By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/9/18
MILFORD, Del. – HoCo (MD) 2019 goalie Matthew Hubbard knew this summer would be critical for him in the recruiting scene after missing out on the second half of his high school season with Howard High.
But after missing the end of the regular season and the Maryland Public playoffs due to a concussion, Hubbard is healthy and Saturday night he was named an MVP at the Liberty National Elite Classic Showcase at Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
Hubbard shared the award with Dukes Virginia 2019 midfielder James Smith Jr. of Patrick Henry High.
Hubbard’s Howard squad went 16-2 and reached the Maryland 4A/3A semifinals with him. He had narrowed his list of colleges to two schools, but had to start over again with them this summer. He said he is close to making his choice, and that his performances this summer solidified his spot.
“We made it to the semifinals in states and I didn’t get to play, but I was there on the sidelines to support the team,” he said. “Yeah it was important for me to come back this summer.
“I had been talking to two schools wanted to come out to high school games but couldn’t because of the concussion so getting out here and getting exposure was really important for me right now.”
Hubbard credited his defense for helping him succeed in the Friday Showcase games and in the All-Star Game (held Saturday night after the first day of the Liberty National tourney).
“I think I had solid defense in front of me,” he said. “They were very physical and had very good stick skills. I was happy to play with them; without them I would not have made half the saves I made.
“In the All-Star game it did help that I was the only goalie on my team. I got a lot more opportunities to show what I had. I had a lot of the same guys on defense and having big bodies in front of me helped.”
HoCo went 3-0 on Saturday in the 2019 AA Division and had a top seed, but was eliminated from the championship round after a 6-5 loss to Jersey Thunder. HoCo closed with a 7-2 consolation triumph over FCA Northeast.
“I don’t think we played to our potential,” said Hubbard.
Smith’s Dukes Virginia team also had a strong first day in the 2019A Division, going 2-0-1. But then it fell to Dukes MainLine, 6-5, in the championship tourney before closing on a positive note, downing Dukes Twist, 5-1.
“We kept our heads heads up and wanted this one,” Smith said. “I could have played better this morning and also yesterday. Overall, our team played well.”
Smith said he adjusted well to the speed of the All-Star Game when he scored two goals.
“At the beginning I was slow, but at the end I gained more confidence taking shots,” he said. “The coaches told me to go out and dodge.
“I had great teammates and I thought I played pretty well in the showcase as well as the All-Star Game. We had a lot of kids in the showcase team from my high school so we played pretty well.”
Smith said his biggest strength is his “athleticism, and I have a pretty fast shot.
“I am working on trying to get my shot off earlier – right after my dodge – instead of waiting; also on my field vision.”
Conor Hooley, 2022 ATT, Woodbury/Team MN
It was an eye-opening experience for the only rising freshman to make the All-Star Team. But The diminutive Hooley embraced the challenge.
“It was crazy; everyone was bigger, better, faster, stronger,” he said. “I know what it’s going to be like in the future. I have to play a lot faster, but I thought I did pretty well. We won the game and moved the ball; I had an assist. It’s going to be a grind, I have to work harder to get to the next level.”
Hooley says his strengths are his stick skills and lacrosse IQ, but he knows he must get stronger to compete against high school defensemen. “I need to work on my speed and hit the weightroom and start getting bigger,” he said “When I got against a 6-4 defenseman I have to be shifty and quick and use that to my advantage.”
Hooley was a key member of Team Minnesota’s standout day today. After going 0-2-1 on Saturday, Team Minnesota toppled second-seeded Triad (N.C.), 9-5 and third-seeded Iron Horse (TX), 7-4, before bowing to Duke’s Young Guns, 6-4 in the title game.
“We didn’t do so well the first day, but we just started competing better and working harder and clicking,” said Hooley.
Caison Dillon, 2019 ATT, Triad Elite, Greensboro Day School (N.C.)
Dillon (VMI commit) scored four goals today to help Triad Elite topple NJ Riot, 8-6, in the 2019 AA title game.
“We had a lot of patience, we moved it around not forcing it and when we did we backed it out and knew what we were doing wrong,” said Dillon.
What went well in the Showcase?
“A lot of the kids moved the ball and coached like seeing that,” he said. “All my teammates were really cool; they weren’t selfish.”
Jameson Smyth, 2020 M/FOGO Dukes Elite, Downingtown West HS (PA)
Smith had a huge all-around weekend, making the All-Star Game and helping Duke’s Elite claim the 2020 title by scoring once in a 9-6 victory over NJ Riot.
“I think we worked great as a team this tournament with moving the ball well,” he said. “We’re all really good friends, we’ve been playing since like 8th grade and we have the chemistry.”
Smyth was happy to dish off during the showcase.
“I think the showcase was great,” he said. “I tried mostly to play a team game, passing it and moving it around. It’s kind of hard when everyone is trying to score, but we worked together,” he said. “In the All-Star Game I just hustled to get some college coaches’ attention, while playing hard defense.”
Matthew McDonald, 2020 LSM, Dukes Elite, Central Bucks South HS
McDonald was pleased to compete for over 60 Division II and III coaches on Friday in the Showcase games. During the weekend, there were 120 coaches in attendance.
“I thought the Showcase was a really good event; it was a great opportunity to showcase our skills in front of a ton of coaches,” he said. “I feel like I was able to make an impact off the faceoff.”
McDonald said he still wants to improve his skills before making any decisions on a college. “To be honest, I am still pretty early. I haveto get my game to the next level always. It’s in the back of your head knowing your are being looked at. You have to be smart and not have any attitude issues to turn coaches off.”
McDonald also helped Dukes Elite win the 2019 AA crown.
“I think this team is successful because everybody likes each other,” he said. “The whole team has good chemistry and bonds together. It carries over. Everyone knows where we are; we go all out for each other.”