Southern Maine was a hotbed for lacrosse again this spring and that was reflected when the state’s All-American selections 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 Ben Ekedahl, Connor Thoreck and Owen Thoreck, Falmouth’s Brendan Hickey and Jack Scribner, Gorham’s Carter Landry and Scarborough’s Sam Neugebauer.
Glover, a senior longstick middie and one of three repeat All-American selections, scored 37 goals and had 21 assists this spring, ending his career with 118 goals and 81 assists. More importantly, Glover was a lock-down defender who posed a matchup nightmare. Glover led Brunswick to its fourth straight Class A state final and after he forced a key turnover in overtime, Glover and his teammates celebrated an epic 18-17 victory over Scarborough for the program’s third championship.
Glover will attend Phillips Exeter next year.
“Christian is an exceptional athlete and leader,” said Dragons coach Don Glover, who is also Christian’s father. “His athleticism and stick skills have allowed us to utilize him as an offensive threat, while also imposing his defensive presence in shutting down other teams’ best players. He exemplifies the new trend of defensive players with dangerous offensive abilities. His biggest contribution to Brunswick lacrosse has been his leadership on and off the field and he will be missed.”
Mike Sfirri (2003), Brad Bishop (2004), Kit Smith (2007) Max Rosner (2008 and 2009), John Williams (2010), Cam Glover (2014 and 2015) and Christian Glover (2016) were Brunswick’s previous All-American selections.
Cape Elizabeth, which won three straight Class B titles before being dethroned by Falmouth in 2016, got back to the pinnacle this spring and its three All-Americans were a big reason why.
Ekedahl, an imposing senior defensive standout, caused 47 turnovers, collected 68 ground balls and even scored a goal and assisted on two others.
Ekedahl will play club lacrosse next year at the University of Colorado.
“Ben was the most dominant defender on the field,” said Capers coach Ben Raymond. “He covered opposing teams’ number one attack and consistently shut them down. He is equally good in transition and also split time on the wing on faceoffs with Ethan Avantaggio. On top of everything, Ben is an outstanding young man and athlete who made a huge impact on our lacrosse team over his high school career.”
Connor Thoreck, a senior middie, did a little of everything. His offense was impressive enough (29 goals, 11 assists), but he also was a standout in the midfield and even forced 14 turnovers. Thoreck was equally effective scoring timely goals or shutting down the opposition.
Thoreck plans to follow his older brother, Griffin Thoreck, to Lynchburg College in Virginia.
“Connor was on the field for the majority of the game when the games were close,” Raymond said.”He had the ball in his stick a lot during the season and understood the value of each and every possession. Connor was the leader of our team vocally, emotionally and physically. He was the most dangerous player on the field in all of our games and other teams treated him that way. Because of him drawing so much attention, the rest of our midfielders combined for 95 goals.”
Where Connor Thoreck goes, Owen Thoreck, his twin, is sure be found as well and it’s only fitting that they bowed out on the All-American team together as seniors.
Owen Thoreck, who plays attack, is a repeat All-American selection. He scored 45 times in 2017 and also assisted on 18 assists. While he was always the focal point of the opposition, Thoreck still managed to score on almost half of his shot attempts and when a big goal was needed, he more often than not was involved.
Owen Thoreck is also bound for Lynchburg.
“Owen improved on what was an All-American season last year,” Raymond said. “He was even better this season. His turnovers were down from last season and he was a more well-rounded player. He realized thee were times when he could let the offense come to him and times where he would have to demand the ball and be the initiator.”
Cape Elizabeth has a litany of All-Americans to its credit with nearly three decades’ 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), Griffin Thoreck (2015) and Alex Narvaez, R.J. Sarka and Owen Thoreck (2016) have all been honored.
Falmouth wasn’t able to repeat as Class B champion, but the Yachtsmen came pretty darn close, losing by a goal to Cape Elizabeth in a memorable regional final.
Falmouth had two players chosen All-American this spring.
Hickey, the lone junior selected this year and a defensive standout, had to battle injuries this season, but when he was on the field, opposing offenses had little chance to put the ball in the net. Hickey caused 57 turnovers, collected 74 ground balls and occasionally even got involved on offense, scoring four goals and assisting on four others.
“Brendan is an incredible leader,” said Falmouth first-year coach Dave Barton. “Athletically, he’s a freak, but he’s just as smart as he is athletic. He puts a lot into his craft and he takes his role in our program to heart. Having a guy like Brendan allows us to essentially shut down the opponent’s top offensive player. This makes other teams try to attack with their second or third offensive option, which might be tough for them. Brendan is incredible in the open field. His exceptional stick skills allow him to contribute in the offensive end of the field, as well. He’s an incredibly rare athlete that will undoubtedly play elite college lacrosse.”
Scribner, a senior attack and repeat All-American choice, is another prolific scorer, who never hesitated to find open teammates. In 13 games, Scribner went off for 49 goals and added 35 assists.
Scribner will play for Bates College next year.
“Jack was the quarterback of our offense,” Barton said. “While his slick stick is clearly apparent, what makes him the great player that he is rests solely in his lacrosse IQ. Each game, Jack drew the opponent’s top defender. Jack was incredible at diagnosing a defense and putting teammates in positions to succeed. He is just as effective off-ball as he is with the ball in his stick.”
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, Bryce Kuhn in 2015 and Scribner in 2016.
Gorham lost to eventual regional champion Scarborough in a one-goal thriller in the Class A South semifinals, but Landry capped his stellar high school career with another terrific performance in goal. Landry saved nearly 72 percent of the shots he faced and had a goals-against-average of 4.63. He made 164 saves, collected 33 ground balls and even had an assist. Landry was also named the Southwestern Maine Activities Association Player of the Year.
Landry is Gorham’s first All-American. He will play at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania next year.
“Carter makes a lot of saves that a lot of goalies have a difficult time making,” Rams coach Dan Soule said. “He sacrifices his body without hesitation and makes saves with any part of his body he can connect to the ball. In four years, he developed into a more fundamental player and increased his communication skills as well as his clearing skills, which are all-important positional responsibilities. He has had multiple 20-plus-save games over each of the past four years, most recently in our quarterfinal loss to Scarborough, where he had a great game and 22 saves. We would be a much different team without him in goal. When he was on, we were on. We have been successful over the past two season for many reasons, but Carter has been an important and critical part of our success.”
Scarborough suffered a painful 18-17 overtime loss to Brunswick in the Class A state final, but Neugebauer was a powerful offensive weapon throughout. Neugebauer went off for 63 goals, added 12 assists and also collected 31 ground balls. He was just the second four-year starter for the Red Storm in Coach Joe Hezlep’s 10-year tenure (former All-American John Wheeler was the other).
Neugebauer will go to Bridgton Academy next year.
“For all the skill Sam possesses, his motor is what sets him apart from most,” said Hezlep. “He is a tireless worker and plays with an edge that can only be found in the youngest brother. He led the team in goals, shots and penalties. He plays the game the way he was taught, play through the whistle, play as hard as you can and never back down from anyone or anything.”
Prior Scarborough All-Americans include David Hamilton (2005), Danny Clark (2009), Wheeler (2012 and 2013) and Brendon Smith (2014).
Eight additional boys’ players from Maine qualified for the US Lacrosse All-Academic team.
That list featured Cheverus’ Finn Cawley, Falmouth’s Devin Russell and Liam Tucker and South Portland’s Jake Vose-Gimble and also included Edward Little’s Spencer Frahn, Messalonskee’s Alden Balboni, Thornton Academy’s Wyatt LeBlanc and Winslow’s Samuel Lambrecht.
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 Christian Glover.
K.C. Johnson of Gardiner was named the US Lacrosse Coach of the Year for Maine.
On the girls’ side, Hyde’s Emma Levensohn was the lone All-American selection.
Adam Birt contributed to this story.