National HSB Notebook: Breakthrough in Richmond
by Matt DaSilva and Jeff Seidel | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff and Special to LMO
Richmond area high school teams like Rebels Lacrosse, consisting primarily of Douglas Freeman players, have lingered in the club ranks until now. In 2011, four will be varsity.
© Bob Kindervater
For Sherry Porter, watching the growth of high school lacrosse
in Virginia was exciting, but frustrating. Pockets in Northern
Virginia, Charlottesville and Roanoke flourished, but a curious
void existed in the state’s capital.
Until now, that is.
Four years after recent US Lacrosse Richmond Chapter Hall of Fame inductee John Titus piloted the area’s first Virginia High School League-sanctioned boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams at James River High School (where he’s the principal), three more Richmond schools have added junior varsity and varsity lacrosse teams for the 2011 season.
Joining James River will be Douglas Freeman, Deep Run and Mills Godwin. The motion for these Henrico County schools to add boys’ and girls’ lacrosse was approved in the fall. The county’s 2011 budget was approved three weeks ago, and the lacrosse programs survived the 17-percent cut.
“Our superintendent would not back down,” said Sherry Porter, president of Rebels Lacrosse, the Douglas Freeman boys’ team that currently operates at club level. Porter has been a leader in area sanctioning efforts since 2003 – the result of a conversation in an orthodontist’s parking lot.
“I’ve been involved for eight years dealing with school board members, ADs, principals and a thousand e-mails," she said. "The numbers could not be ignored any longer.”
Those numbers include 70-percent growth in lacrosse participation in the Richmond area over the last three years, according to Porter, also a parent of two Douglas Freeman players.
“I like to say it’s recession-proof,” she said.
It didn’t hurt that the club teams agreed to donate all equipment and any remaining funds to the respective high schools, an estimated $35,000, according to Porter. Parents argued that keeping lacrosse at a club level was denying students potential scholarships, especially considering the proximity to the nation’s No. 1-ranked college men’s lacrosse team.
“[Virginia men’s lacrosse coach] Dom Starsia can’t even recruit in the capital of the state of Virginia,” Porter said. “We’re behind. And when you live in the capital, you need to be aggressive.”
Current VMI sophomore Chris Kitchen became the first Douglas Freeman graduate to play NCAA Division I lacrosse. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, here are some current players to watch from the area.
Boys: Will Eudailey, Alex Davis and Henry White, Douglas Freeman; Aaron Chraszcz and Tim Lancaster, Mills Godwin; Brodie Ceparich and Alex Lynn, Deep Run; Jay Aldrich, West End; Jay Morgan and Adam Hamner, Midlothian; Tom Ramage, Atlee; Colt Jones, Hanover.
Girls: Ann Martin, James River; Kelly Reagan and Ashley Swan, Midlothian; Tricia Watkins and Melissa Gerndt, Mills Godwin; Rachel Quinn and Audrey Hester, Deep Run.
The offense came from several places when St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) rolled to big victories over North Brunswick and Palos Verdes in New Jersey lacrosse action last week.
Ed Lubowicki scored 16 points in the two games, while Kevin Cernuto added 13. Andrew D’Ambrosio helped with six of his own.
Lubowicki led the way with four goals and five assists in a 16-3 drubbing of Palos Verdes. Cernuto helped with five goals and one assist of his own in that game, and D’Ambrosio got a goal and an assist.
In the 20-4 rout of North Brunswick, Lubowicki sparked the offense with four goals and three assists.
Cernuto added five goals and two assists, also for seven points. D’Ambrosio pitched in with three goals and one assist. The Falcons have started the season with a 6-0 record.
The Cardinal Gibbons lacrosse team is hoping to get back to where it once was -- and the Crusaders are off to a very good start.
Coach Mike Curatolo’s team has used a powerful offense to reel off 12 straight victories to start the season. In addition, the Crusaders haven’t given up much defensively, and that’s proved to be a powerful combination in North Carolina lacrosse.
The Crusaders won the North Carolina state title in 2006, made it to the finals in 2004 and are hoping to get back to that level. They’ve had just one close game so far, a season-opening 8-6 victory over Needham-Broughton.
But since then, a 7-3 victory over that same team has been the lone close game for Gibbons, which averaged 11.6 goals per game while giving up just over two per contest.
Brophy Prep has been one of Arizona’s top lacrosse teams in recent years, and the Broncos have kept going this year, starting with an 8-0 record in league play (10-2 overall).
Kevin Murney is the team’s top scorer with 22 goals and three assists for 25 points. Adam Fishman is next with 16 goals and eight assists (24 points).
Andrew Fennessy also has 16 goals, plus three assists. Brock Ghelfi is right up there with 12 goals and seven assists.
The Broncos have had little trouble finding offense, something they’ll have to do in a tougher spot in the future since four of their final six games are on the road.
St. Thomas Aquinas needed extra time to beat Blue Valley West in their Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association Kansas City-Kansas Conference match-up last week, according to WestSideLax.com.
Pat Gregg’s goal with 2:30 left in the
extra period handed St. Thomas Aquinas a 12-11 victory, improving
the team to a 3-4 mark overall and 3-0 in the conference. It was
the first time St. Thomas has ever beaten Blue Valley West.
The win gave St. Thomas the top spot in the league. The team got plenty of offense from Mike Healy (three goals, three assists). Eric Pageler got the assist on the game-winning goal and finished with two goals and two assists.
But Trevor Timmerberg tried to help Blue Valley West win all by himself. He finished with five goals and two assists. It just wasn’t enough.
Archbishop Spalding’s Brian Cooper is headed to Maryland next year, and the Terps will be a be a better team if he keeps making plays like he’s doing this year.
Cooper was honored as The Washington Post’s lacrosse player of the week after scoring the goal that gave the Cavaliers an 11-10 overtime victory over St. Mary’s in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game last Friday.
He finished with three goals in one assist in that game, but coach Zack Burke said that Cooper’s the player who really makes their offense go.
Cooper had two goals and one assist in a 14-11 come-from-behind victory over Gilman the previous week. He directed the offense smoothly, getting the Cavaliers to settle down and play with more patience, a big reason they rallied from a 9-6 deficit.
“He was just great,” Burke said after that game. “He really led us.”
Jeff Seidel covers high school lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine Online. Check back each week for his regional breakdown of what's what around nation. Submit notes or story ideas to email@example.com.
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