By Tom Peace
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 2/28/14
TOWSON, Md.– There was no shortage of excitement Thursday as coaches and players from four of the nation’s top boys’ lacrosse teams – McDonogh School and St. Paul’s School (MD), Haverford School (PA) and Gonzaga (D.C.) – were introduced as the participants in the inaugural PNC Lacrosse Invitational March 29 Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
The friendly rivals answered questions during a press conference at Cunningham’s in Towson. The event is being run by Corrigan Sports Enterprises Inc. and PNC.
The matchups of this invitational will feature Haverford School (No. 2 in the Warrior/TopLaxRecruits.com Preseason Rankings) vs. No. 7 St. Pauls at 5:30 p.m. and No. 8 McDonogh vs. No. 20 Gonzaga at 7:30.
All four coaches are ecstatic about the chance to play in this event.
“This is a great event its going to be a great experience for the schools and players involved.” said St. Paul’s coach Rick Brocato. “I wish when I was a young player to play at a great facility like Loyola University. This will be a really exciting event.”
Brocato and John Nostrant, the head coach from Haverford, are good friends going back to their college days at Washington College. Their teams have been playing each other for the past 15 years. The two programs make it a tradition to meet early in the season every year. In 2013, St. Paul’s came out on top of the visiting Fords, 11-8.
“It’s always been an outstanding game, two like-minded programs,” said Brocato. “John built his from scratch, I was fortunate to step into a (program) with a lot of tradition that I am very humbled to be the head coach.”
“Just being at Loyola (University) and having our guys play at that venue it’s going to be exciting.” said Nostrant . “Defensively we are pretty good but offensively is where the game is going to be won.
“Playing against St. Paul’s is a measuring stick for us, so how you do against a Rick Brocato coached team will tell you how you’re going to do.”
The players to watch this game are, attackmen Peter Blynn (Harvard) and Grant Ament (Penn St.), middie Drew Supinski (Johns Hopkins), defender Connor Keating (Penn), and in goal Alex deMarco for Haverford School. For St. Paul’s keep an eye on senior standout attackman Mikey Wynne (Notre Dame), Alex McGovern (UNC) and Henry Riehl (Middlebury) on midfield, Bennett Moore (Hobart) on defense, and AJ Barretto (Army) in the cage.
“This is awesome for PNC to host us,” said Wynne who came out with fellow teammates for the press conference. “Practice is going well we did offseason workouts with trainer Jay Dyer, and we are tuning up our sticks, especially with this weather, its hard to do but we make the best of what we have.”
The McDonogh and Gonzaga matchup also has some history as well. Both teams have played each other early in the season, alternating home field advantage every other season. Gonzaga recently went 20-1 in 2012 and the one loss came against Mcdonogh and then last season in Owings Mills, Md. Coach Casey O’Neil’s team defeated Andy Hilgartner’s squad. Gonzaga has mounted a 78-8 record since the conclusion of the 2009 season.
“I think at the end of the day, we all do this as coaches, for the kids,”said O’Neil. “I think the experience these kids are going to get, playing in the college stadium and having this media attention, is outstanding.
“It’s about them and enjoying that experience.”
Hilgartner echoed the sentiments, “ It’s going to be a great event. It’s going to be a great experience for the whole Baltimore lacrosse community.”
Players to watch in this matchup are Luke Smith (Lafayette) and Tim Monohan (Ohio St.) on attack, Ridge Slater (Cornell) on midfield, and Michael Borda (Michigan) and Henry Chastain (Maryland) on defense. For Mcdonogh watch out for Trey McGee (Denver) and Robert Clark (Georgetown) on attack, Robbie Black (Notre Dame) and Brinton Valis (Johns Hopkins) on midfield, and Alex Hurdle (Notre Dame) on defense.