Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The "likely letter" season in the Ivies

The Ivy League plays by different rules. Sure, they're all NCAA DI schools – meeting the minimum standards the NCAA requires – but the league's a) season of sport, b) recruiting practices, c) academic standards, d) lack of athletic scholarships, and e) admissions practices are at a far remove from the rest of NCAA DI schools. Laxers who aspire to play in the Ivy League need to learn a whole new language to understand Ivy recruiting. In particular, two phrases – academic index and likely letter – are unique to the Ivies. In a separate blog entry, I'll write later about the intricacies of the Academic Index and why it delays the completion of recruiting a class. The Likely Letter is particularly timely now, since they have recently arrived at the homes of anxious Ivy hopefuls over the last month or so.

So, what is the Likely Letter and what is the origin of the name? It all starts with the standard comment of all Ivy coaches that, "Admissions makes admission decisions, I don't. In return for your commitment to me, I commit to do my best to represent you to the admissions committee." Since coaches want to build, and hold, their classes, they need to send a signal to recruited athletes who have scholarship offers from non-Ivies that those athletes are "likely" to be admitted. Admissions committees for each Ivy meet in the Fall and are presented with a list of High School Senior candidates by the Coach of each and every sport the school sponsors. The committee reviews each candidate (and the coaches candidate pool as a whole) and makes tentative decisions on each candidate. Those candidates who pass muster with the admissions committee – some pass with flying colors and others by the skin of their teeth –  are sent the infamous "likely letter." Sadly, some few don't make it past the admissions committee and the Coach has to convey the bad news to the declined player.

So, what does the likely letter say and why is it sent? The letter from the Admissions committee says to a recruited athlete that he/she is "likely" to be admitted if the candidate's grades and behaviors remain at their current level. It is not a guarantee, but it is the next closest thing. Recruited athletes are encouraged to apply "Early Decision or Early Action" to the Ivy that has recruited them. Coaches, Admissions, and Administration at the Ivies know that they are competing against schools who offer scholarship monies, while the Ivies offer no athletic scholarships and only offer need-based aid. Historically, the likely letter has served as a way to signal recruited athletes that if things stay on track, they'll be offered an admissions slot in the early action/decision flurry.

But increasingly, the likely letter is an anachronism. Why? Sophomore recruiting is the why. When non-Ivies start recruiting rising Sophomores, the Ivies haves no ability to respond. They require transcripts, standardized test scores, recommendations from teachers and administrators. So, it's quaint and it's steeped in tradition, but if you want to go Ivy, you'll have to decline scholarship offers made during your Sophomore year and take the risk of not getting a likely letter. It is becoming harder for scholar athletes to wait for a likely letter.

Still, you'd be amazed how many players wait. The thought of an Ivy education resonates with a sizable portion of the lacrosse world. Nonetheless, I will predict that that advent of Sophomore recruiting will force the Ivies to re-examine their recruiting practices. They may conclude to keep the status quo ante, but not without lots of tooth gnashing and hand wringing. The yawning chasm between big-time athletics and big-time academics is widening. In non-Ivies, most of the battles between athletics and admissions are won by the Athletic Departments. That's not true for the Ivies. Just a very few years ago, DI Men's laxers committed late in the Summer of their Junior year or early in their Senior year. We'll see how the Ivies respond to top players being recruited in the summer after their Freshman year or in the Fall of their Sophomore year! At this point in their academic lives, incoming Sophomores have skimpy transcripts, no AP classes, no SAT scores, no PSAT scores,  and no extended read of a candidate from his teachers, counsellors or coaches is available.

Coaches face much more uncertainty about the players they are recruiting since they know so little about a candidate's academic profile when that recruit has completed only his Freshman year. As a consequence, Ivy coaches will have to add more conditions to their offers. Such conditions include: a) subject to a score of XXX on your PSAT, b) subject to SAT scores of XXXX, c) subject to a GPA of X.XX, etc. It is worth remembering that these conditions may satisfy the coach, but may not satisfy admissions. Only admissions can make an offer to an Ivy candidate. I know of several instances where Ivy coaches have raised the academic and test score bar during the time between coaches' initial offers and the creation of their final list of recruits to present to admissions. In part, this relates to players achieving (or not achieving) target test scores and GPAs. In part it relates to the Academic Index for the entire list of recruits.  

It is a tricky time for the Ivies and their lacrosse teams. As a result, it is a tricky time to be a recruited laxer to the Ivy League.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Patrick Shevelson to Kenyon

One of my favorite players, Patrick Shevelson, has commited to Kenyon College. Looks like he'll be joining Phil Alimam of Saint Ignatius as the twosome from NorCal who'll be attending this very strong academic institution in the Fall of 2012.

The best single-game performance I've ever seen in the cage was one of Patrick's. He played on the NorCal U15 team at Vail (when NorCal's top Youth teams ALWAYS went to Vail). Athletic, acrobatic, outrageous standing on his head good! Memories of that performance will stay with me forever. He's certainly had a number of fine games at Foothill and I'm sure he'll have many at Kenyon, but I can't imagine him ever topping that game in Vail in the summer of 2008! Congratulations, Patrick!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Ivy League: Destination resort for NorCal laxers?

If one were to look at all the conferences in NCAA DI lacrosse, searching for THE conference with the most NorCal players, it wouldn't take much time to figure out that the Ivy League is the destination resort of choice for NorCal's top players. Right now, looking at current Ivy players and Ivy commits, every lacrosse playing Ivy has at least one NorCal standout. Think of that! Of all the Ancient Eight, seven play Men's lacrosse. And every one of them has at least one player or commit from NorCal. Perennial power Cornell has three: Roy Lang, the SI 1st team NCAA All-American, Ross Rudow, the powerfully-built SRV middie, and Connor Hunt, the terrifying Close D from DLS. That's pretty impressive. A perennial Semi-finalist in the NCAA has 3 NorCal guys (with another one coming). And it's not going to be much different at other Ivies.  Go NorCal!!!


Jordan LaTendresse: Cornell's his new home

As a few folks know, Jordan LaTendresse decided the Naval Academy was not for him. As with everything Jordan decides, it's rigorous, detailed and conclusive. He'll take a year off, then head off to Cornell. This is big news for Cornell and for NorCal. For Cornell, they'll get another 6'5" agile Close D to join Connor Hunt. For NorCal, its two most dynamic, powerful, defenders have decided to play for the Big Red. These two guys are scary good. To have them play on the same team – and ultimately on the same line – will scare almost all other NCAA DI opponents. After years of being opponents, Jordan and Connor will get to gang up on opponents. Were I an Attackman, I'd hope to be the third Attack when my team played Cornell!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NorCal commits: A double doubleheader!

DIII Kenyon and DI Dartmouth both have happy coaches, as four NorCal players have recently committed to these schools - two to each school. Coach Andy Tower has to be thrilled to pick up commitments from two NorCal Junior Attacks who rank among the very best players at their position in California. Jack McCormick, De La Salle's lefty feeding/finishing master, will join Wiley Osbourne, Menlo School's righty Attack who is, in many ways, the mirror image of Jack. These are VERY good gets by Coach Tower, and these two players replenish the steady NorCal pipeline to the Ivy League. Congrats to these two fine scholar athletes!

Kenyon coach Doug Misarti worked hard to land two of NorCal's hardest working players - whose names I'm reluctant to reveal until the Early Decision admissions process completes on December 15th. Still, it seems likely that Kenyon will land a sensational NorCal Goalie and a Midfielder who - in my opinion - gives the most effort of any middie I've ever watched in NorCal. These two 2012 commits continue Coach Misarti's success in recruiting top NorCal players, as former SI standout, Nick Alimam, plays for the Lords. 

Congrats to all of these fine players! I've watched them all for a number of years and they are fine representatives of NorCal Lacrosse. With all the commitments we've had over the last several years, I've recently come to believe NorCal is a "HOTBED." Not an emerging hotbed, not an up-and-comer, but an Honest-to-God, dyed-in-the-wool HOTBED. More about my contention in a future post.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pursuing an athletic scholarship – How costly?

Here's a provocative article for parents of lacrosse players who seek to continue playing the sport in college. It features Kieran Eissler, a very talented player from Nevada who recently committed to Johns Hopkins. Money quote from Kieran's father: "This summer alone, and I'm embarrassed to say it, we probably spent around $12,000." Read the whole article here.

Kieran is a very talented player (the boy played against him at the Adrenaline Challenge and with him on this year's Under Armour West team), but it costs about the same to pursue that dream whether you're as good as Kieran or not. The author's point is that parent's need a reality check before they decide to spend  savings in pursuit of an athletic scholarship. I commend this article to all parents of High School athletes.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Casey Hock - His first game at Queens

It's VERY early in the NCAA Fall Ball season, but we've got a NorCal siting in North Carolina! Casey Hock, NorCal AA and holder of the all-time Monte Vista single season points record, played in his first college game today, as the current Queens University NCAA DII laxers jousted with the Queens alums. The current Royals held the lead through almost the entire game, but a late surge by the alums brought the game to an 8-8 tie – and that's where it ended. Casey, donning #53 – yes, it's a large squad – looked pretty good today, but so did a number of the 10-11 Queens attackmen. This looks to be another good season for the Royals, who won their conference last year.

I got to speak with Casey briefly after the game. In response to my questions, he said that he's very happy with his selection of Queens as his college, that after a two-week adjustment period he's got that hang of college academic requirements, and that he felt the level of play by his teammates had him at the right school for lacrosse. Graciously, he invited me to attend a regular season Royals game. As I told him, I'll be there for an early season game. Delightful to catch up with one of NorCal's all-time finest!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tim Jacob at Brown

One of my favorite players, Tim Jacob (Bellarmine College Prep, Class of 2011), gets a very nice mention from his college coach, Lars Tiffany at Brown University. Here's the quote from Inside Lacrosse: "The biggest surprise as a freshman this fall has been attackman Tim Jacob from Bellarmine College Prep and Palo Alto, Calif. He was not expected to make an immediate impact but has been a “pleasant surprise,” said Tiffany."

You can read the article about Brown's entering class at:

Way to go, Tim!

Will Montero to Bryant!

De La Salle's fine midfielder, Will Montero – Class of 2013 – has committed to Bryant University, where he will play for famed Coach, Mike Pressler. He'll also join two other Nor Cal standouts – Nico Dutra and Sean Mullin – on the Bulldogs squad. Will is an ultra-smooth middie, with an excellent shot on the run. But, even better, he's got a strong lacrosse IQ, VERY strong fundamentals, and an impressive sense for the geometries of the game. Mike Pressler is getting a good one! Here are some highlights from Will's 2011 season:

Friday, September 23, 2011

WSL ranks Top Club Teams in the West - II

"You're entitled to your own opinions, but you aren't entitled to your own facts."

A week or so ago, I commented on the WestSideLax rankings of the top Club Teams in the Western United States. At that time, they had counted down the teams from #10 to #4. While, in my opinion, they ranked the Golden State Titans too low, they're entitled to their own opinions.

They continued their countdown over the next week, ranking the Orange County Kings #3, the Alcatraz Outlaws #2, and the San DIego Lax Dawgs #1. You can see their complete rankings here. All I can say is, they're entitled to their own opinions, but they aren't entitled to their own facts.

West SideLax specifies the criteria they use in their rankings. Here they are:

• Summer 2011 wins
• Coaches feedback
• Strength of schedule
• College commitments
• Observed performance

Let's examine each of these metrics:

Summer Wins reads to me as, "Who did you defeat," rather than "How many wins did you have." By that definition, wins in strong tournaments matter. So, which tournaments are strong? On the National circuit, top college coaches rank them as follows: Brine Shootout, Champ Camp, Tri-State, King of the Hill, Gait Cup, and Hotbeds. Teams that vie for victories in these tournaments are testing themselves against a very strong pool of nationally ranked Club teams. Only two of the WestSideLax contenders elected to compete in the top National Circuit tourneys. They were the Golden State Titans and the Alcatraz Outlaws.

Coaches Feedback could mean High School Coaches, College Coaches, or a mix of the two. Heck, it could even mean Youth Lacrosse coaches, since they aren't specific. I'll assume that they mean College Coaches, since if they meant anything else, there is no way that Western teams who competed only on the East Coast could be evaluated. If this is true, the best measure of feedback from college coaches is who they recruit.

Strength of Schedule is just that. If your club team didn't compete in the top East Coast tourneys, your team did not have a strong schedule. Period.

College Commitments are redundant with any reasonable definition of Coaches feedback. One or the other needs to be dumped.

Observed performance is another ill-defined metric. Who's doing the observing? WSL? HS coaches, or College Coaches? It matters. Here's why: If the Alcatraz Outlaws - who played only on the East Coast - were not seen by WSL's "observers," why were they ranked at all?

Enough! WSL's metrics are fatally flawed, but I admire their effort. WSL adds value to the Western Lacrosse community, they're innovative and they're a terrific source of game write-ups and other lax news throughout the West. I check their website every day.

So, who are the best Club teams in the geographic area staked out by WSL? Here's my cut, using the following metrics:
College Commitments - College coaches vote with their offers. They guys they recruit are the best players. Coaches now recruit nationally. They see ALL the candidates. They travel the East Coast, the West Coast and most places in between. In addition, when they watch their candidates, they can answer  the question: Who are the top Club teams?
Performance in strong tournaments - Being in the Sweet Sixteen in a top East Coast tournament means more than winning a tournament consisting of competition from local Club teams.

Best in the West (I have seen every one of these teams play within the last 15 months)
10 Minnesota Elite - MN sent 10 of its 2011 Seniors to play NCAA DI. Fourth highest total in the West. Most all of MN's top players play for the Elite.
9 Denver Elite - Colorado sent 13 players from the Class of 2011 to NCAA DI schools - third highest total in the West. Not all of them played for the Elite, but they defeated a mid-tier LI Express team at the Brine Shootout. This is a solid team.
8 Golden State Titans - This NorCal team is quite young, but VERY good. Several early DI commits. They took 5th place at the Hotbeds tourney. I might have this team ranked too low.
7 OC Kings - A nice team from California's Central Coast section. Some of these players also play on Team America, about which more later.
6 Arizona Burn - Arizona is an up-and-comer in the Lacrosse world. Charlie Hushek and Brock Ghelfi lead this team. They suffer from not having many lax teams in the state, but the Burn gets almost all the good players.
5 Brady's Bunch - An eclectic team from a number of States but - make no mistake - they are VERY good. Lots and lots of NCAA players.
4 San Diego Lax Dawgs - I have enjoyed watching the LaxDawgs over several years! They're big, athletic, and well coached. In my mind, the best of the teams that didn't go East this past summer.
3 Team America - An Orange County team that made the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp. They're well coordinated and well coached.
2 Dallas Select - Texas sent 16 Seniors to NCAA DI schools in 2011 - second most in the West. A bunch of them played for Dallas Select. Of their four tourney appearances, three were in the East, the other at the Denver Team Camp. They made the semi-finals at three of the four, though they did not make the semis at their toughest camp - King of the Hill.
1 Alcatraz Outlaws - Twenty-two Outlaws have committed to NCAA DI schools in the last three years. No other Club team in the Western United States comes close to that total. Attended two tourneys this year - King of the Hill and Gait Cup - and made the finals at both. Both King of the Hill and Gait Cup  are top 5 tourneys and in both instances, the Outlaws lost to the consensus #1 Club team in the nation - Laxachusetts. Western Club Lacrosse gets no better than this.

There you have it! You can disagree with my rankings and the metrics I've chosen, but my facts speak for themselves.   


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mike Schlosser to Michigan

Mike Schlosser (Class of 2013), the loose-hipped Middie from Davis has committed to NCAA DI Michigan. He dodges like a lightning bolt and dazzles in the open field. The Wolverines are lucky to have him! He'll join his Alcatraz Outlaw teammate, Mike Hernandez (Class of 2012), at Michigan. Two terrific Middies, with entirely different styles. Both styles are needed in any Midfield. Congrats to Mike!

Here's his Hightlight vid:

Chad Cohan to Duke

Senior Chad Cohan, the excellent St. Ignatius Attack, has committed to Duke University. There he'll join his lacrosse playing brother, Dax, as well as his sister. While I've known about this commit for a while, it was only recently publicized.

Chad is a very good all around Attackman, whose riding game, lacrosse IQ, and crafty dodging are excellent. These qualities made him an appealing recruit to Duke. I believe he'll be a solid contributor at Duke! Coach Danowski is fortunate to have landed him.

As an interesting aside, The Cohan brothers and the Emery brothers apparently live in parallel universes. Both sets of brothers attend/attended St. Ignatius, both sets of brothers will attend the same school, both sets of brothers will attend powerhouse ACC schools, and both sets of brothers will attend a college that won the NCAA DI Men's Lacrosse Championship within the last two years.   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WestSideLax rates Top Western Club teams

WestSideLax.com has been running a series that counts down the top 10 club teams in their "West of the Mississippi" geography. It's pretty good and you can read it here. They've counted down from #10 to #4 so far, in the following order:
 That leaves three to go. Who will they be?

There are a number of candidates in my opinion, including Minnesota Elite, Team America, Dallas Select, and the Alcatraz Outlaws. In addition, if one includes the single-school summer teams, I think both Cherry Creek and Fog City would make this top ten. But, let's say "Club" – by the WestSideLax definition – includes only multi-school teams. So, here we go! My #3 is Dallas Select. They made the final 4 at three different summer tournaments (Finals at Denver Team Camp, Semi-Finals at Notre Dame, and Semi-Finals at UNC), though they didn't do as well at King of the Hill. My #2 team is Team America, built around Corona Del Mar, Palos Verdes, and St. Margaret's players. Team America made it to the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp. Champ Camp is, in my opinion, the second most competitive summer tournament in the country. While the Brine Shootout has become the toughest summer tourney, Champ Camp still provides VERY difficult competition. My #1 Club team  West of the Mississippi – would be the Alcatraz Outlaws, who made the Finals of both tournaments they entered – King of the Hill and the Gait Cup, losing in both tournaments to Laxachusetts. Laxachusetts, in my opinion, had the best summer tournament run in the country in 2011.  So, those are my top three Club teams.

That leaves unanswered the question as to how Cherry Creek and Fog City would be ranked if they were club teams. My take is that both would rank above Dallas Select and below Team America. I'd also make one final adjustment to WestSide Lax's rankings. The Golden State Titans would rank a smidge higher than #9 in my rankings. Their performance at the Hotbeds was a major accomplishment. 

What do you think?

Thanks to WestSideLax for their excellent idea and thoughtful analysis! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another NorCal DI recruit?

The Dilettante has been hearing rumors that another NorCal Class of 2012 laxer has committed to a DI school. Comment if you've got the whole story!

Duke Lacrosse Coaches Clinics on the Web

The Dilettante has been fortunate to take in the Duke University Coaches Clinics in each of the last two years. They've been given at the Duke Lacrosse film room to local North Carolina coaches for several years now. It's a five star clinic by Coach Danowski and his excellent staff. This Fall's Clinics will be available to Coaches all around the country as the sessions will be broadcast live on the web, using the schedule below. All times are in the evening using the Eastern time zone. Full details can be found at:
Go Duke
Well worth any High School Coach's time and highly recommended!

WednesdaySept. 217-9:30 
WednesdayOct. 197-9:30
WednesdayNov. 167-9:30
WednesdayDec. 147-9:30
WednesdayJan. 187-9:30

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Griffin Goudreau 2011 Highlights

Griffin Goudreau, the 6'5" 220 pound Close D/LSM has committed to play for NCAA DI Providence College. Griffin, who attends Bellarmine College Prep, played for the Alcatraz Outlaws this past summer, where he caught the eye of a number of coaches. Here are his highlights from the 2011 season.

Matt Corbin 2011 Highlights

Matt Corbin, the fine De La Salle Close D, has committed to play NCAA DIII at highly regarded Haverford. Matt is in the Class of 2012 and will join another NorCal guy next year on the 'Fords - Jack Bodine, Class of 2011, from  Saint Ignatius.

Haverford is a supreb academic institution and Matt is a very strong student. Sounds like a great fit. The 'Fords are getting a tough, sizable, tenacious defender. They're lucky to have him!

Michael Hernandez 2011 Highlights

Michael Hernandez, the fine 2012 Piedmont Middie, has committed to the University of Michigan. He played for the Alcatraz Outlaws this past summer, where he tore it up at the Gait Cup and King of the Hill. Here are his Junior year highlights.

In Praise of Off-Season Teams from a Single School

For almost a decade, I've been watching summer lacrosse travel teams do battle with teams from other locales–teams from New Hampshire to Florida, and Texas to Washington– in tournaments with as few as eight teams in the bracket to tourneys with as may as 74 in the bracket. They've all been great fun and cumulate as one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Over these years, what I appreciate most about summer tourney teams has changed. For whatever reason, I used to be most attracted to the big, fast, powerful hyper-AllStar teams that attempted to amalgamate the very best athletes from a sizable geographic region. Teams like Gotskillz, Tri-State Black, Laxachussets, Long Island Express, Dukes and the Crabs. It was great to see these aggregations of superstars go mano-a-mano against an opposing superstar from another of the very top clubs. I still like to watch these one-on-one battles among the very elite Select teams, but in the last few years I've found myself drawn to the School teams.You know, the teams comprised of players from a single High School. I've had a hard time understanding why this change occurred, but think I finally can explain it – at least to myself.

School teams may attend the same tournaments as Select teams, but they have different objectives. School teams are formed primarily to prepare for next season's  conference play and the Regional, Sectional, and State tournaments that follow. Last year's Seniors have graduated and the heart of the new team will have to be found among the former Juniors, Sophs, and Frosh who were on the Varsity last season. Yes, the players want to be seen by the peripatetic bands of college coaches who carry their Renettos and clipboards, rotating from one field to another every half a game. But the purpose and the attention of their school coaches is focused on building the best possible SCHOOL team for the next season. 

The objectives of recruiting clubs are different. They form teams to showcase the best players in a given grade within an entire region. There is no future for these teams. They play in the moment, for the summer, then they evanesce. Generally, there's not much teaching going on with the recruiting teams. They run basic offenses, have basic slide packages and hope to compete by exploiting mismatches. Off ball movement, off ball picks, fake slides, the two man game, the three man game and other team elements of lacrosse are mostly missing when one watches the recruiting club teams. I've got nothing against Club teams. They serve their purpose. It's just that the play so predictable. There's a lot of individual athleticism and not much coordinated grace. It is what it is.

School teams have team objectives. They exploit with skills and superb coordination. It's beautiful to watch. It's purposeful beyond the objective of getting Jimmy recruited by XYZ DI school. These teams adapt to changing conditions. If the offense isn't effective when initiating with a dodge, they'll switch to initiate off the pick. If neither crease sliding nor adjacent slides are working, you'll see these teams move into a zone. Lacrosse becomes a thinking man's game. I love it!

The different objectives of school teams doesn't mean they can't compete in tournaments dominated by Club teams. De La Salle did very well at the UNC camp a couple of years ago. Saint Ignatius won the UNC Camp a year ago and made the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp - the last school team standing! And at Hotbeds this year, the Championship Game was between two School teams - West Islip and Ward Melville.

So, which school teams among our NorCal enclave travel together in the off season? Well, the Snipers, from Monte Vista, go to the Adrenaline Challenge every January, and always do well. They won NCS last year. The De La Salle boys have traveled as a team for the last several years. Many of those years they won NCS. Saint Ignatius, traveling as Fog City, has gone to Champ Camp or the UNC Camp for the last four or five years. They've been the top team in CCS for some while. Bellarmine has traveled as a school team as well. I believe it has helped them become  the powerhouse they are today. Let me know of other schools who travel together in the off season. Don't get me wrong. All of these teams abide by CIF rules and regs, but - within the rules - they find a way to play together in the off season  

So, here's to the School teams! They make Lacrosse endlessly entertaining for fans of the game.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Statistical Analysis of Men's NCAA DI lacrosse

As the saying goes, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." But in today's ultra-competitive sports world, the use of statistics can help a coach better understand his opponents, while using stats to create better performance by his own team. Michael Lewis even wrote a best selling baseball book - Moneyball - in which the key element of the Oakland A's extraordinary record of wins per dollar spent on salaries was shown to derive from GM Billy Beane's advantage in the use of statistics.

Lacrosse is just coming into its own with sophisticated statistical analysis. Recently, a seven page article deconstructed game data from all 2011 NCAA DI contests. Without giving too much away, one of the key takeaways was the exceptional shooting performance by Canadian NCAA DI laxers. You can read the article at: http://www.laxpower.com/content/mauboussin/stats_analysis.php

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Huaraches - No, Not the Nike Lax Cleats

Plenty of laxers are familiar with the Nike Huarache cleats. They get lots of pub from the custom designed versions given to attendees at recruiting events put on by Jake Reed's Nike Blue Chip and Peter Worstell's California Gold. You can see a Nike example in an earlier blog post I made. But I'm writing about the sandal Huaraches that seemed to draw lots of attention recently at East Coast lax tourneys. At least that's how it seemed to me as 5 colleges coaches and 3 players admiringly asked about the huaraches I was wearing during my summer swing to Maryland.

Huaraches, of course, were originally a Mexican sandal, popularized as low cost footwear, whose soles were made from old tires with strips of leather forming the top. Huaraches have gotten more stylish over the last 50 years or so, and I see lots of guys wearing them as hot-weather footwear on the West Coast. But they seemed very nouveau to East Coast laxers, who may be looking for something new and different than the thong flips that have been so popular over the last decade among the lax bros – at least those who have "tilt." So, here are a few examples of huaraches I've seen worn by West Coasters:

Love 'em or hate 'em, they do keep your feet cool and non-sweaty, while keeping your feet from going all pink and red on you.

NorCal All-Stars at Hotbeds

A number of NorCal Select teams traveled to the Battle of the Hotbeds tournament at U Delaware a week ago. Hotbeds has become a much more competitive tourney over the last three years or so and is attracting many more NCAA coaches to watch the boys. Amongst the big-time team tourneys, only a handful are watched by more coaches. So, making the All-Star team at Hotbeds is a nice recruiting bio bauble!

The Golden State Titans captured all the NorCal spots on the All-Star teams at Hotbeds, and here they are:

Class of 2012
Michael Tagliaferri M San Ramon Valley

Class of 2013
Cam Bowlby G San Ramon Valley
Will Ernst G University
Charlie Ford LSM St. Ignatius
Will Montero M De La Salle

Congrats to these boys for their outstanding individual tournaments, and to all the Titans for performing so well as a team!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Golden State Titans finish 5th at Hotbeds!

In this morning's quarterfinal game between the Titans and Ward Melville, WM prevailed, 9-3. That was the beginning of a three-game run to the Championship by Ward Melville. After defeating the Titans, WM thumped the Florida Hammerheads, 8-3 in the semis, and then defeated West Islip by the same score in the Championship game. Congrats to all the Titans – and to their coaches – for a great run at a well-regarded tournament. A 10-1 record is a wonderful performance!

Golden State Titans at Hotbeds

The Golden State Titans, coached by Chris Rotelli and Erik Martin, have put together a record of 10-0 during the Battle of the Hotbeds at the University of Delaware. That record propels them to the playoffs, which will take place this morning. Based on records so far, West Islip and the Florida Hammerheads have qualified for the semi-finals, while four teams–including the Titans–meet in quarterfinal games to determine which teams move on to the semis. The Titans face Ward Melville at 8AM today. Winner meets the Florida Hammerheads at 9AM to determine which team moves on to the Finals, which take place at 10AM.

You can read some terrific game reports by Ed McGovern here. Go get 'em, Titans!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LAX recruiting: The Parent Trap

Here's the funniest article on Lacrosse recruiting I've ever read. Actually, it's the only funny story I've read about lacrosse recruiting. Possibly apocryphal, but many elements have the ring of truth.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Team Talon: US Lacrosse U15 National Championships

The Nor Cal Talons U15 team finished 4th in the US Lacrosse sponsored National Championships for the U15 title over this past weekend. Congrats to the boys and their coaches. I've included the roster below:
Joe Reid of Petaluma was named to the All-Star team of the National Championships!

Two other California teams made the 32 team Championships. NorCal Blue and DH Elite – coached by Kyle Harrison – were also competing. Congrats to all these California boys. You can read more at:

A short highlight vid of the Talons' game against Dukes Lacrosse U15 team can be seen here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Champ Camp: Follow up on GotSkillz

Earlier, I wrote about Gotskillz, a made-to-order team of 28 players who are all rated among the top 50 players in the Class of 2012. Their run ended today also, as they lost to Long Island 1, 5-4. The last time you read about Long Island 1, they had just defeated Fog City 6-5 in OT. Didn't see this game, but the similar results for Fog City and GotSkillz against LI 1 may speak to the issue of good teamwork versus exceptional individuals.

Champ Camp: The dance is over.... V

Fog City's improbable run to the title ended yesterday afternoon against Dukes 2, a Pennsylvania club whose teams – Dukes 1 and Dukes 2 met in the Championship game last year and may do so again this year. They're both in the semifinals on opposite sides of the bracket. As I talked with the Dukes coaches after the game, they were quite complimentary, saying "You've got to bring more players to this tournament. We learned that lesson some years back. The temps and humidity will just destroy you if you only bring twenty. It wasn't us who beat you, it was the heat and humidity."

Nice words, indeed, but the Saint Ignatius squad brought everyone who remained from 2011's varsity. They are 21 strong. I counted 31 on the Dukes 2 squad.

Dukes led at the first quarter break, 1-0. Then, in rapid succession, three nice dodges from X put the Fog Dawgs up, 3-1. JW McGovern scored the first two and Chad Cohan scored the third. The Dukes fans sitting under the only nearby tree were stunned – and stunned again when they learned that our boys were from a single school, and that school was in San Francisco.

The halftime score of 3-2 Fog City, would be the high water mark for the boys. During the second half Dukes 2 would out score the Fog Dawgs 6-1, making the final 8-4. The boys will play a consolation game Sunday morning, but the time for congrats on their great run is now. Way to go, Fog City!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And then there was one... IV

Only one single-school team remains in the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp. Fortunately, it's Fog City who defeated Norfolk Academy from Virginia, 5-4 in a matchup between two – pretty evenly matched – single school teams.

The Fog Dawgs played brilliantly on defense today in a superb display of intelligent lax. Nice position D, clever stick checks, nifty strips, and several neat interceptions. A group effort in which all the D had moments of individual brilliance!

On offense the Academy boys jumped out to a 2-0 lead, at which point the Fog Dawgs Offense started looking sharper, tying it up at 2-2. It was tied again at 3's early in the 2nd half, when the Virginia boys took a 4-3 lead. In the fourth quarter, Joe Pappas made a great strip – MJ Toepel made the play off the ground and nailed a 35 yard pass to JW McGovern who deked his defender and double pumped the goalie before burying the ball. Game tied at 4-4! With just three minutes remaining, JW juked LtoR, creating just enough space from 12 yards to RIP IT past the goalie. His fist pump on one knee spoke to the team, who played out the remaining 2 minutes 24 seconds looking tough and fresh. They weren't fresh, of course. It was 101 in the shade and 111 degrees on the turf field, but it was enough for a solid D and a risk-avoiding offense to run out the clock. Sweet Sixteen, Baby!

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 Fog City at Champ Camp III

Pool play for Fog City concluded tonight at Champ Camp when the Foggies played Long Island 1. Long island 1,2,and 3 are all from Suffolk County and they're all good, but LI1 is their top team.

Both teams entered the game with 3-0 records and similar scores against common opponents. Long Island fans are all the same... they're boisterous, great supporters of their boys, and pretty eager to find fault with their opponents. That's just life in the stands when you play a Lawn Gieland team.

The SF boys had the lead at 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, while Long Island had the lead at 4-3, and 5-4. When the City boys had the lead, LI 1 tied it up, and when the LI1 boys had the lead, our guys tied it up. The teams were tied 5-5 when the game went to OT. Just rolled into overtime without an FO and played to sudden victory. In this case the victory went to LI1, 6-5. Both teams were solid, but tired tonight. The Lawn Gieland parents were stunned to learn that Fog City was a "school team," in their parlance, unlike the LI teams that were selected from many top Suffolk schools.

So, Fog City is on to the playoffs. In the Championship bracket tomorrow at 11AM, the Fog Dawgs play Norfolk Academy. Should be a great game, and don't be surprised if the California boys continue on with a win tomorrow in this game.

Worth noting that of the 32 teams who made the Championship Bracket, only three are teams from a single school. That's quite impressive! Norfolk Academy v Fog City pits one of these single-school teams against another. However it turns out, I'm told that getting to the Championship Bracket is the best showing ever for Fog City. Don't know this for a fact, so if anyone knows for sure, please let me know.

Fog City at Champ Camp 2011 II

With two more games under their belt, Fog City has produced an unblemished 3-0 record. In this 72 team tourney, so have a lot of other teams. The Fogsters are losing weight, energy, and electrolytes at a rapid pace, but then so is everyone else, including the fans on the sidelines. If I never have to come back to this insufferably hot, humid, godforaken city, I could die a happy man!

More details later, but in this morning's game, Fog City defeated Pittsburgh Elite, 7-4. In this one, two unrelated McGovern's were "Men of the match" – JW with 3G and 1A and Jack with numerous, strips, tips and interceptions. Defense is still playing very well, with the occasional late slide accounting for most of Pittsburgh's goals. Hey, everybody's sliding a little late in this heat, so it's completely understandable.

In the afternoon game, Fog City defeated the Bombers, a Virginia squad, 6-4. Effort by each team was episodic in this heat, but Will McKee and John Meany did well at the FO X and Jack McGovern was strong at close D. With the game tied late, Fog City's nifty attack line scored the last two goals to put the game away.

Tonight, Long Island 1 is the opponent. They are 3-0 also, so this game should determine the 1st and 2nd seeds in the bracket, both of whom will move onto the playoffs. More later....

GotSkillz at Champ Camp

GotSkillz is a mashup team of top 2012 players who will attend NCAA DI powerhouses. Michael Tagliaferri of San Ramon Valley is playing for GotSkillz. Gotskillz was put together to contend for the mythical title of top club team in America. They're off to a good start at Champ Camp, where they destroyed St. Louis Samurai 2, by a score of 20-0.

GotSkillz and Fog City were the two highest scoring teams for the first complete round of games at Champ Camp.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fog City at Champ Camp I

The hottest camp of the year is underway. Temps in Baltimore were 103 degrees this afternoon and are forecast to reach 106 tomorrow. The humidity is obviously lower than the temperature – but not by much!

Fog City - the nom de guerre for Saint Ignatius during the off-season– demolished 1763 Lacrosse from Michigan, 17-3. Cyrus Scott kept all but one out of the cage and Cole Priest, who played a little more than a half, allowed only two to pass the plane. Nice work, guys!

Will McKee continued his dominance of the face-off X, utterly disheartening his 1763 opponent. John Meany looked good on his draws as well.

The D was nicely coordinated most of the game, sliding well, stripping the ball many times and getting well over 50% of the GBs. Nice work, boys! Apparently this tournament produces playoff seedings based on goal differential, so holding 1763 to only three is helpful – very helpful.

The offense looked pretty good, but some of the finer points of the game went unfulfilled. Several cuts went unfed, several "one mores" didn't occur, and players weren't always finding the seams that allow the skip pass to take place. Still, there were some very nice feeds and a few great skip passes that almost resulted in goals. Generally, nicely played by the offense, but they'll have to be crisper to get that traditional Fog City offense humming. Joe Lang was the big finisher tonight with 7 goals. Chad Cohan and JW McGovern were the top feeders - each tallying 4 assists.

Overall, a nice opening W. Next up? A game at Johns Hopkins, tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Under Armour Lacrosse medals

The West team did wonderfully at the Under Armour Underclassmen All-Star games in Baltimore recently. Heck, they defeated Baltimore – holiest of the holy hotbeds. Here are the medals participants in the tournament received. Congrats to Matt Emery, JW McGovern, Will McKee, and Patrick Worstell on their achievements!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

NorCal Ducks – 2 in a row

The NorCal Ducks just won the Platinum Division Championship at the All West Showcase! On the way to the Championship the Ducks defeated the Bandits by 5-3, the Lax West Elite Snipers by 6-4, the Snipers by 8-6 and, in the Championship game, defeated the LaxWest Gunners, 7-4.

That makes it two Platinum Division Championships in a row for the Ducks at Matt Ogelsby's All West Showcase during the three years of the event's history. Even in the first year of the tournament, the Ducks went to the Championship game, losing to the Amador Purple, 8-4.

Congrats to the Ducks and thanks to Matt Ogelsby for putting on such a great event at Treasure Island! Thanks also to the College recruiters who lined the sidelines for the Championship game.

Quack, quack. Quack, quack, quack!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 California Gold

IL has a nice review of California Gold's first day. Wednesday saw the rising Seniors and rising Sophomores (and some rising Frosh) take the field. Here's the link:

Looks like Peter Doyle of St. Ignatius had a nice day on the field!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nick Fotsch commits to Marquette

Nick Fotsch, the fiery Close Defender who recently graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep, has committed to play NCAA DI lacrosse for Marquette University in Milwaukee. As with the other recruits who'll play for Coach Joe Amplo, Nick will redshirt this spring. Marquette will begin DI play in the spring of 2013, as a member of the Big East conference.

Congrats to Nick!

2011 California Gold!

Today's the day for rising Seniors and rising Sophomores to rip it up. Lot's of talent here, including a number of rising Seniors who have already committed to DI schools.

2011 California Gold Cleats

Here's a pic of the Huarache III cleats that Peter Worstell is passing out today at California Gold.