stick that helps him cause and corral turnovers.
“Freshman year, I started really getting into my shoes,” Albertson said. “Before, I was a little bit slower, then I had the opportunity to start on varsity, and that helped me improve a lot. Ever since then, my coaches really reinforce being aggressive, but a controlled aggressive. Not going aggressive and getting beat, but going aggressive and keeping your feet underneath you.”
You can find Albertson being a little more unique in the winter, too. Instead of opting for a better-known sport, he’s usually snowboarding at Bear Creek, and he’s good enough to put together an impressive group of flips and jumps. He goes with his two brothers, one of which is Andrew, a 2018 faceoff midfielder and High Point commit who also looked impressive at Terp.
“I get lacrosse during spring, summer and fall, then I get to chill in the winter,” Albertson said. “I like jumps. I like getting a lot of air and everything I’ve done, I’ve always liked being a daredevil. We always have a good time, and we’re always pushing each other and we get to be pretty good. I go all the time, especially with being homeschooled.”
Consider that just one more perk to go along with the 9:30 a.m. wake-up calls.
A LOOK AT OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED AT TERP CLASSIC
Michael Bowler ‘19, M, Kent Denver (Colo.) / 3d Colorado
A recent Marist commit, Bowler did it all for 3d. He had a beauty of a goal on the run early, but it’s his versatility that really stands out. One college coach on site lauded him for being so difficult to play against, and that part of Bowler’s game stands out. He’s tough and tenacious on ground balls, he doesn’t shy away from contact and he’s the type of player that you love to have, but hate to play against.
Drew Brown ‘19, A, Radnor (Pa.) / NXT
Brown continues to improve and his development is on an almost straight upward trajectory. He’s started for two years already at Radnor and has back-to-back 40-goal seasons, but he doubled his assist total last year. The lefty is great at operating in the shadows and he’s a sneaky scorer and does a terrific job of getting his teammates involved. He was virtually unguardable all day as NXT’s most consistent offensive presence.
James Chastain ‘20, D, Avon Grove (Pa.) / Rising Sons
You can take your pick of any of the Rising Sons’ starting defense between Chastain, Scott Smith (Conestoga, Pa./Johns Hopkins) and Noah Evans (Penn Charter, Pa.) and you’ll be fine. They’re all legitimate No. 1 options, but Chastain gets the nod here because he’s the most polished of the three. He was the No. 4 defenseman behind Brayden Peck (Penn State) and Bryce De Muth (Yale) and another senior and played a lot for state champion Avon Grove this spring, and he’s mobile, agile and hostile. You can hear his checks all over the field and he’s capable of completely wiping out an attackman. The Air Force commit is good off the ground, too, with no real discernible weaknesses.
Jake Engelke ‘19, A, Westfield (N.J.) / Leading Edge
One defenseman who went up against Engelke remarked that he’d gotten a good deal faster, and that’s just another box to check off for Engelke. A Holy Cross commit ranked as the No. 94 player in the class, he’s not afraid whatsoever to get to the rack and he scored on both lefty and righty crease dives against NXT. A tough, hard-nosed prospect, Engelke possesses good size, protects his stick well and did a nice job of leading the LE offense.
Matthew Heuston ‘19, M, Hempfield (Pa.) / NXT
Watching Heuston play is very much what I’d imagine watching an actual moose playing lacrosse would look like, if the moose could absolutely crank shots past goalies. The future Loyola Greyhound is an absolute force, using his 200-pound frame to bounce off defenders when he gets going downhill before unleashing a hard, heavy shot. If you let him get going in transition, just get out of his way, for both yours and your dental plan’s sake.
Peter Lehman ‘20, A, Council Rock North (Pa.) / NXT
Jackson Birtwistle (Radnor, Pa.) is the better-known player and a fine prospect in his own right, but Lehman does an excellent job of running the show for NXT. As a freshman, he popped 36 goals for the Indians. He’s got good vision and is confident with the ball in his stick. He had a play where he put his man in the spin cycle at X and scored, then later drew all the attention and dumped it off to the backside for an easy goal.
Evan Lotz ‘19, A, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Mesa
Lotz has become significantly more athletic, and as a result, he’s been one of Mesa’s most improved players. He’s got excellent vision and always seems to to be able to find his teammates, as shown on a nifty play against 3d where he dropped a dime in transition for a goal. Lotz is at home behind the net, where he’s adept at finding cutters and being the provider.
Ian McCauley ‘19, A, McCallie (Tenn.) / LB3 Thunder
McCauley has quickness and shiftiness in spades, two traits that allow him to separate from defensemen despite not having great size. He had a nice dip-and-dunk goal and showed off his creativity with a sweet bouncer, too. He can finish with either hand and does a nice job of finding his teammates, too.
Colin McGill ‘20, A, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Rising Sons
Goals, goals and more goals. The lefty can score with the best of ‘em, and if you didn’t know where he’s from, you’d put good money on him being a Canadian. He never really gets rattled by pressure in tight and he can let it fly. McGill has expanded his range a tad and is comfortable sweeping top side and unleashing a shot, but he really makes his bones as more of a crease guy. He was scoring goals by the bushel Saturday, including a four-goal showing against Next Level.
Jake Snyder ‘19, D, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Nick Myers has a good one coming in with Snyder, a rangy defenseman with good size who’s always getting his stick in passing lanes. If the ball’s on the ground, it’s probably his, and RR’s No. 53 junior also does a nice job of communicating with the rest of his defense.
Carter Parlette ‘20, M, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) / SweetLax National
A tremendously athletic middie who’s confident shooting with either hand, the Syracuse commit was exceptional against LB3 and showcased why the Orange are so high on him. The lefty had a full-field behind-the-back transition feed, then later added a sweet skip pass on the man-up, and for good measure, tacked on a bar-down righty bomb. Not bad at all, and he also earned some love from onlookers for his defensive play.
Mike Penna ‘18, A, Exeter (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
Penna was one of the few ‘18s in attendance, so that helps when playing against ‘19s, but it really didn’t matter because the UMass-Lowell commit was dominant. He’s not big, but he gave defenders a ton of problems with his quickness and elusiveness. He was scoring almost at will early against Mesa, then later added a sick goal against FCA by mashing the circle button and spinning his way to the crease for a dunk.
Ian Reilley ‘19, M, Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) / Mesa
At one point, a double team converged on Reilley, and the Mesa middie just ran through both players, snapped one of their sticks in half and just kept rolling. There’s not much finesse to his game, and that’s quite OK. He’s very much a bull in a china shop, never shying away from contact, and he’s able to contribute all over the field.
Will Rosenblatt ‘20, D, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / 3d Colorado
I first got a glimpse of Rosenblatt this summer at Adrenaline’s Western Shootout and it’s clear that he’s taken a step forward since then. It’s easy for defensemen to just worry about their matchup and forget about the rest, but Rosenblatt is very vocal and engaged with the rest of his defense. He communicates efficiently and you’ll rarely find him out of position. He’s also got the physical tools, too, showing an ability to corral ground balls in a crowd and getting it upfield. He’s tough to beat in 1v1 situations.
Jack Ruddy ‘19, D, Hun School (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Ruddy, who recently flipped from Lafayette to Johns Hopkins, stands out right away because of his imposing size. He’s got to be flirting with 6-4, but he’s got the athleticism to run with just about anyone. He’s got a frame that will allow him to add some significant size, which makes him an even more appealing prospect, but he’s pretty darn good right now. He commanded the LE defense and gave opposing attackmen fits when they dared to go after him.
Alex Slusher ‘19, A, Oregon Episcopal (Ore.) / 3d Colorado
A five-star recruit and RR’s No. 12 junior, the Princeton verbal is a known commodity, and he showed why again on Saturday. He showed a nice ability to draw and dump accurate passes to his teammate and was precise with his shots. You can tell that Slusher has an advanced mind and he sees plays develop before they happen, and it was also nice to see him show some versatility by running midfield for 3d, and not just O-middie, either. He took some wings on the faceoffs and acquitted himself well on the defensive end.
Jack Stuzin ‘20, D, Gilman (Md.) / FCA Maryland
One college coach that watched Stuzin said that the Gilman standout might be the best defensive player in the country for the 2020 class. Stuzin is long, rangy and versatile, equally adept at playing pole or close, and no matter where he lines up, he’s constantly applying pressure to whoever has the ball. He’s a good communicator and has all the tools of a shutdown guy at the next level.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Sean Cameron ‘20, M, Bishop Guertin (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks – Maryland
Matt Chess ‘20, G, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) / Rising Sons
Connor Davies ‘19, A, Oxbridge Academy (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida – Fairfield
Nick Demaio ‘18, A, Coronado (Calif.) / Legends West – Boston University
Christian DeSimone ‘19, M, Bay Shore (N.Y.) / LI Express – Furman
Devin Hoffman ‘19, M, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida
Daniel Kelly ‘20, A, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA Maryland – UNC
Phillip Malever ‘19, D, Riverwood (Ga.) / LB3 Thunder
Kyle McCann ‘19, G, Palos Verdes (Calif.) / Legends West
Connor Mitchell ‘19, M, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA Maryland – Ohio State
Mitch Myers ‘19, F/O, St. John Bosco (Calif.) / 3d Colorado
Gavin Peene ‘19, M, Ridgewood (N.J.) / Leading Edge – Air Force
Avry Truex ‘19, G, The Derryfield School (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
Tate Wasson ‘19, D, Palmyra (Pa.) / NXT – Delaware