January 12, 2011

U.S. Roster Set for Champion Challenge

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff


Three-time Team USA member Matt Striebel is among players named to the U.S. roster for a Jan. 30 exhibition against Notre Dame at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event.

© Kevin P. Tucker

US Lacrosse has finalized the 21-man U.S. men’s national team roster that will compete Jan. 30 against Notre Dame in Champion Challenge at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. It includes three members of the gold medal-winning 2010 U.S. team, six players from the training team and several more who competed for Team USA when it defeated Harvard, 17-12, at Stars and Stripes in the fall.

“Everyone inside our organization and out agrees that the men’s national team needs to have a presence in non-competition years,” said Nathaniel Badder, director of national teams for US Lacrosse. “We thought Stars and Stripes and Champion Challenge were perfect bookend events. We’ve worked really hard to develop rosters for those events. We had great success with the team in the fall in Cambridge and are looking for a similar experience in January at Disney.”

Midfielders Matt Striebel, a three-time U.S. team member, and Stephen Peyser will reunite with goalkeeper Adam Fullerton from the 2010 world championship squad -- along with co-captain Kevin Cassese and goalkeeper Brian Dougherty, who will serve as team coaches.

Midfielder Doug Shanahan, the 2002 world championships most valuable player who last played for Team USA in its 2006 runner-up finish and now resides in nearby Fort Lauderdale, will rejoin the team in Florida.

Midfielders Stephen Berger, Steven Brooks and Chris Eck (faceoff), attackman Kevin Leveille and defenseman Lee Zink -- all of whom fell just short of making it to Manchester -- will also suit up for the U.S.

Several 2010 team members are unable to compete in Champion Challenge due to National Lacrosse League obligations that weekend.

“If big names are missing, it’s not because we didn’t want them there or they weren’t committed to playing,” Badder said. “It’s because they need to be with their NLL teams.”

Among Team USA rookies is 6-foot-4, 255-pound goalkeeper Scott Rodgers, who led Notre Dame to an unexpected run to the 2010 NCAA Division I championship game. The Irish fell to Duke, 6-5, in overtime. Rodgers was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, just the fifth time in history that the award went to a player from the losing team. He made 53 saves (13.25 per game) and surrendered just 23 goals (5.75) in four NCAA tournament games.

“I’m looking forward to playing against those guys,” Rodgers said last month in a Lacrosse Magazine audio podcast.

Rodgers will face not only his former team, but also his former protégé in new Irish goalkeeper John Kemp.

“Johnny brings a different goalie,” Rodgers said. “I’m more of a loud field general. You’re going to know if I’m happy or mad. Johnny has that poise and calm about him. His brother Joey had it too. You just can’t rattle the guy. He’s kind of like Eli Manning, and I’m like Philip Rivers.”

Rodgers paused, and then added, “Eli won a championship.”

Though Rodgers fell short of a championship in 2010, among a select group of players US Lacrosse is monitoring with its eye on a world title defense in 2014. Exhibition rosters are selected, Badder said, starting with those players from the 2010 team who are available and combing through the 40-man and 80-man training team and tryout rosters, respectively.

“From there, we’ve found a few select younger guys who we think are up-and-comers,” Badder said, “and could be in the picture for 2014.”

ESPNU will air the U.S.-Notre Dame game on tape delay Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. Eastern, followed by a showdown between the 2010-11 U.S. women’s senior national team and reigning NCAA champion Maryland. Non-televised games will include the 2011 U.S. women’s under-19 training team against Rollins College and Jacksonville University, as well as senior team exhibitions against the University of Virginia.

2010 U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM – CHAMPION CHALLENGE

Attack
Steven Boyle – Boston Cannons – Johns Hopkins ‘10
Craig Dowd – Long Island Lizards – Georgetown ‘10
Kevin Leveille – Rochester Rattlers – Massachusetts ’03 ^
Max Quinzani – Boston Cannons – Duke ‘10
Chazz Woodson – LXM Pro Tour – Brown ‘05

Midfield
Michael Kimmel – Chesapeake Bayhawks – Johns Hopkins ‘10
Matt Striebel – Rochester Rattlers – Princeton ’01 *#$
Stephen Berger – Long Island Lizards – Washington College ’04 ^
Stephen Peyser – Long Island Lizards – Johns Hopkins ’08 *
Steven Brooks – LXM Pro Tour – Syracuse ’08 ^
Chris Eck (FO) – Boston Cannons – Colgate ’08 ^
Doug Shanahan – Rochester Rattlers – Hofstra ’01 #$
Peet Poillon – Chesapeake Bayhawks – UMBC ‘09

Defense
Matt Bocklet – Denver Outlaws – Johns Hopkins ‘08
Lee Zink – Denver Outlaws – Maryland ’04 ^
Steven Waldeck – Toronto Nationals – Stony Brook ‘10
Adam Crystal – Tobay LC – Drexel ‘07
Ricky Pages – Long Island Lizards – Ohio State ‘08
Nick O’Hara – Long Island Lizards – Duke ’07 ^

Goalie
Scott Rodgers – Toronto Nationals – Notre Dame ‘10
Adam Fullerton – Denver Outlaws – Army ’08 *

Coaches: Kevin Cassese *#$, Brian Dougherty *~

* member of 2010 U.S. men’s national FIL world championship team
^ member of 2009-10 U.S. men’s national training team
# member of 2006 U.S. men’s national team
$ member of 2002 U.S. men’s national team
~ member of 1998 U.S. men’s national team


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