October 4, 2013

Team USA Debut Anchors Busy Fall Weekend

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

The U.S. men's national training team, named after three days worth of tryouts over Labor Day weekend in early September, will take the field for the first time since then at this weekend's Play for Parkinson's fall ball event at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.

Forty-nine of the 52 team members will participate; three are hurt (Matt Mackrides, Brendan Mundorf and Paul Rabil, who is recovering from September surgery to repair torn abdominal muscles). The team will practice Friday and then play split-squad scrimmages against NCAA Division I teams Loyola and Towson, and then turn around and play each other to cap the day's events at the annual charity event whose proceeds go to the ProjectSpark Foundation.

It will be interesting to see different combinations of players together. For example, Team USA Blue includes Matt Danowski, Kevin Leveille, Steele Stanwick and Ryan Young as its four-pack of attackmen. Clearly, Stanwick and Young play similar type quarterback roles while Leveille is a veteran finisher and Danowski a swingman who played alongside Young with the Charlotte Hounds this summer in Major League Lacrosse.

Rob Pannell, who just so happened to sign an endorsement deal with Wheaties this week, anchors the Team USA White attack. Eric Law is the finisher of the group that also includes Marcus Holman and big shooters Garret Thul and Drew Westervelt.

Conversely, the old-young duo of three-time Team USA member Matt Striebel and 2013 Tewaaraton finalist JoJo Marasco, which played together extensively on midfield lines during Labor Day tryouts to the benefit of both, will be broken up this weekend. Striebel, the former Princeton star and 10-year MLL veteran, is on Blue while Marasco is on White.

The faceoff battle pits Chris Eck (Boston Cannons) and Mike Poppleton (Hamilton Nationals) on Blue against Greg Gurenlian (New York Lizards) and Anthony Kelly (Denver Outlaws) on White. The goalie split is Kip Turner (Chesapeake Bayhawks) and Jesse Schwartzman (Denver) and Drew Adams (New York) and John Galloway (Rochester Rattlers) on Blue and White, respectively.

Click here for the complete Team USA split-squad rosters to parse the combinations further.

If CBS were broadcasting Play for Parkinson's and brought a Johnny Manziel cam (the network brought in an extra camera to Texas A&M's Kyle Field a few weeks ago with the single purpose of following the famous college quarterback the entire game against Alabama), it would be focused on Loyola senior defenseman Joe Fletcher. Mr. Fundamental is the only current collegian on the U.S. training team roster. But of course, Loyola is playing in this event, so keep an eye on how Fletcher's playing time shakes out throughout the day.

This weekend begins the Team USA evaluation period leading to Denver 2014.
© Scott McCall 

All in all, this weekend begins what Team USA head coach Richie Meade has called "the training process" after the more than yearlong evaluation process that culminated with tryouts and the naming of the training roster.

The group will gather again Oct. 18-20 for a training weekend in Downingtown, Pa., before playing against Jan. 24-26, 2014 at Champion Challenge, the annual US Lacrosse event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. After that, the final 23-player Team USA roster for July's Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship will be named.

"This level is where we go beyond the evaluation process and into the training process, and try to figure out how we take this talent and put it into the way we want to play," Meade said. "There are guys with very strong skill sets and some that we hope we may be able to develop a little bit."

The federal government shutdown, which led to the suspension of travel for Air Force's intercollegiate athletics programs, altered the original event schedule. Because of the timing, the event was unable to find a replacement for the Falcons.

The new schedule is below. Each college team gets two games while Team USA's split-squads also get two games apiece.

10 a.m. — Richmond vs. Towson
Noon — Georgetown vs. Loyola
Noon — USA White vs. Towson
2 p.m. — USA Blue vs. Loyola
2 p.m. — Georgetown vs. Richmond
4 p.m. — USA Blue vs. USA White

Other Weekend Highlights

Friday

Notre Dame at Northwestern (Women)

The Wildcats and Irish faced off a week ago at an event in Indianapolis (photo gallery here), and have another chance to weigh in against a good, local foe once again in Evanston.

George Washington at Navy (Women)

The see-saw week for service academy athletics is currently on the 'play' side, with the Midshipmen hosting George Washington in an event that had been canceled on Thursday before reinstatement on Friday morning.

Detroit at Ohio State (Men)

The Titans made their first NCAA tournament a year ago and look to continue on an upward trend. They visit the reigning ECAC champions at the Woody Hayes Center on Friday night.

SATURDAY

Nicholas Colleluori Classic (Men)

The 7th annual HEADStrong Foundation event features two days of action at Ridley High School in Folsam, Pa., with seven Division I schools on Saturday and 13 D-II and D-III programs on Sunday.

Fans are welcome to attend and proceeds benefit the HEADStrong Foundation. Adults are $10 per day while kids under 12 are $5.

7th Annual NCC –Division I Schedule - Saturday
1 p.m. — Saint Joseph’s vs. Monmouth  (Stadium Field)
1 p.m. — Lafayette vs. VMI (Field Two)
2:30 p.m. — Hofstra vs. Binghamton  (Stadium Field)
2:30 p.m. — Villanova vs. Saint Joseph’s (Field Two)
4 p.m. — HEADstrong Presentation
4:30 p.m. — Lafayette vs. Binghamton  (Stadium Field)
4:30 p.m. — VMI vs. Monmouth (Field Two)
6 p.m. — Villanova vs. Hofstra (Stadium Field)

7th Annual NCC - Men's Division II & III Day - Sunday
9 a.m. — Stadium I: Chestnut Hill-Richard Stockton; Stadium II: Bryn Athyn-Neumann
10:30 a.m. — Stadium I: Marymount-Centenary; Stadium II: Misericordia-SUNY Maritime
Noon — Stadium I: Randolph Macon-Widener; Stadium II: Chestnut Hill-Neumann
1:15 p.m. — HEADstrong Presentation
2 p.m. — Stadium I: Richard Stockton-SUNY Maritime; Stadium II Misericordia-Widene
3:30 p.m. — Stadium I: Marymount-Farmingdale State; Stadium II: Randolph Macon-Dowling
5 p.m. — Stadium I: Rosemont-Bryn Athyn; Stadium II: Centenary-Farmingdale State
6:30 p.m. — Stadium I: Dowling-Rosemont

Duke at Loyola (Women)

The Greyhounds hit the field for the second time, having played host to Johns Hopkins and Michigan last weekend. This time they host the Blue Devils, who were an NCAA quarterfinalist last season.

Massachusetts at Stony Brook (Women)

A pair of NCAA tournament squads kick off fall on Long Island. The Seawolves need to replace offensive star Demmianne Cook if they hope to make a run like last year's 19-2 campaign.

Sunday

Play for Parkinson's (Women)

The women get their turn on Sunday, with several top squads dotting the schedule of the event at Episcopal School in Alexandria, Va. Duke will be in the house, as will NCAA runner-up Maryland and tournament teams Penn State, Towson and Georgetown. The full schedule is available here.

Johns Hopkins Stick it to Sarcoma (Women)

Another benefit event, this one features the host Blue Jays and Louisville, Rutgers, George Mason and Team STX. Admission is $5 and the schedule is available here.

Syracuse Fall Invitational (Women)

The NCAA semifinalists are back in action, hosting some northern neighbors for a rapid-fire round robin in upstate N.Y. Games feature a 25-minute running clock and no timeouts. Canisius — the MAAC champion a year ago — is making the trip east from Buffalo, joined by Cornell, Colgate, Albany, Niagara and D-III semifinalist Cortland.

Dartmouth at Boston College (Women)

An NCAA first-round rematch is on tap in suburban Boston, as Dartmouth — looking to replace top scorer Hana Bowers — takes on the Eagles, who return the majority of their team and hope to take another step forward after falling to the Big Green 11-8 to end their 2013 season.

Keep up on LaxMagazine.com all weekend for updates from around the fall action. Online Manager Sean Burns contributed to this story.


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