By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 11/16/13
PHILADELPHIA – Many players called it a “Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
In the first lacrosse games ever held at the Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park, 10 club and high school teams from around the nation competed Friday night in the Fourth Annual Philly Charity Showdown.
The NXTsports event and kickoff to the Philly Showcase benefited the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in support of CHOP’s Minds Matter initiative dedicated to improving youth concussion care, outreach and awareness.
Players said the cause was great, the venue was amazing and the experience was unforgettable. (See scoring summaries).
“I have been to Philly, but nothing like this,” said LB3 Atlanta (South) 2016 attackman Justin Kabo (West Forsyth High, GA), who had four goals in a 14-5 win over St. Augustine Prep (N.J.). “It was a wonderful experience to come out here and play in front of all these people and with this amazing team.
“This stadium got my adrenaline pumping.”
LB3’s performance was one of the highlights of the night. Another 2016 player, goalie Brad Hodoval (Atlanta Christian, GA), scored the first goal by netminder.
“I came up, walked to the midline, check all my attackmen out wide, saw a wide open lane and took it straight to the house,” he said. “I shot it as hard as I could and hoped it would go in.
“It was amazing playing here. I was a little intimidated at first, but it probably was the most fun lacrosse game I have ever played.”
In the final game, 3d Select New England claimed a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Titanium Elite (Midwest) as West Hartford VT native Noah Fosse (Westminster CT, 2016 attackman) and Tim Bulens each scored two goals.
“Absolutely, it was quite the experience,” he said. “We had quite an opportunity, it was amazing doing it for a fundraiser and playing on this great field.
“We came out prepared, but sloppy and we just realized what experience we have so why not win it?”
Earlier, NXT L.C. (PA) toppled the Fighting Clams (MA), 9-7 as Steve Hildebrand (Conestoga, PA, 2015 attackman) scored three goals and Peter Gayhardt (St. Joseph’s Prep, 2016 attackman) added a pair.
For the Clams, LSM Caleb Mahoney, a Rivers School 2016 who committed to Ohio State, was a standout with two goals.
“I thought it was awesome, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “I was happy the team did well, but I wish we had come out with a win.
“This stadium is a little bit bigger and modern than Fenway, but nothing like Fenway,” he added with a smile. “I love playing lacrosse and it was great to do it for a good reason.”
Junior attackman Lucas Spence (Springfield-Delco, PA), a 2015 Lehigh commit, got to play in two games – for Team Harley (PA) and HEADstrong L.C. Team Harley tied Episcopal Academy (PA), 7-7 and HEADstrong fell to the Long Island Express 9-6. Spence scored twice in each game.
“It was really cool; I haven’t been on a baseball field for a while so it was good to be back on one for this,” he said. “I think it was awesome. Last year we played (in the Charity Showdown) at PPL Park, but this is much cooler because everyone knows the Phillies and they won the World Series here (2008). It was surreal!”
Team Harley got three goals from Radnor 2015 attackman Drew Ryan.
“This really was exciting, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “It was a lot of fun playing a good team like Episcopal.
“It’s definitely exciting to see the lacrosse community coming together and (raising funds). Something like this is great.”
For Episcopal Academy, junior attackman Curtis Zappala (Maryland commit) had three goals.
“It was pretty surreal,” Zappala said. “We were at PPL Park last, but this was fun! I have been coming to games here since I was a little kid. It’s crazy!”
About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Founded in 1855, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the birthplace of pediatric medicine in America. Throughout its history, a passionate spirit of innovation has driven this renowned institution to pursue scientific discovery, establish the highest standards of patient care, train future leaders in pediatrics and advocate for children’s health. A haven of hope for children and families worldwide, CHOP is a nonprofit charitable organization that relies on the generous support of its donors to continue to set the global standard for pediatric care.
About Minds Matter: Improving Pediatric Concussion Care
Concussions receive substantial attention in national media, but these injuries affect more than just professional athletes. An estimated 650,000 concussions occur among children and adolescents each year in the U.S. Visits to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for concussion have increased by 400 percent since 2009, and a medical record review showed that only half of those cases were sports related. Because the job of a child is school and not sport, focusing on “return to learn,” as well as return to play, is essential.
CHOP’s primary and specialty care network uniquely positions us to be a regional and national leader in concussion care. Our Minds Matter: Improving Pediatric Concussion Care clinical program serves as the infrastructure for 1) a strong research program investigating the scientific foundation for concussion management and prevention and 2) an evidence-based outreach program that disseminates messages to key stakeholders in concussion management and prevention.
Can’t attend, but would like to support the cause?
To learn more about Minds Matter: Improving Pediatric Concussion Care and how you can support The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, please contact Matt DiBattista, Assistant Director, Event Fundraising and Community Partnerships at 267-426-6502