By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/13/18
MILFORD, Del. – Ahnika Eberl clearly understands what she must do to overcome the fact her high school in South Jersey does not field a lacrosse team.
“If there is an issue, I try to fix it. My parents and friends and different coaches I’ve met have helped me,” said the 2021 goalie from Arthur P. Schalick High School in Pittsgrove. “That’s kind of how I have been taught – to find the brighter side of things.”
Eberl’s talent and work ethic have also helped. Thursday she was named the 2021 Girls’ MVP at the Cascade National Prospect Elite 80 Showcase at the Delaware Turf Complex.
Eberl plays for Ultimate Lacrosse and attends many showcases and college clinics while also playing in Fall and Winter leagues and clinics for Coach Jenny Duckenfield in the nearly Philly suburbs. In this showcase, she said bonding with her defenders was key.
“I expected the level of play to be very intensive and the players to be very humble toward each other and very competitive,” she said. “My expectations were met.
“The defenders helped me out with clearing and communicating during each of the games. They were talkative and helped me to be talkative. That helped me to be more confident; how they played definitely had an impact on how I played.”
The Elite 80 featured two days of instruction and showcases games, capped by an All-Star Game. Eberl welcomed the clinics on Wednesday.
“The first day we had an hour and a half of stations,” she said. “The practice was really good. It gave me the opportunity to learn some of my teammates and be able to bond with them more before the games.
“It also helped me to learn how they play and how I needed to play to match their level. I definitely learned some new skills and about how I should play and how to help my field IQ along with different aspects of the game.”
What was her major goal?
“One of my biggest goals was to improve my save average and I think i definitely did improve,” she said. “Skill-wise, I was more patient with the ball and had more opportunities to make the save and find an open girl to clear to.”
The Cascade National Prospect Elite 80 Showcase also featured instruction and skills for 2018 and 2019 committed players.
Quincy Connell, 2020, M, Connecticut
Gianna Monaco, 2022, New Jersey
Monaco, who attends Lenape (N.J.), said she embraced the the competition.
“My expectation was to go out on the field no matter who or what I’m playing against and do my personal best,” she said. “i feel like i meet my expectation on the field, but it’s exciting to know other people feel that way too.
“(My success was due to) lots of practice, great coaches, support from my family, a and desire to be the best. That has helped me work hard to be where I am and I want to continue to improve. The competition was good, but I saw it as a personal challenge to be better than the person I’m playing against.”
What did she learn from the event? “I have learned to be a good teammate with people I have never played with before,” she said.
Carter Kempney, M New York, 2022
Cole Nichter, D, Maryland, 2021
Caleb Zuhoski, A, New York, 2020
The 2022 MVP, Kempney, who attends Carthage and plays for Orange Crush and occasionally C2C, credited his teammates for his success at Elite 80.
“My team played a big part of it; they helped me score goal,” he said. “The competition was great, playing with 21s and 22s. I had great expectations and it definitely met them. It was great getting to play against older kids, it elevates your game play”
Kempney – who lists his main attributes as shooting, groundballs and clearing – said he will take the skills he learned to heart.
“You have to always move your feet and cut to the ball,” he said. “You can’t stand around; the team is a big part of your success. I think I show hard work and hustle; I was going 100 percent all the time.”
Nichter (MD Wolfpack/True National, John Carroll High-MD), the 2021 MVP, said he wanted to be seen as a hustler.
“My expectations coming in were, even if I wasn’t selected to the All-Star Game, to give 100 percent and really try to showcase everything I had, and also my personality,” he said. “I think it was mostly the team that helped me get the MVP. Our communication was great, especially on defense you have to be physical and communicate and my group helped me.
“It was competitive. Having communication, especially with the goalie and doing the 1-2 slide helped. Once you got the 1-on-1 matchup, you just had to destroy them.”
What did he learn from the event? “You have to give 110 percent,” he said, “No matter if a college coach is watching or if you are by yourself, if you hustle they will notice you.”
Zuhoski, a 2020 attackman from Riverhead High and the Tenacious Turtles, was pleased to gain recognition.
“I was excepting stiff competition during the event,” he said. “I had a lot of fun playing. The coaches and drills helped me improve my game. I was successful in this event because I went out and played my hardest.”
Where does Zuhoski stand in the recruiting process?
“I will be starting the recruiting process September 1st,” he said. “I’m looking for a great school that will help me strive as a student and an athlete. I want a school/lacrosse program that will help me become the best version of myself on and off the field.”