Fish Leads Liberty into Champion All-American Showcase Final
by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com
Virginia recruit A.J. Fish had back-to-back four-goal games to lead Liberty into the championship game of the Champion All-American Showcase.
© Scott McCall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A.J. Fish scored four goals each game in a pair of victories for Liberty on Thursday, as they rebounded from an opening night loss to advance to the championship game of the Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse event. Liberty, Pride and Spirit all finished with identical 2-1 records in the four-team round-robin event, but Liberty and Pride each allowed 25 goals, the lowest in the tournament to move onto the final.
Liberty will meet Pride in the championship game on Friday, July 26 at 7 p.m. at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the game will be aired live on ESPNU. Freedom and Spirit will meet in the bronze medal game at 4 p.m.
Fish, recent graduate of Grayslake North (Ill.) headed to Virginia, notched four goals in a 15-11 victory over Freedom in the morning and then had an electrifying performance in the afternoon with four more goals in a 13-5 victory over previously unbeaten Spirit.
Liberty was able to knock off Spirit by neutralizing Spirit’s faceoff specialist Austin Williams. Graham Savio and Justin Kane took the majority of the draws for Liberty in the victory. Williams, a graduate of Delbarton (N.J.) headed to Harvard, had won 24-of-32 faceoffs in a 17-11 win over Pride earlier in the day, including all 10 first quarter faceoffs.
With Liberty leading Spirit 2-1 in the early going, Fish scored the next three goals for Liberty to open up the game and Spirit never got its offense untracked against Liberty goalie Jonathan Kaplan. Kaplan allowed just three goals while making 15 saves. Helping the Liberty offense were Anthony Marini, Alexander Paulus and Jack Beall with two goals each.
In Liberty’s first win of the day over Freedom, Beall and Sean Giampeitro each had three goals to go along with Fish’s four. Five Freedom players scored two goals in the loss, including Jack Grass who had a four-point game (2g, 2a).
Spirit started the day off right with a 17-11 victory behind Williams’ dominant faceoff performance. Dylan Molloy had a game-high five goals for Spirit and Ryan McNamara added three goals and two assists. A.J. Lucchese led Pride with three goals in the loss and Brian Balkam made 12 saves while allowing just six goals.
Pride played its way into the championship with a strong defensive effort, allowing just two goals in an 11-2 win over Freedom. Balkam and Jarrin Wallace combined to make seven saves and longpole James Hall scored a game-high three goals to pace the Pride offense.
The championship game will be a rematch of a Wednesday night game when Pride defeated Liberty 9-6. Liberty led 5-3 at the half in that game before Pride rallied in the second half for the victory.
Liberty 15, Freedom 11
Liberty Goals: A.J. Fish 4, Sean Giampeitro 3, Jack Beall 3, Matt Ihm, Anthony Marini, Justin Kane, Kevin McKernan, Nick Desisto.
Freedom Goals: Jack Grass 2, Patrick DiMento 2, Dalton Sierra 2, Jack Bruckner 2, Tim Ghelbach 2, Fernando Milanes.
Liberty Assists: A.J. Fish, Tyler Reily, Andrew Dooley
Freedom Assists: Jack Grass 2, Patrick DiMento, Dalton Sierra, Jack Bruckner, Fernando Milanes.
Liberty Goalies: Brian Davies 24:00, 5 GA, 6 saves; Jonathan Kaplan 24;00, 6 GA, 9 saves.
Freedom Goalies: Tanner Swan 24:00, 8 GA, 2 saves; Alexander Larson 24:00, 7 GA, 2 saves.
Spirit 17, Pride 11
Spirit Goals: Dylan Molloy 5, Ryan McNamara 3, Shane Thompson 2, Eric Scott 2, Andy DeMichiei, Jacob Knostman, Austin Williams, Chris Pauzer, Bo Belmer.
Pride Goals: A.J. Lucchese 3, Brady O’Donnell 2, Nick Valentino 2, Kyle Borbi, Simeon Johnson, Alec Dambach, James Hall.
Spirit Assists: Ryan McNamara 2, Jacob Knostman, Peyton Klawinski, Devon Lewis, Jared Kaden.
Pride Assists: Brady O’Donnell, Cody Eckes, Max King, Alec Dambach.
Spirit Goalies: Gerrit Molloy 24:00, 5 GA, 5 saves; Ryan Feit 24:00, 6 GA, 10 saves.
Pride Goalies: Jarrin Wallace 24:00, 11 GA, 7 saves; Brian Balkam 24:00, 6 GA, 12 saves.
Pride 11, Freedom 2
Pride Goals: James Hall 3, John Grube 2, Brady O’Donnell 2, Cody Eckes, Kyle Borbi, Max King, Nick Valentino.
Freedom Goals: Jack Bruckner, Anthony Quile.
Pride Assists: Max King 2, A.J. Lucchese, Nishan Ketchoyian, Kyle Borbi, Tim Truesdell.
Freedom Assists: None
Pride Goalies: Brian Balkam 24:00, 1 GA, 5 saves; Jarrin Wallace 24:00, 1 GA, 2 saves
Freedom Goalies: Alexander Larson 24:00, 6 GA, 1 save; Tanner Swan, 24:00 5 GA, 0 saves.
Liberty 13, Spirit 5
Liberty Goals: A.J. Fish 4, Anthony Marini 2, Alexander Paulus 2, Jack Beall 2, Nick DeSisto, Andrew Dooley, Conner Griffin.
Spirit Goals: Jacob Knostman, Chris Pauzer, Eric Scott, Peyton Klawinski, Bryan Rotatori
Liberty Assists: Sean Giampeitro, Nicco DeLorenzo.
Spirit Assists: Dylan Molloy, Matt Boward.
Liberty Goalies: Jonathan Kaplan 41:00, 3 GA, 15 saves; Brian Davies 7:00, 2 GA, 4 saves.
Spirit Goalies: Ryan Feit 24:00, 6 GA, 6 saves; Gerrit Molloy
24:00, 7 GA, 2 saves.