By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 11/6/20
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa – Ford Norris was happy to enjoy some individual success Saturday at the Victory Events Liberty National Elite Showcase, but he was more excited with his team’s performance with Duke’s Lacrosse Elite Sunday in the team tourney.
Duke’s 2023 Elite completed a 3-0 day Sunday at the Liberty National Elite Classic at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, edging Rock, 6-5, while routing Gaffers, 13-1, and NJ Lacrosse Club, 19-2. Norris, a midfielder from St. Edwards (FL) was one who excelled, along with two others that he joined on the All-Showcase squad from Saturday, fellow St. Edward’s middie Ricky Savage and attackman Reece Millison (Ridley High).
“I think our team played well because it was the first time we really played great team ball,” said Norris. “Our team has been together for about a year now and our chemistry is starting to click. We’re going to be a team to watch out for this fall.”
Norris said he had high expectations for the Showcase.
“I kind of wrote down a list before; I wanted to be really aggressive on groundballs, and dodge as hard as I could one every play,” he said. “It worked out well for me. I like competing with kids from up North.”
Norris was happy to heed the advice of guest speaker Dave Pietramala, the famed coach who spent many years in charge at Johns Hopkins. “You are trying to separate yourself,” he said, “And I want to do my best to help my teams win.”
Norris is looking forward to the spring. His St. Edward’s squad – coached by former Hempfield coach Doug Bailey – figures to be a state contender.
“We are looking to win states,” said Norris.
Savage said the showcase gave him a chance to excel on the both sides of the field.
“We were ready excited to play both sides of the ball,” he said. “I played a lot of defense, and got some points on the offensive side.
“We were short on numbers so we had a lot of transition lacrosse. The ball was going up the middle on fast breaks and we had a lot of 4-on-3s.”
Savage was pleased to get instruction from college coaches, who ran drills before the showcase games.
“They introduced some new drills,” he said. “One was a T-Cross drill and we had some very close counter drills which focused on getting out of trouble with your head up. We practiced dodging with your head up and your eyes up. It was real positive stuff.”
Savage said he, like Norris, was very disappointed to see the high school season end prematurely. In Florida, most teams got almost half a season in, but St. Edwards was just rounding into form when COVID-19 ended the campaign. Since then, he has trained hard.
“I am shooting all the time,” he said. “I am always practicing outside of lacrosse or traveling up north. I am hitting the wall and shooting on good goalies.”
Savage said Duke’s had a strong mixture of energy and focus for the games Sunday, especially beginning with the battle vs. Rock Lacrosse to open the day.
“After beating Rock over the summer in the semis by one goal, that could have gone either way; we knew we had a game ahead of us Sunday morning,” he said. “Warming up and stretching, we were all focused from the beginning.
“We got right into 4v3s quickly and got to work from the pregame. The music was going with excitement from everyone. We had the perfect balance of energy and focus. Coming off the first game with a close win by one goal we quickly got warm and got back after the next two games. The game changing differences was the energy and the sideline hype.”
Millison said he had success in the showcase while operating from X. “I did lot of good things from X; I scored and had some good assists,” he said. “I had a good day overall.
“There were a lot of older kids, so I just played hard. I am trying to prepare for the next level and show I can work hard.”
What helped the Duke’s 2023 Elite win on Sunday? “I think we just played smart lacrosse all day as a team,” Millison said.
How does the 2021 season look for Ridley High? “First, of course, have a season! And hopefully I can start on varsity and help the team compete for a Central League championship. I think we will turn it around.”
Duke’s LC went 12-0 overall at Liberty National, as the 2021/22 Elite, 2022 Elite and Young Guns (2023) teams also went 3-0.