By Chris Goldberg
LILacrossenews.com, Posted 12/29/14
HATFIELD, Pa. – Team 91 (N.Y.) completed an amazing sweep today by holding off host Fusion Lacrosse (PA), 8-7, to win the High School Elite championship at the USBoxLAa Northeast Regionals at BucksMont Sports Center.
Team 91 finished undefeated in winning all four divisional championships (click for roundup of three earlier divisions).
But this final was the biggest test for Team 91, which routed Fusion, 11-4, in their first meeting.
This time, Fusion remained close, thanks to a brilliant six-goal effort by Drew Schantz (Malvern Prep, 2016 MF, Notre Dame commit). Both teams will advance to the National Championships on Aug. 1-2 in Colorado.
Team 91 saw Fusion battle back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2, and 5-3 to forge ties. Team 91 went ahead 7-5 and then 8-6 before Schantz scored to make it 8-7 with 32 seconds left.
Fusion pulled its goalie and gained possession, but Charles Kelly (Malvern Prep, 2015 UNC commit), who dominated at the face-off X, saw his point-blank shot stopped by Jack Zullo (Chaminade, 2016 Notre Dame commit).
Mike Madsen (Locust Valley, 2016 ATT committed to St. John’s) scored the first three goals for Team 91, which used all 2016s. Mac O’Keefe (Syosset, attackman, Penn State commit) scored twice while Chris Pickel (Bayport-Blue Point), Keller Jacobs (St. Anthony’s) and Thomas Martello (Chaminade) each scored once. Noah Cohen (Hewlett) also excelled in the goal.
“I think our organization and character pulled us through,” Madsen said. “We kept going back to the fundamentals, moving the ball well.”
“I think we stuck to the fundamentals, doing what we’ve been practicing since Day 1; staying together and avoiding penalties,” added O’Keefe. “In box, you have to get used to the transition of up and down and the stick skills help your outdoor game.”
Schantz said his team adjusted better in the second meeting with Team 91.
“We played them in the first game today and they came out and beat us, but we were hyped to play them again,” Schantz said. “So we cam out firing and we put the ball in the back of the net.”
Schantz said he had not played box lacrosse for several years.
“In eighth grade I was up in Canada for a week with Six Nations, but otherwise this was my first box experience,” he said. “I played D-middie for Malvern so this was a great experience and a great way to get my stick skills back in session for the winter.”
Ryan Antell also scored for Fusion, which went 3-1 in Pool Play.