August 15, 2013

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Players to Watch at the Ocean City Lacrosse Classic

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Sam Bradman is one of several Team USA hopefulls heading to Ocean City for this weekend's tournament.
©Scott McCall 

Summer is winding down, which means the warm-weather club lacrosse circuit is as well. But not before the Ocean City Lacrosse Classic goes off this weekend. The annual summer lacrosse destination in Ocean City, Md., has more than 100 teams across eight divisions: men's elite (A/B), women's elite, men's masters (A/B; 35 and over), men's grandmasters (45 and over), men's king Neptune (50 and over) and new for this year, a wheelchair lacrosse division, held in cooperation with Wheelchair Lacrosse USA.

Like other marquee summer club events such as the Vail Lacrosse Shootout and the Lake Placid Classic, Ocean City regularly attracts top talent, including current collegians before they head back to campus for the fall. Here are 20 players to watch, based on the rosters that are publicly available, in the men's elite division. Play starts Friday.

Brandon Benn, A Johns Hopkins, Greene Turtle – Fells Point

The Canadian finisher was the Blue Jays' leading goal-scorer last year with 34. He was second on the team in points with 35 (with one assist), only behind Wells Stanwick (47 points on 24 goals and 23 assists).

Sam Bradman, A LXM Pro Tour, Jack Lingo Realtor/Fireball

The Team USA tryout invitee will give it a go in Ocean City alongside LXM Pro Tour teammate Kyle Harrison. In his first event with Team USA, Bradman was named MVP of the 2013 Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event.

Ryan Brown, A Johns Hopkins, 1 Lacrosse Elite

Brown, as a freshman, was part of the Blue Jays' effective second-line midfield that emerged at times last season. He only started four games, but had 17 goals and four assists, finishing fifth on the team in points (21).

Jay Carlson, A Maryland, Bozel

Carlson notched 20 goals as a sophomore attackman in what was a very balanced Maryland offense.

Deemer Class, M Duke, 1 Lacrosse Elite

Class, the coach of 1 Lacrosse Elite, will likely take a break from Twitter-debating the merits of paying college athletes with ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas during his time in OC. Class saw time in all of Duke's 21 games — racking up 12 goals and eight assists — during the Blue Devils' national title run.

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Evan Connell D North Carolina, 1 Lacrosse Elite

Connell started 14 games as freshman for North Carolina. He had 25 ground balls and forced 15 turnovers.

Brian Cooper, M Maryland, Crabs

Cooper switched from long pole to short-stick defensive midfield last year and helped boost the Terps' defense as the season went along.

Bobby Duvnjak D Harvard, 1 Lacrosse Elite

A highly-touted recruiting out of Manhasset (N.Y.) on Long Island, Duvnjak was an instant starter for Harvard as a freshman. He had 23 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers in 12 games.

Devin Dwyer, A Harvard, 1 Lacrosse Elite

Another big-time Long Island recruit (Garden City (N.Y.)) now at Harvard, Dwyer, an X-attackman started 14 games as a freshman and notched 16 goals and 27 assists.

Joe Fletcher, D Loyola, Crabs

Fletcher was one of only eight current collegians invited to try out for the 2014 U.S. men's national team over Labor Day weekend.

Nicky Galasso, A Syracuse, Flamingos

Galasso, who sat out this year at Syracuse because of injury after transferring from North Carolina, will be playing on a team this weekend with his brothers, Victor and Vinny. It will be interesting to see how he looks after the season-long layoff.

Kyle Harrison, M LXM Pro Tour, Jack Lingo Realtor/Fireball

The Team USA hopeful and LXM Pro Tour star continues his lacrosse travels in Ocean City.

RG Keenan, M/FO North Carolina, Crabs

The Crabs have a stacked lineup with one the country's best faceoff guys to boot.

John Kluh, A Villanova, Crabs

The tiny (5-foot-4, 140 pound) attackman was first-team All-Big East as a freshman. He started 14 games at midfield, scored 17 goals and dished nine assists.

Joe Lisicky, D Virginia, 1 Lacrosse Elite

Watch Lisicky this weekend and throughout the fall and spring at Virginia. He was Lacrosse Magazine's Division III Preseason Player of the Year before breaking his left foot last season. He was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA and will play this year for the Cavaliers. Lynchburg scrimmaged Virginia the past two years and Dom Starsia was impressed with Lisicky, a versatile long pole. And even if Starsia wasn't impressed, Lisicky would be headed to Charlottesville, Va., anyway. He was accepted to UVA's acclaimed McIntire School of Commerce graduate program before the foot injury.

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Dan Marino, G Virginia, Crabs

Marino started Virginia's first seven games last year as a freshman before being replaced by sophomore Rhody Heller.

Nikko Pontrello, A Loyola, Crabs

Pontrello played attack and on the Greyhounds' first midfield last season, finishing third on the team in points (35) and second in assists (19). Older brother of North Carolina midfielder and U.S. U19er Steve Pontrello.

Ty Souders, D Lehigh, Steam Lacrosse Club

Souders, a rising senior, was an honorable mention All-American last season. He's playing on Steam, a group of players from Lehigh Valley-area colleges.

Christian Walsh, A Duke, Crabs

Walsh was in some ways the unsung hero of Duke's national championship winning team. He moved from attack to midfield early in the season to make room for heralded freshman Case Matheis (52 points). Walsh finished with 33, seventh highest on the team, just a year after ranking second with 49.

Justin Ward, A Loyola, Maryland Roughriders

Ward was Loyola's leading scorer in 2013, with 27 goals and 35 assists. He's a dynamic playmaker who has scored at least one point in 30 straight games.

Also, attackman Brandon Mangan of Yale, the Bulldogs' leading scorer last year with 39 goals and 64 points, is a player to watch, but he is currently listed on both the rosters of Bulldog Alumni Lacrosse Club and Canton Lacrosse Club.

The Ocean City Lacrosse Classic will be played through Sunday in Ocean City, Md. LaxMagazine.com will be posting tournament updates as they are available throughout the event, and will have coverage of the tournament's final day on Sunday.


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