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- The Forecaster
There were no shortage of standout lacrosse players in southern Maine this spring and that was reflected when the state’s All-American honorees were announced.
Eight boys (seven from Forecaster Country) and one girl were selected.
U.S. Lacrosse describes All-Americans as “Players who exhibit superior skills and techniques and possess exceptional game sense and knowledge. They are among the best players in the United States while also embodying excellent sportsmanship.”
Once again, southern Maine boasted no shortage of that kind of player this spring.
The boys’ All-American team included Brunswick’s Christian Glover, Cape Elizabeth’s Alex Narvaez, R.J. Sarka and Owen Thoreck, Falmouth’s Jack Scribner, South Portland’s Jack Fiorini, Westbrook’s Curtis Knapton and Yarmouth’s Matthew Beatty.
Glover, a junior longstick middie, scored 28 goals and added 13 assists this season as the lead returner for a defending champion which almost had to start from scratch. Glover has played more of an offensive role in each of his three seasons (he had 10 goals and 5 assists as a freshman and 21 goals and 18 assists as a sophomore), but he’s still an imposing defensive force as well, averaging over four caused turnovers and six ground balls per contest. Glover led the Dragons to the Class A Final for the third year in a row, which they lost to Scarborough, 18-10.
“Christian is an exceptional defensive player with true abilities to generate offense as an LSM,” said Dragons coach Don Glover, who is also Christian’s father. “His field vision, speed and agility and love for transition play are stellar. As a potential four-year starter, he has also developed good leadership skills that will be once again challenged in our team’s 2017 campaign.”
Mike Sfirri (2003), Brad Bishop (2004), Kit Smith (2007) Max Rosner (2008 and 2009), John Williams (2010) and Cam Glover (2014 and 2015) were Brunswick’s previous All-American selections.
Cape Elizabeth, which won three straight Class B titles before being dethroned by Falmouth this year, had three of the eight selections, which is typical for the state’s most dominant program.
Narvaez, a senior goalie and the only goalie to be honored, has made his name in big games over the years. Narvaez lost just three league games in his career. This spring, he gave up an average of just five goals per game (surrendering only 69 in 14 contests, while his teammates put up 177), cleared the ball 80 percent of the time and stopped 67 percent of the shots he faced. Narvaez evened pulled off a rarely seen shutout against the eventual Class A champion, Scarborough.
“Without Alex, we would be a different team, but with Alex we are a more confident group and we take more chances because we know we have a brick wall behind us,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. “Alex has been the difference-maker on our team the past few years and finally is receiving some credit for all he does. He has set the bar high for all future goalies to try to reach.”
Sarka, a senior midfielder, was a key part of Cape Elizabeth’s championship teams, but truly got his due this spring after scoring 35 goals and adding 15 assists. Sarka consistently scored big goals in big games and he’s not done playing lacrosse. He’ll attend and play at Bates College in Lewiston next year.
“R.J. treats everyone with respect and wants everyone to be their best,” Raymond said. “He pushes his teammates not always through words, but most often through how hard he works and they way in which he carries himself. He’s been the best player on the field in almost all of our games this season and more importantly, he has handled himself with class and grace all year long. He’s one of the most well-rounded lacrosse players I’ve worked with. He was an outstanding leader all season long and he should have a great career at Bates.”
Thoreck, a junior attack, led the Capers in scoring in 2016 with 35 goals and 16 assists. The younger brother of former All-American Griffin Thoreck and twin brother of junior standout Connor Thoreck, Owen Thoreck scored some big goals despite always being the focal point of the opposition.
“Owen took on the opposing team’s number one defender every day,” Raymond said. “He improved his game tremendously over the season and has a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses as a player now. Alone he scored over 18 percent of our team’s goals. He not only rose to the challenge every day, but began to enjoy the challenge.”
Cape Elizabeth has a litany of All-Americans to its credit with nearly a quarter-century’s worth of honorees.
The Capers’ first All-American was Chris Carlisle in 1989. Since then, Ethan Sanford (1990), Troy Graham (1991), Jason McGeachey (1993), Sean Brady and Mike Mullen (1994), Ned Struzziero and Matt Williams (1995), Struzziero and Brendan Bigos (1996), Zach Herbert (1997 and 1998), Rorke Greene (1999), Andrew Braziel and Nick Krunkkala (2000), Mike DiFusco and Constantine Scontras (2001), DiFusco, Matt Ranaghan and Dean Scontras (2002), Ranaghan and Alex Weaver (2003), Matt O’Hearn (2004), Bryan Holden and Dan Rautenberg (2005), Zach Belden and Mike Holden (2008), Holden (2009), Ben Brewster and Tommy Foden (2010), Jack Roos (2011), Timmy Lavallee (2012), Alex Bornick and Adam Haversat (2013), Tom Feenstra and Griffin Thoreck (2014) and Griffin Thoreck (2015) have all been honored.
Scribner, a junior attack, played a key role in Falmouth’s return to the Class B pinnacle after three years away. This spring, Scribner had 42 goals and 38 assists, including six apiece during a grueling playoff run. Scribner scored three of the Yachtsmen’s seven goals when they shocked the world and handed Cape Elizabeth its first ever home playoff loss in the regional final.
“Jack is a very balanced offensive player,” said Yachtsmen coach Mike LeBel. “He has the ability to both score goals and set up his teammates. It is rare to find a player that can do both. I feel that he had difficulty finding his role during the periods when he was not provided with easy access to the ball, however, as time went on, he and (assistant coach) Kyle Baker were able to find ways for him to be productive and help the team be successful. We had to run the gauntlet to win the championship. We did not back our way in to the title. We earned it and Jack was a huge reason why we raised the trophy.”
Prior Falmouth All-Americans include Kyle Jordan in 2007, Dan Hanley and Michael Kane in 2010, Mike Ryan, Mitch Tapley and Nick Bachman in 2011, Ryan, Tapley and Willy Sipperly in 2012, I.V Stucker and Charlie Fay in 2013, Stucker in 2014 and Bryce Kuhn in 2015.
Fiorini, a senior middie, was an imposing force during his four seasons, leading the Red Riots to two regional titles and the 2014 Class A state championship. This spring, surrounded by newcomers and wearing a bulls-eye after announcing his intention to play for powerhouse Syracuse University, Fiorini was always smothered by the opposition, but he still managed to score 50 goals and add 30 assists in becoming the state’s lone repeat All-American.
Fiorini holds the program record for most points in a game (12), career goals (156) and points (266) and also graduated with 110 assists.
“Jack’s numbers would have been better if he wasn’t on the field with five freshmen, who worked hard but had inexperience,” said Red Riots coach Tom Fiorini, who is also Jack’s father. “Jack spends more time on lacrosse than any kid I’ve ever known. His passion for the game and the desire to play at the next level is what drove him. He was never satisfied. He watches game tape over and over again, looking at what worked and what didn’t to improve his overall game. He also watched film to figure out ways to help his teammates. He spent countless hours in the weight room getting stronger. He weighed 155 his sophomore season and he is now 217. The question I get the most is, ‘Will Jack play at Syracuse?’ What I know is he’ll do whatever it takes to get on the field. The kid doesn’t know how to fail.”
Eugene Arsenault (2007), Duncan Preston (2014) and T-Moe Hellier (2015) were the other previous South Portland All-Americans.
Knapton, a senior middie, became Westbrook’s first All-American after scoring 47 goals and adding 25 assists, helping the Blue Blazes earn the No. 2 seed in Class A South and reach the semifinals.
“Curtis is an excellent two way midfielder, a strong on-ball and team defender,” said Westbrook coach Pete Lyons. “We ran our offense through him. He’s a great decision-maker with an extremely high lacrosse IQ who can dodge and shoot, dodge and dish, as well as catch and finish with both hands in traffic. While gifted with physical athletic attributes, it’s Curtis’ drive and competitiveness, demonstrated both on game days and every day in practice, that resulted in his being Westbrook’s first-ever All-American. Along the way, Curtis led us to our most successful season ever and our first ever playoff victory.”
Knapton, who finished 10th in his class, will attend and play lacrosse at Bates College next year.
Beatty, a senior attack, led Yarmouth to its fourth straight Class B Final by being the quarterback on offense, not only scoring 39 goals, but dishing out 58 assists, including 10 in a win at Class A champion Scarborough. Beatty also collected 27 ground balls.
“Matthew was an All-American because he not only was a goal scorer, but he was able to make everyone around him better,” said Clippers coach David Pearl. “He has an extremely high lacrosse IQ and when he plays, his head is up and he is able to read the slide and distribute the ball. When you’re looking for a dominant attack player, you’re looking for a player who can carry the ball with confidence, initiate offense that results in a shot or draws a slide. Matthew is that type of player. He works extremely hard every play and is a tenacious rider.”
Beatty will attend Fordham University in New York City next year.
Beatty is the latest in a long line of Yarmouth All-Americans and follows in the footsteps of Evans Spear (2000), Tim Kjelgaard (2002), Jared Harriman (2003), Chris Hichborn, Todd Lawrence and Jon Miller (2004), Hichborn and Zach Caldwell (2005), Caldwell and Hans Tobiason (2006), Francis Ellis (2007), John Curry and Sam Miller (2008), Steven Petrovek and Rob Highland (2009), Petrovek and Cam Woodworth (2010), Drew Grout (2013) and Joe Oliva (2015).
Eight additional boys’ players from Maine qualified for the US Lacrosse All-Academic team.
That list included Freeport’s Perrin Davidson, Messalonskee’s Jackson Bernatchez, Waynflete’s Reilly Musgrave and Will Nelligan, Winslow’s David Selwood and Yarmouth’s Walter Conrad, Patrick Grant and Jack Venden.
The Bob Scott Award, which honors the former multiple-championship winning Johns Hopkins coach and goes to the player who goes above and beyond in service to his team, school and community, was bestowed upon Messalonskee senior attack Dylan Jones.
Peter Gerrity, of North Yarmouth Academy, was named the US Lacrosse Coach of the Year for Maine.
Westbrook’s Bob Ferro was named the Assistant Coach of the Year.
Jonathan Becker, of the Maine Youth Lacrosse League, was named “Man of the Year.”
On the girls’ side, Bush was the lone Maine player given the honor of All-American and was she ever worthy.
Bush helped Kennebunk to its first ever state championship, by scoring 65 goals, adding 10 assists and winning 131 draws. For her career, Bush had 202 points. Bush, who teamed with classmate Kyra Schwartzman (who also had more than 200 career points) to make up an unstoppable scoring duo, was a matchup nightmare.
“Jenny is a very skilled, passionate, knowledgeable lacrosse player,” said Rams coach Annie Barker. “Jenny’s tall stick, athletic ability and skill and passion have made her the player that she has become. Jenny never puts her stick away, she also played in the fall and winter league, does agilities at school and worked out in the weight room as well.”
Bush will attend and play at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts next year.
Eight girls, including Greely’s Kelsey Otley, qualified for the US Lacrosse All-Academic team. Also qualifying were Biddeford’s Taylor Turgeon, Bonny Eagle’s Samantha Morash, Cony’s Abigail Slisby, Edward Little’s Francesca-Beth Haines, Kennebunk’s Kyra Schwartzman, Massabesic’s Madison Russell and Morse’s Noa Sreden.