Play for Parkinson's Recap and Analysis
Could Princeton midfielder Tom Schreiber be in for a Josh Sims-like improvement from freshman to sophomore year? It looked like it Saturday.
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Another year, another Play for Parkinson's and ProjectSpark Foundation success. Some of the best college men's lacrosse teams descended on Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., for a good cause and some good ole' fashioned fall ball throwdowns.
The ProjectSpark Foundation was founded in 2009 by former Princeton and Team USA defenseman Christian Cook and his sister, Lauren, when their mother, Diane, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in August 2008. Proceeds from the Play for Parkinson's go toward the foundation, which funds new research and projects dedicated to a cure and treatments for the disease.
"My family and I started to ask ourselves, what can we do? What do I know and how can we make a difference? Initially, we thought about having a fall ball lacrosse tournament. So we put together the tournament and said, well, we don't want to just write check to another foundation. We want to have more control over the funds, to really look at some high-risk, but high-reward opportunities," Cook said Saturday. "And also, we wanted a medium by which to raise money over time. The lacrosse community is extremely generous."
Here are some observations from Saturday's games.
Fall Ball Priorities: Find a goalie to replace Adam Ghitelman. Avoid championship hangover. Establish roles. (For all the talent on the offensive end, there remains only one ball.)
Verdict: The Wahoos looked very good, waxing Army (unofficial score was 22-3), and were up a few goals on Princeton before the starters on both teams were pulled. Goalkeepers Rob Fortunato (a senior right-hander) and Austin Geisler (redshirt freshman southpaw) both looked solid. Starsia was pleased, but remarked that the biggest challenge may be replacing Ghitleman's work outside the pipes.
"We're stopping the ball very well throughout the fall. But where people are going to appreciate Adam Ghitleman is in the clearing game," Starsia said. "We almost always got six or eight more possessions because of Adam's play on loose balls."
On offense, the Wahoos continued the same type of grinding, attack-oriented offense that they rode to last year's championship. Of course, it started with Tewaaraton Award winner Steele Stanwick, who was more than happy to play quarterback at "X." There were also a healthy dose of those now-patented two-man games from behind, and the Cavs continued to use four attackmen on the field. (Matt White and lefty Canuck Mark Cockerton got plenty of run each as the third midfielder.)
"We kind of have picked up on last year," said attackman Chris Bocklet. "We have a lot of attackmen now playing middie, a lot of guys return, so we're used to dodging from behind and playing the two-two-two."
As for any championship hangover, Starsia seems happy with the effort and attitude of the group.
"Very pleased with the attitude overall throughout the fall. We got a long way to go and a lot of lacrosse to be played, but I've got a good group," he said.
News and Notes: Matt Lovejoy, who according to Starsia was cleared to play Friday, didn't suit up (precautionary). Freshman phenom Greg Danseglio from St. Anthony's (N.Y.) started... Harry Prevas, a slick-sticked junior who has been a fourth defenseman most of his career, looked great with a few knocked down passes and great work on the clear... The Cavs played strictly man-to-man, but Starsia laughed at the idea of bringing back last year's zone. "We played a little zone about two weeks ago. That was the plan, to introduce it this fall and fool around with it a couple days. We looked very comfortable in it, very quickly..." Nick O'Reilly, who found his scoring stroke in last year's playoffs, has established himself as the third attackman. Owen Van Arsdale (who redshirted last year and is assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale's son) looks like the fourth attackman and potential off-handed complement down low. "In the fall he's worked really hard and he's playing really well. He's earned that spot," Bocklet said of O'Reilly... The Cavaliers reminded the crowd that they don't stockpile all these athletes for their offseason intramural basketball team either. Rob Emery, Chris LaPierre and Colin Briggs took a couple of short-stick-only faceoffs... If Steele Stanwick's hand is hurting, it's probably not from some errant Chad Wiedmaier check. Last year's Tewaaraton winner signed autographs for what seemed like an endless stream of young fans.