By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 11/25/13
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – Coming from Bella Vista High near Sacramento, Calif., goalie Noah Alford and attackman Patrick Haviland indeed traveled far to play three games in frigid weather Saturday at the Philly Senior Showcase for uncommitted players.
“I was just trying to get one last look, to hopefully find a way to play collegiate lacrosse,” said Alford. “I felt like I worked hard and just did my best. I was happy to get the chance.”
Alford, in fact, was one of four players recognized by NXTsports for his performance. In all, about 35 college coaches watched as about 50 seniors took that last shot.
“I am looking for any level to play – the school just has to have Criminal Justice because that’s my (intended) major,” said Alford. “I think I can offer a team good leadership and talking skills. I can lead the defense and makes those key stops that ultimately win games.”
Alford said the cold weather did not affect him.
“I wore flannel and the adrenaline was pumping,” he said. “I was trying to see the ball and I wasn’t focused on the cold. It didn’t bother me.”
Haviland, a left attackman who has played three years of varsity, also enjoyed the last chance at being seen by college coaches in the Fall.
“I just wanted to get the exposure,” he said. “It was great competition and I knew it was my last chance.
“I thought I did a good job of just pushing the ball and getting out on fast breaks. You had to take a step back at first and be OK when someone lost the ball until we got onto the same page.”
What does Haviland have to offer a college program?
“I hard work and hustle for groundballs,” he said.
Plano West (TX) defenseman Bryce Barnett also came a long distance (he lives just north of Dallas) on Saturday to get college looks.
“What brought me out here was a recommendation from my club coaches (C2C),” he said. “I had some teammates come the weekend before (to the Philly Sophomore-Junior Showcase) and I really wanted to get that last-minute shot.
“That’s what they made it about and that’s what we got. I had solid teammates and I think we played well together on defense and accomplished something.”
Barnett was happy with his performance.
“I thought I played really nice defense; my clearing was not what I thought it should be, but was overall the team pulled together,” he said. “We played good team defense and got our slides going. The offenses on both sides did a great job coming together. It was good lacrosse.
“The quality of coaches was exceptional. I am always happy to play if there is a chance. Coming from Dallas we don’t get that as much. Coming out here helps me get a better grasp on the smaller D3 schools and what schools feed to D1.”
Another lefty attackman, Dereck Downs, came from Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) and resides in Etobicoke, near Toronto. His parents brought him down for the day and Downs displayed many of the strong sticks skills often shown by box lacrosse players.
“I have been trying to get out to as many showcases as possible,” said Downs, who made the Select Game at the Can-Am Showcase two weeks earlier. “You need the willpower; if you want to do it, you just got to get a ride. Of course it’s not as easy as if I was living in the states. But my parents took me. They like seeing showcases and seeing us compete.”
Downs enjoys blending in with new teammates.
“It’s going good trying to build a team and bond with teammates,” he said. “I planned on working my hardest and doing as well as I could.”
Downs said his box lacrosse background is a major plus in the field game.
“My skills come from box lacrosse,” he said. “A lot of Canadians have a lot of quick movements. When you are in tight when under pressure, you can still act well and make the right play.”