By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 6/12/17
WEST CHESTER, Pa. – When 2018 attackman Dante Poli learned he would have to face midfielder Jon Lanzalotto, about five inches taller, in a Braveheart to decide the All-Star Game winner and individual MVP of today’s “Beast of the East” Showcase at West Chester University, he almost cringed.
“I was thinking, ‘I hope he doesn’t take faceoffs,'” said Poli, who attends Central Bucks South (PA) and plays for Twist. “I just stayed low; the lower you get the stronger you are.”
Poli eventually prevailed after his goalie made a big save, which led to a fastbreak goal. By winning the Braveheart, Poli was given a specially made belt as the top player in an early-season showcase event that drew 135 players and attracted 37 coaches.
“Coming in, personally I thought I started off slowly,” said Poli, who had 49 goals and 40 assists for CB South this year and two in the All-Star game. “I thought right at the beginning we (players on his team, Team Lehigh) were trying to get to know each other and after we started knowing each other and working together more it started coming together.
“The All-Star Game was a really close game. In the Braveheart, the goalie bailed me out. Then once I got the ball, I thought to myself, ‘Run!’ That’s all I had on my mind.”
How did it feel to win a showcase MVP and the inaugural “Beast Belt” in that fashion?
“It was an awesome experience,” he said. “Just knowing I can do it and having my name up here was special.”
What type of college is Poli looking for? “It starts with education,” he said,. “I will follow that and go from there because I won’t be playing lacrosse for a living.”
Comments from others that stood out Sunday:
Jon Lanzalotto, 2018 MF, South Brunswick-NJ/Vikings Black
On the event: “I just wanted to come out here and compete; I have never been to a tournament like this with so much exposure. I think one thing I learned was the importance of talking; not even n the lacrosse sense, but communicating with teammates and making friendships. I feel like my team competed well.”
What type of school are you looking for? “I would love to go to a D1 or D2 school but it’s mostly the academics; it’s whatever the academic brings me. Lacrosse is second.”
Tristan Lynch, 2018 DEF, Bishop Shanahan-PA/Freedom
On the event: “I didn’t know how it was going to go but I was excited. The competition was good; I was surprised that there were some 2020s that were good players. It was a great time with guys that really could play the game. I think I learned about trusting my teammates. You had to pick it up real quick an figure out who is who and figure out who can do what and what you have to do to win.
What type of school are you looking for? “I am definitely looking for a school with engineering and finance. I definitely want to play on a good team and play a lot; whether it’s a D1 or D3 team that would take me and let me play.”
Lonnie Jones, 2018 ATT, Archbishop Stepinac-NY/Topside Snipers
On the event: “To be honest my expectations were pretty high based on the teammates I knew coming here. And it completely exceeded my expectations. The competition was great; I had some great players guarding me all day. It’s not all about scoring; it’s about being a true team player and being positive and encouraging for your teammates.
What type of school are you looking for? “I’ve been looking D1 and dreaming about it since I was a kid. I am interested in Criminal Justice.”
Justin Spencer, 2019 ATT, LaSalle Academy-RI/Primetime Penguins
On the event: “I really wanted to get some exposure and come further down from Providence and see what they really had to offer. I think getting to play as a team went well and the guys around really helped me excel. It was different not playing with the same guys (you play with) every day, but our coach helped us get the offense down. You have to be athletic and not be a ballhog; make sure you are making the extra pass and really showcase what you have to offer while also making the guys around you better.”
What type of school are you looking for? “I am interested in colleges down south (Mid-Atlantic region). Right now I am looking at D1, D2 or D3; I am looking at really good business schools.”
Eric Fioccola, 2019 MF, Fair Lawn-NJ/Brotherhood
On the event: “My club coach nominated me and I looked at the college coaches coming and that interested me. You have to adjust to everyone around you and communicate and get the ball moving. I think it went well; a big part of it was getting spacing from others players. I learned to really communicate better and get the ball moving faster.”
What type of school are you looking for? “I am definitely looking D1 and some D3 schools. Hopefully I can get something in D1.”