By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/12/15
FT. WASHINGTON, Pa. – With no committed players and a decided size disadvantage, Team Long Island might have been considered the underdog today when it met a potent SweetLax National team today in the 2018 finals of the Liberty Bell Challenge at Germantown Academy.
But Team Long Island endured a late SweetLax rally and won it, 6-5, in overtime on a goal by Tyler Ryan that featured three great passes.
“Schuyler (Valensky) trucked on the groundball and gave it up to Petey (Engelken) and he got it to it to James (Lyons) and he fed it across to me,” said Ryan.
The game featured brilliant goaltending by Team Long Island’s Anthony Novellano (East Islip), who posted six saves and forced SweetLax shooters to fire wide while staving off a number of man-down situations.
Novellano, who is continuing to make a name for himself in the recruiting scene, had shut out the powerful Duke’s Lacrosse Club, 3-0, in the semifinals with nine saves. He also was a standout last week when Team LI toppled Dukes in the Best of the Best final.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the defense,” said Novellano, whose communications skills drew raves from opposing coaches. “I just saw the ball. Give credit to the whole team, they played amazing all weekend.
“We stayed focused and put it all out there. We knew we could do it the whole time.”
The Team Long Island defense featured Valensky, Gus Hueber, Christian Moriarty, Christopher Klein, AidanMcCarthy (LSM) and Anthony Filippetti (d-middie).
“I just try to stay cool and calm; it (the pressure) is part of the position,” said Novellano. “We know if I am focused and ready the defense will be.”
SweetLax made its comeback behind goalie Chris Brandau (Boys’ Latin-MD, seven saves) and face-off specialist Joseph Neuman (Walt Whitman, NY), who had the tying goal to send it into OT.
But Team Long Island kept its composure – and its confidence.
“We’re all friends and we play together well,” said Ryan.