Tuesday, September 03, 2013

End of the road

Readers: Thanks for reading my comments about NorCal Boys and Mens Lacrosse over the last decade. Ten years is a long time on a narrow topic like NorCal Lacrosse. Including my posts on the wonderful NorCalLaxForum and here on the NorCal Lacrosse Blog, I've written nearly 4,000 posts and you, dear readers, have produced nearly one million page views. I no longer have anything to say. Time to call it a day!

I had never seen a Lacrosse game in 2002 when my then eight-year-old Son, while waiting for a Little League Baseball practice to begin, saw three Piedmont HS laxers throwing it around at Linda Beach Field in Piedmont. He asked me, "What game are those boys playing, Da?" I was able to respond, "They're playing Lacrosse, Son." He thought for a couple of seconds and said to me, "That's the game I want to play."

I bought two sticks and a three-pack of balls and we started throwing it around. We played catch an hour a day, seven days a week! I bought and read six lacrosse  books trying to answer questions the boy had. I read voraciously, because I didn't know anyone who had played Lacrosse. Somehow, I learned about an upcoming STX Lacrosse camp and we signed him up. I didn't know STX from STP, but the day came and his Mother and I took him over to Witter Field at Piedmont High and sent him to the registration booth. There,  in bold letters, a sign said, "You must be at least 9 years old to register." He read it. He understood it. He swallowed hard, handed them the check his Mother had written and said, "My name is JW McGovern, and here's my money." The lady at check-in took his money and handed him a Pinnie. At that camp, the legendary Gary Gait oversaw the camp for STX, Duke All-American Matt Ogelsby was the Camp Director, and some nineteen year-old college players from the Ivy League ran station drills to teach the boys the game of Lacrosse.

Three hours into the camp, Matt walked up to JW and asked, "How old are you, Son?"

"I'm nine, Coach," JW responded. You see, he was hooked on the game. He still is. That was the first, and only, time he has EVER lied. Yep, EVER.  Learning the game we all love was really important to that eight-year-old boy.

The boy at 9 years old

One thing led to another and he played NCJLA lacrosse at Lamorinda for five years and a final year with So. Marin, played on 4 youth travel teams (2 U13 and 2 U15 teams) when the NCJLA was the only travel team sponsor, played for Mario Enea's Braveheart (the first commercial travel team in NorCal). Played Boxla at the Bladium for four years. Youth Lacrosse was consuming to him - and to us.

But, it didn't end there. High School applications were around the corner. He considered a number of private and parochial High Schools. In the end, it came down to De Lasalle (DLS) and Saint Ignatius (SI). On a tour of SI, his mother, walking in the Halls of that venerable institution,  happened to look up and saw, on the wall, a class photo from long ago. In that class photo, she saw her Father, as a young man, staring down at her. Her Dad, who had passed a decade before, and both of her Uncles, had attended SI. She took it as a sign – and that was that. SI it was!

SI was wonderful. The years flew by, the boy had world-class coaching and, because of that, kept getting better. Many awards and honors later, he enrolled at Yale after being recruited by the Bulldogs and several other Ivy League Schools. Coach Chris Packard of SI and Braden Edwards of the Outlaws were able to recommend him when college coaches called to ask about his character. Those recommendations are a critical part of the recruiting process. I'm very grateful to all the coaches who helped him along the way. In particular, Coach Packard, who stayed in touch with the boy and his college coaches throughout his Freshman year, helping both the boy and his college coach understand each other. I have never met anyone, in any field, who feels more strongly the call of duty to help his charges – even long after they leave his grasp – than Coach Chris Packard.  We are honored to know him.

JW ended up being a starter on the EMO unit for the Elis much of this past season and had his fair share of goals and assists for the 2013 Yale team, which made the NCAA tournament and ended up being the #7 ranked team in the nation. The only Lacrosse wish I've ever had for him was that he be a contributor to the success of his team. Last season he was. Moreover, he loves Yale – and he still loves lacrosse!

And here's why it's over for me. This past summer the boy was a coach at Chris Packard's first-ever St. Ignatius Lacrosse Camp. JW was a nineteen year old college student, teaching eight-year-old boys how to play the game. It was a mirror image, time-warped from eleven years ago, when he was the eight-year-old being taught by nineteen year-old Ivy League players. The great circle of lacrosse life had been completed! He, who has been given so much – by so many others – was now giving back. It was a magical moment, and I'm greedy enough to want to see more of them. He's got three more years of college ball, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do than sit in the stands on a sunny Spring day and watch him play, while daydreaming about some future moment when a young player comes up to my Son and says... "Thanks for everything, Coach!"

The Boy at 20

I hope, and pray, that your experiences as a parent, a player, a coach, or a fan, will be/have been as positive and powerful as mine. Thanks for the memories – to all of you – players, parents, coaches, and fans alike. It's been a pleasure to write for you about the game we all love.


Friday, August 02, 2013

High School: LaxPower Final rankings – SI 12th in the nation

LaxPower's combined Coaches & Computer ranking year-end results are in. I've long believed that this combined ranking is the gold standard of ranking systems. St. Ignatius, with its 21-1 record, ranked 12th in the nation for 2013. Congratulations to the Wildcats!

Ranking 12th in the nation, out of 3,484 teams is exceptional. It also happens to be the highest ranking ever achieved by a Western High School Lacrosse team since LaxPower began keeping the combined rankings in 2005. Here is a compilation of the top Western Boys' High School lacrosse teams from 2005-2013:

Year Rank Team
2005 27th   La Costa Canyon CA
2006 37th   Monte Vista Danville CA
2007 27th   St. Ignatius CA
2008 13th   Kent Denver CO
2009 20th   Highland Park TX
2010 15th   La Costa Canyon CA
2011 21st   Regis Jesuit CO
2012 19th   Arapahoe CO
2013 12th   St. Ignatius CA

Only two schools have been the top Western team more than once: La Costa Canyon in 2005 and 2010, and St. Ignatius in 2007 and 2013. California has been home to the top Western team 5 times, Colorado three times, and Texas once. Even better, li'l ole NorCal, all by its lonesome, has as many top Western rankings as the whole State of Colorado!

I have been lucky enough to see six of the nine top teams play during the season in which they ranked Best in the West. I missed seeing Highland Park, Regis Jesuit and Arapahoe play during their top-ranked seasons.

Slowly but surely, the West is taking a prominent place in Boys' High School Lacrosse. And the trend looks like it will keep going. In the recently completed US Lacrosse U-15 National Championships, 3D Select (a mixed team from Colorado and California) won the National Championship for that age group!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

High School recruiting: Alcatraz Outlaws change nomination process – tryouts will determine team

***Important news about changes in the selection process for the Alcatraz Outlaws***

After a long and successful run with one team selection process, NorCal's high-profile Alcatraz Outlaws are making a process change; They are adding self-nominations – see their nomination webpage at:

Outlaws staff will then check with a player's coaches (and others) and respond to players with an evaluation. •••Now is the time to get those nominations in! •••

The evaluation response received by nominees will tell the players whether, or not, they are invited to tryouts, to be held on August 24th and 25th at Treasure Island.

In addition, the Outlaws are broadening the age range of the teams they'll coach. Here are the age/grade ranges the Outlaws will be coaching next summer. Players seeking to participate on ANY Outlaws team must fill out the nomination forms

On August 24th and 25th the Outlaw staff will be conducting an Invite Only Evaluation for the following teams:

  • 7th Grade
  • 8th Grade
  • 9th Grade
  • 10th Grade
  • 11th Grade
My surmise is that earlier and earlier recruiting by college coaches is partly responsible for this expansion. However, younger Outlaws will also have an opportunity to learn the methods, offensive/defensive schemes, and systems used by the Outlaws. I suspect these learning experiences will prove beneficial to younger players.

The Outlaws are one of only a very few NorCal teams who travel to the East Coast to participate in what are, essentially, recruiting tournaments. Their team success on trips to King of the Hill and the Gait Cup have made them one of the top Club teams in the nation.

Of course, there are other methods to get recruited. Peter Worstell's California Gold is another example, in a different format. But, going to where the coaches live certainly makes life easier for the college coaches. I'm a fan of both enterprises.

The key takeaway for the Outlaws is: nominate yourself NOW.

Disclosure statement:
My Son plays NCAA DI lacrosse at Yale. As his Mother and I planned out his recruiting activities, we relied on the assistance of the following entities: Matt Ogelsby at All West Lacrosse helped us assess the colleges where our Son would be a good fit. Peter Worstell, via California Gold, provided a vehicle for a large number of college coaches to evaluate him. The Outlaws took him East, where the Yale coaches, among others, evaluated him over several games. That's where he ended up.

From one parent to another, I'd happily recommend using any or all of these entities. 

Having said that, in my opinion, there is no substitute for the Varsity Coach of a player's High School team being involved in the recruiting process. However, I believe there are only a handful of Varsity coaches who have the chops to cause college coaches to stand at attention when they hear from one of these coaches. Coaches Chris Packard of St. Ignatius and Peter Worstell of San Ramon Valley come to mind, though I suspect there are others. If your Son has such a Coach, you'd be well advised to involve him in the recruiting process.

High School recruiting: Peter Tagliaferri to Georgetown!

Peter Tagliaferri – Georgetown recruit

San Ramon Valley's versatile mifielder/Attack/FO, Peter Tagliaferri has committed to Georgetown.*  Peter made 1st team All-EBAL this past Spring and did everything for the Wolves but carry the water bottles. For the fifteen games in which he played, he had 42G, 19A and a F?O win rate of 78%.

His highlight video lists his GPA as 3.60 and his cumulative SAT score as 2070. Knowing his Father, John as well as I do, I'm pretty sure those grades and test scores are a genetic gift from his Mom, Carol.  :-)

Congratulations to Peter, who is a fiery competitor and a great guy - and to his entire family!

You can see his Junior year highlight vid at:


3D Lacrosse had this to say about Peter:

#23 Peter Tagliaferri, 2014
San Ramon Valley, California
Position: Midfield
Sub-Position: Face-Off/ Two-Way
College Commitment:
Rating: Legit
Peter is a powerful, fast, athletic playmaker who leaves his mark all over the game. He faces off, plays awesome defense, clears the ball, and scores goals. Peter has a powerful, accurate shot on the run or with time and room. He is dangerous as a wing dodger or coming down hill into the alley and has the ability to split double teams. Peter also leads his team with huge physically destructive hits.
*Thanks to JW McGovern for the info. He saw Peter at last night's Giants game and learned about Peter's commitment there. Coincidentally, JW was at the game with his GF, who attends Georgetown.

Monday, July 22, 2013

College & Post-College: 2013 Lake Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament – Complete Scores for every game

2013 Lake Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament Complete Final Brackets with game-by-game results

Mountain Top vs. West Sunset – West Sunset prevailed, 6-3
Tournament Champion
(3 Consecutive Years)
Dub C8
SF1Adrenalin11SF2Dub C10
West Sunset7O Club8
QF1Adrln Tropics12QF3O Club10
CA Love4Ryquin7
QF2Dub C12QF4West Sunset11
Friday, July 19, 2013
(Village Green Fields)
Friday, July 19, 2013
(High School Fields)
19AM1Adrln Tropics17179AM3Shooterz7
Sac Bay Koalas0East Bay Athletics6
22Salt Shakerz11184Golden Gate3
Palo Alto3CA Love11
310 AM1Dub C131910 AM3Barbary Coast8
Team Vegas2Game Cocks9
42Big Blue5204Scallywags11
SF11NW Nirvana7
511 AM1Adrln Tropics142111 AM3Shooterz4
Salt Shakerz0CA Love9
62Sac Bay Koalas9224East Bay Athletics9
Palo Alto6Golden Gate4
712 AM1Dub C122312 AM3Game Cocks8
82Team Vegas11244Barbary Coast9
Big Blue5NW Nirvana8
91 PM1O Club13251 PM3Twisted Steel8
Central CA1Liv Lax4
102Tribe7264Clif Bar3
112 PM1West Sunset15272 PM3Marin12
Old Gaels0Sin City2
122Mountain Top8284Big Foot13
Tahoe Dawgs3Regulators5
133 PM1O Club11293 PM3Twisted Steel9
142Central CA4304Clif Bar5
Chico14Liv Lax10
154 PM1West Sunset6314 PM3Marin8
Mountain Top3Big Foot10
162Old Gaels3324Sin City9
Tahoe Dawgs10Regulators7
(All Games at Village Green)
339AM2Palo Alto11411 PM1Salt Shakerz8
Central CA1Tribe7
341Adrln Tropics12422 PM2Sac Bay1
CA Love4Chico5
3510 AM2Big Blue12432 PM1SF3
Old Gaels7Mountain Top6
3610:15 AM1Dub C12443 PM2Teams Vegas10
Scallywags11Tahoe Dawgs6
3711 AM2Golden Gate8453 PM1Shooterz6
Clif Bar6Twister Steel8
3811:30 AM1O Club10464 PM2East Bay7
Ryquin7Liv Lax9
3912 AM2NW Nirvana9474 PM1Gamecocks6
4012:45 AM1West Sunset11485 PM1Barbary Coast7
Bigfoot6Sin City4
SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2013
(All Games at Village Green)
498:30 AM1Consolation Game508:30 AM2Consolation Game
Marin10Barbary Coast10
Tribe4Liv Lax4
529:30 AM1Consolation Game539:30 AM2Consolation Game
CA Love6NW Nirvana4
Scallywags5Sac Bay6
5510:30 AM1SEMI-FINAL #1
Winner #34 vs. #40
5610:30 AM2Consolation Game
Adrenalin11Palo Alto4
West Sunset7Big Blue11
5811:45 AM1SEMI-FINAL #2
Winner #36 vs. #38
5911:30 AM2Consolation Game
Dub C10Golden Gate9
O Club8Sin City8
611 PM16212:30 PM2Consolation Game
Tahoe Dawgs7Ryquin8
Chico6Big Foot4
Winner #55 vs. #58
651:30 PM2Consolation Game
Adrenalyn9Twisted Steel5
Dub C8SF2
Field #4
518:30 AM4Consolation Game6011:30 AM4Consolation Game
Team Vegas5Salt Shakerz4
East Bay6Mountain Top6
549:30 AM4Consolation Game631:30 PM4Consolation Game
Old Gaels4Shooterz8
Clif Bar6Gamecocks4
5710:30 AM4Consolation Game
Central CA6