Pride, Spirit Dominate on First Day of Champion All-American Showcase
by Paul Krome and Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com
Hannah Saris scored four goals to help Team Pride beat Team Liberty 23-17 at the Champion All-American Showcase. The three-day event continues on Monday at the ESPN RISE Games.
© Scott McCall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – She plays high school lacrosse in the smallest state in the Union, but Hannah Saris quickly proved she belongs on the field with the best players in the country.
Saris, a rising senior at Moses Brown (R.I.) School scored four goals and added an assist to help Team Pride to a 23-17 win over Team Liberty in the first round of games Sunday at US Lacrosse’s Champion All-American Showcase at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. US Lacrosse has returned this national high school all-star event, which feature approximately 80 players from 26 states, to the ESPN Rise Games. In the other first-round game, Team Spirit beat Team Freedom 22-16.
"This event is the best competition you’ll get in the country," said Saris, who has verbally committed to Dartmouth. "It’s an honor to be chosen, especially being younger than everyone else."
Saris didn’t let her age be a factor, scoring twice in the first half as Team Pride needed every bit of offense to counter Team Liberty’s U.S. U19 star Madison Acton, who had five of her nine points (5g, 4a) in the first half. Saris showed some quick stick skills by punching home a goal after a loose-ball scrum early in the half, and she added two more goals and a feed to Jenna Kasmarik (4g, 1a) in the second half as Team Pride pulled away.
Team Pride trailed early but eventually led at halftime, 10-8, behind a hat trick by Kerri Fleishhacker, who finished with five goals and an assist. After Team Liberty closed it to one 16 seconds in on a Halle Majorana (3g, 3a) to Adriane Ghidotti (4g) conversion, Team Pride went on an 8-0 run thanks to two goals and an assist by Kasmarik, who graduated from Lambert (Ga.) High and is bound for Johns Hopkins. Acton kept plugging away, bringing Team Liberty to within 21-16 with two goals and an assist in a five-minute span.
"She might be the best all-around lacrosse player I’ve ever coached," said Team Liberty coach Eddie Clark of Sycamore (Ohio) High. "She can do everything."
But Saris answered with the dagger at 3:14.
"Lacrosse in Rhode Island is on the rise. It has a bright future," Saris said.
The present isn’t bad at all in the Ocean State.
In the other opening-round game, Freedom’s Anna Salemo did her best to be a one-woman wrecking crew, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Spirit’s offense and U.S. U19 national team goalie Kelsey Duryea. Duryea’s seven second-half saves helped Spirit beat Freedom 22-16.
Salemo, a graduate of Heritage (Colo.) High School headed to Stanford, scored a game-high six goals, and Freedom trailed just 11-10 at the half after a goal by Kyle Fraser with one second remaining, but Spirit took command in the second half. Fraser, who had three goals and two assists, is also headed to Stanford.
Spirit scored three goals in the first 90 seconds of the second half with Alexandra Crerend and Lucy Dikeou doing the damage. Crerend scored two of the goals and Dikeou had the other and assisted Crerend’s second goal. That three-goal spurt gave Spirit a 14-10 lead and Freedom never got closer than three goals the rest of the way.
Northwestern recruit Casey Bocklet and Virginia-bound Sloan Warren each had four goals to lead Spirit while Crerend (Brown) and Emily Doyle (Richmond) each added three goals.
This event features many of the nation’s top players, but with players competing from 26 states, it provides a unique look at the state of lacrosse around the country. One of the players excited about the opportunity was Spirit’s Maggie HerrNeckar, a recent graduate of Brighton (Utah) High School headed to Westminster’s strong club program.
"It’s just an honor to be here," said HerrNeckar, who had a goal in the victory. "I’m from Utah, not the hotbed of lacrosse. So being here with all of these great players is unbelievable."
HerrNeckar has seen plenty of this level of play. Her club team from Utah has made several trips to the East Coast for tournaments and she was invited to try out for the U19 team last summer. She’s going to participate in the Army ROTC program at Westminster, but still harbors hopes of playing lacrosse at a higher level down the road. A tournament like this is a chance to keep getting better.
"If I’m a sub on the sideline, I’m always watching where these girls are moving on the field and try to learn from them and learn from my coaches and just try to soak everything in," said HerrNeckar. "These girls are amazing, so it’s hard to take everything in, but I do my best."
This event also lets a lot of college-bound players get back on the field after a summer that’s different than what they’ve seen going through the recruiting process.
Dartmouth-bound Chrissy Lushefski, who had two goals and an assist for Freedom, went to camp at Dartmouth and has been practicing once a week with her old club team, but most of her summer was been spent doing workouts to get in physical shape versus actual on the field action.
"It seems like it should be relaxing, but with all the workouts for the fall, it’s actually is just as hectic," said Lushefski. "It’s nice having breaks and not having to go to all the tournaments, but I do miss it. This is definitely a great experience, to get to play with all these amazing players and it’s in Disney World."
Pride 23, Liberty 17
Pride Goals: Kerri Fleishhacker 5, Jenna Kasmarik 4, Kerrin Mauer 4, Hannah Saris 4, Sarah Biron 3, Callie Francis 1, Marcy Levatino 1, Lindsay Scott 1.
Pride Assists: Allison Hahn 1, Callie Francis 1, Kerri Fleishhacker 1, Kerrin Mauer 1, Jenna Kasmarik 1, Spring Sanders 1, Lindsay Scott 1, Hannah Saris 1.
Pride Goalies: Allison Murray (3 saves, 8 GA), Allison Eisner (2 saves, 9 GA)
Liberty Goals: Madison Acton 5, Adriane Ghidotti 4, Halle Majorana 3, Ellen Shaffrey 3, Taylor Moore 1, Carli Sukonik 1.
Liberty Assists: Madison Acton 4, Halle Majorana 3, Julie Morse 1, Ellen Shaffrey 1.
Liberty Goalies: Rachel Vallarelli (6 saves, 10 GA), Bridget Bianco (6 saves, 13 GA)
Spirit 22, Freedom 16
Spirit Goals: Casey Bocklet 4, Sloan Warren 4, Alexandra Crerend 3, Emily Doyle 3, Kailah Kempney 2, Hope Hanley 2, Adrianne Devine 1, Lucy Dikeou 1, Maggie HerrNeckar 1, Kelly Hilmer 1.
Spirit Assists: Casey Bocklet 1, Alexandra Crerend 1, Adrianne Devine 1, Lucy Dikeou 1, Samantha Estrin 1, Hope Hanley 1, Allie Rhinehart 1, Courtney Swan 1, Sloan Warren 1
Spirit Goalies: Lucy Ferguson (2 saves, 10 GA), Kelsey Duryea (7 saves, 6 GA)
Freedom Goals: Anna Salemo 6, Kyle Fraser 3, Chrissy Lushefski 2, Meg Bartley 1, Paul Schmidt 1, Madalyn Blakeman 1, Kelly Devlin 1, Chelsea Landon 1.
Freedom Assists: Chelsea Landon 3, Kyle Fraser 2, Paula Schmidt 2, Meg Bartley 1, Chrissy Lushefski 1, Anna Salemo 1, Tenley Seidel 1.
Freedom Goalies: Jessica Frieder (6 saves, 11 GA), Katherine Emerson (7 saves, 11 GA)
8 a.m. – Spirit vs. Pride
8 a.m. – Freedom vs. Liberty
1 p.m. – Spirit vs. Liberty
1 p.m. – Pride vs. Freedom
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