By Simon Habtemariam
For the eighth straight year, the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic left its mark on the fastest-growing sport in the country. Once again, with Towson University as its host, the event brought in the best high school talent from across the country and Canada.
"This event is arguably one of the best of the whole summer," said Lee Corrigan, president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises, founder of the classic. "The talent level of the Under Armour All-America has certainly proven itself over the years -- you know, not only the seniors, but the underclassmen that become seniors and go on to become impactful college players."
Throughout the day of July 6, droves of young lacrosse stars convened at Johnny Unitas Stadium to showcase the best and brightest of the future of lacrosse, culminating in two main-event games with the best graduating senior girls and boys duking it out between North and South.
Holding the All-America games in the Baltimore metropolitan region helps showcase current Maryland-area prep stars, as well as future local college stars. Corrigan, who said the original plan was to move the All-America event from market to market, found it important to keep it in the area and grow it with Baltimore as its hub.
"I think the Baltimore area needs to keep doing what it's doing," Corrigan said. "It makes sense for us and our corporate partner, Under Armour, to keep it here in Baltimore. We like to believe Baltimore is still the hub of lacrosse. A lot of very good things happen here, and we plan on staying here."
The game between the two girls' seniors teams was a nail-biter, ending in an 18-16 decision in favor of the North, which improved to 6-2 in the event's history. With 16 of its 22 roster spots held by Maryland prep stars, the girls' South team was not able to repeat its efforts from a year ago, when it defeated the North, 25-13.
The South got off to an early 2-0 lead, and Maryland high school players combined to score eight goals, but the North was able to avenge last year's blowout.
As the sport grows outside of the mid-Atlantic area, local colleges will soon reap the benefits. The winning North team included three players committed to Maryland schools, with midfielder Lindsay Biondi from Ithaca, N.Y., and goalkeeper Emily Kift from Santa Ana, Calif., heading to the University of Maryland, and defender Lily Schmitt from Garden City, N.Y., heading to Johns Hopkins.
Biondi contributed a goal to the North's winning effort, while Kift was credited as the winning goalie with four saves, and played the entire second half of the game.
The four future Terps on the girls' South roster are all Maryland high schools: defender Alex McKay (Marriotts Ridge) and midfielders Deborah Milani (Catonsville), Zoe Stukenberg (Marriotts Ridge) and Morgan Torggler (Severna Park). Goalkeeper Caroline Federico of Lutherville went to high school at Maryvale and is committed to Johns Hopkins.
The boys' main event was a shooting gallery, with a final score of 28-24 in favor of the South, evening the all-time series between the sides at four wins apiece.
After a back-and-forth first quarter left both teams tied, 4-4, the two boys' teams set an event record with 14 combined goals during the second quarter, then set another record with 15 combined goals during the third and then tied that record with 15 more goals during the final quarter.
The South maintained control of the tempo throughout the game, aided by its efforts at the X.
Former Calvert Hall faceoff specialist Stephen Kelly put on a clinic, winning eight of nine faceoffs during the first quarter, and 24 of 38 during the game. A Lutherville native who is committed to North Carolina, Kelly also added a goal and two assists to the South's winning effort.
Terps fans have a lot to look forward to, with six recruits on the All-America rosters, tied with Syracuse and defending national champion Duke for the highest tally of incoming All-Americans.
Based on what the Terps' incoming talent displayed at Johnny Unitas Stadium, there is some offensive firepower headed to College Park. Glenside, Pa., native and future Terrapin Matt Rambo broke the event's individual scoring record with eight goals out of 10 shots for the South.
The game's MVP, Rambo contributed no assists to the South's win, but his pinpoint accuracy and lightning-fast moves on his unassisted scores made college scouts' jaws drop.
Former Boys' Latin attackman Colin Heacock also added to the South's winning effort, with one goal and one assist. Heacock and defender Mac Pons, a fellow Laker and All-American, will be teammates again as Terrapins.
Two members of the North team will join them: Tim Rotanz from Wading River, N.Y., who scored four goals and dished out one assist July 6, and Cazenovia, N.Y., native Connor Cannizzaro, who had one goal and two assists.
Future Terrapin keeper Dan Morris, who is from Dallas, Texas, earned the win. He stopped eight shots and allowed eight goals.
Also coming to local college lacrosse are three future Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in attackman Wilkins Dismuke, midfielder Kieran Eissler and defenseman Nick Fields. Dismuke scored four goals, while Eissler added a pair of scores. Fields collected three ground balls and won his sole faceoff attempt.
Posted July 7, 2013