Tue, Jul 29, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Lots of familiar names on lax All-American teams

Sports

Lots of familiar names on lax All-American teams

Yet again, it's safe to say that Forecaster Country produced the finest lacrosse players in the state of Maine.

All five female and eight of nine male All-Americans played for local schools.

The girls' squad featured Cape Elizabeth junior midfielder Lauren Steidl and Falmouth junior attack Alex Bernier as All-Americans and Scarborough senior midfielders Kelsey Howard and Mary Scott and Waynflete junior midfielder Martha Veroneau as honorable mentions.

The boys' team included Cape Elizabeth senior attack Timmy Lavallee, Deering senior longstick middie Karl Rickett, Falmouth senior defender Mike Ryan, junior middie Willy Sipperly and senior attack Mitch Tapley, Portland senior goalie Ryan Jurgelevich, Scarborough junior attack John Wheeler and Waynflete senior attack Chris Burke, along with senior attack Troy Haefele of St. Dom's.

Five for five

Bernier helped Falmouth enjoy its best season yet. Included in the Yachtsmen's 10 victories this spring were first-in-program-history triumphs over Waynflete and Yarmouth. While Falmouth ultimately fell a goal shy to the Flyers in a palpitating semifinal, it was as good as anyone during its thrilling run.

Bernier missed part of the 2011 season with a hand injury, but never missed a beat this spring, scoring 33 goals and assisting on 37 others to help place a very balanced and potent Yachtsmen offense. She also had 34 ground balls. Bernier, a captain, was named to the Western Maine Conference All-Star first team. She has verbally committed to attending and playing college lacrosse at the University of Vermont.

"Alex is all about lacrosse," said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. "She's been a three-year starter. It's been great to see her evolve as a player and as a leader. Her understanding of the game is incredible. She sees the field very well and can be quite a playmaker. She's the type of player others aspire to be like and she's always willing to help others. Last year, I gave her a list of conditioning drills to do on the side (while she was injured). I was so impressed with how hard she worked during that time. Not all athletes put forth that kind of effort. She has meant a lot to our program as a whole. It's a wonderful honor for Alex, as well as our team."

Bernier is the first Falmouth player ever to be named to the All-American squad.

Steidl was one of the state's premier scoring threats this spring, helping the Capers go undefeated for the first time in a decade and earn the top seed in the deepest region, Western Class B. She consistently came up big under the brightest of lights.

Steidl, a captain, had a whopping 58 goals and 26 assists. She also was one of the conference's best in the draw circle, winning 44 times. She had 14 ground balls and forced nine turnovers. Steidl, a WMC first-team all-star, has verbally committed to attending and playing at Princeton University.

"Lauren was very deserving of this award," said Cape Elizabeth coach Jeff Perkins. "After struggling with nagging injuries her first two seasons, this was her breakout year, which was no surprise to anyone familiar with girls' lacrosse in Maine. She was a force on the offensive end. She always showed composure and was a calming presence for the rest of the team during games. Lauren is a joy to coach, always willing to do whatever was asked of her. She was a true leader in many ways. She would help the younger players during practice and was very supportive during games. She is a true student of the game, always watching college games to see what she could learn and asking questions about how she could improve her game."

Steidl's the Capers' first All-American (Kristina Scontras in 2005 and Carly Rapaport in 2006 were honorable mentions).

Howard did a little of everything for the three-time Class A champion Red Storm, from winning draws, to collecting ground balls, to forcing turnovers, to setting up teammates, to scoring clutch goals, as we witnessed in the Class A state final earlier this month. 

Howard led Scarborough in draw control wins (35), caused turnovers (36) and ground balls (43). She also scored 32 times and had 27 assists. Howard finished her high school career with 86 goals and 55 assists. She earned All-American mention for the second year in a row and is a Southern Maine Activities Association first-team all-star. Howard will attend Bentley University, where she'll play both lacrosse and field hockey.

"Kelsey's stats are consistent from the defensive end to the midfield and to the attack," said Red Storm coach Marcia Wood. "She's everywhere on the field. The stat that most impresses me is the caused turnovers. Thirty-six times this season she was able to get the ball back in our possession and that was key to our success. She's smart, hardworking, graceful and smooth, which makes her entertaining to watch. We could count on her for anything from offense to midfield to defense. She's an all-around fantastic lacrosse player. I look forward to watching her play in college."

Scott had no shortage of big goals herself. Time and again, despite the defense keying on her, she managed to put the ball in the net, often in critical situations.

Scott scored 56 times this spring and assisted on 17 other goals. She won 28 draw controls and had 42 ground balls. For her career, Scott scored 105 times and added 51 assists. Scott, an SMAA first-team all-star, will attend the University of New Hampshire next year.

"Mary has come so far in her career as you can see from her stats," Wood said. "She has always had an eye for the goal and we could always count on her for crucial goals. The way she moves inside the 8 is hard for defenders to defend and goalies to read. Her midfield play and ability to catch nearly everything that is passed to her is critical in our transition. She works hard and has a very positive attitude."

Scarborough's lone prior All-American was Howard in 2011. Previous honorable mentions included Ellie Morin in 2009 and Maggie Smith in 2011.

Veroneau's athleticism and flair for the dramatic set her apart this spring. She came up huge during Waynflete's tournament run and ensured that a third straight season wouldn't pass without a state title.

Veroneau had 46 goals this season (including the 100th of her career, versus Cape Elizabeth in the Western Class B Final) and just as impressively, assisted on 43 others. For much of the season, she had more assists than goals, which was fitting, seeing how she does a little of everything for the Flyers. Veroneau, a WMC first-team all-star, also won 60 percent of her draw opportunities and had 84 ground balls. She's still in the college selection process.

"There are so many levels to Martha," said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "It's more than just her goal-scoring and turning it on when we need it. It's her work ethic. Her drive during practice. She knows how to have fun too. She has an amazing sense of humor. She's very likable. She's so willing to share with her teammates. She trusts them. If she can feed it, she'll feed it. She'll do whatever it takes for the team to win. When she has the ball, I know she'll do the right thing. She gets the game. She sees the field well. For her to score 89 points while also playing huge defense and running the ball end-to-end is amazing. She can be her own fastbreak. I'm thrilled to have her one more year."

Veroneau's selection ends a rare All-American dry spell for the Flyers. Waynflete didn't have an All-American in 2011 after having at least one every year from 2000 through 2010.

Waynflete's run of All-Americans began in 2000 with Shelly Hodges. Johanna Rosenfield (2001), Courtney Drake (2002 and 2003), Linden Ellis (2004), Betsy Critchfield (2005 and 2006), Gretchen Koch (2005 and 2006), Maggie DeFanti (2006, honorable mention), Glennie Hill (2006, honorable mention), Ashley Allen (2007 and 2008), Laura Armstrong (2007, honorable mention, and 2008),  Mariah Monks (2008 and 2009), Anna Libby (2009) and Morgan Woodhouse (2010) were also previously honored.

All but one

Falmouth and Scarborough were the two boys' state championship teams this spring, so it's no surprise the Yachtsmen and Red Storm took four of the nine All-American spots.

For the second year in a row, Falmouth boasts three All-Americans. Ryan and Tapley are repeat selections, while Sipperly was honored for the first time.

Ryan was, without question, one of the state's premier defenders, one who consistently went up against and neutralized the best that the opposition had to offer.

Ryan had 67 ground balls this spring, many of which came off faceoff wins by senior Abyn Reabe-Gerwig. Ryan scored four goals and had an assist as well. He was a team captain, the team's Most Valuable Player and a repeat choice for the WMC All-Conference team. Ryan plans to train to become a Navy SEAL.

"Mike's been the finest and most feared defenseman in the state the past two years," said Falmouth coach Mike LeBel. "He's a relentless defender. He starts as a wing man on faceoffs. When we win the draw, he retreats to our defensive half where he takes on the assignment of shutting down the other team's best attackman. We relied on Mike to clear the ball. On the rare occasions he was left alone, Mike would push the cage and release a cannon shot past the goalie. His deceptive speed and quickness, coupled with fantastic stick skills and a high level IQ for the game, allows him to be the best at his position. One who was always focused and determined to succeed during any situation."

Sipperly is the heir of a former college star, but if anything, he might have been underappreciated in his three seasons in a Falmouth uniform. His rocket of an outside shot had no peer and he didn't hesitate to make his teammates better.

Sipperly, who moved from attack to midfield this year, scored 17 goals, added 18 assists and had 38 ground balls. He was a league all-star and is leaving the Yachtsmen to attend the Taft School in Connecticut next school year with an eye on playing college lacrosse at a high level.

"Willy may be the most accurate and feared shooter in Maine," said LeBel. "I could not be more proud of a player. As a sophomore, he was a one-trick pony. He'd go to the cage and score. He had no intention of giving the ball up. His numbers this year are proof of his maturity and dedication of getting his teammates the ball. He wasn't merely focused on scoring goals. He wanted to pile up the assists, or 'dimes,' as he calls them. If he had not been dedicated to working on weaker aspects of his game, he would struggle at Taft. Now, he'll have the ability to contend seriously for playing time."

Tapley was the state's most explosive offensive force. One who was always at his best when his team needed a goal, a flair for the dramatic he displayed in both in the regional final versus Cape Elizabeth and again in the state final versus North Yarmouth Academy.

Tapley scored 53 goals and added 29 assists this spring, while grabbing 38 ground balls. For his career, Tapley had 123 goals and 90 assists, which put him over the rarely eclipsed 200 career points mark. Tapley was a captain, a repeat selection for the all-conference team and the Yachtsmen's offensive MVP. He capped his high school career with a four-goal, one-assist performance in the Senior All-Star Game. Tapley will attend and play lacrosse at Endicott College next year.

"Mitch is a four-year starter at attack," said LeBel. "Being forced to play as a freshman gave him a tremendous amount of experience by his junior and senior seasons. Going up against talented and intimidating defensemen instilled confidence that he could and would be successful. He's the most well-rounded attackman in the state this year. To put up his numbers while playing against the very best teams two or three times a year is astounding. He performed his best in the biggest games. The development of his outside shot made him even more lethal. He had the rare ability to get the ball to the open man."

Previous Falmouth All-Americans included Kyle Jordan  in 2007, Dan Hanley and Michael Kane in 2010 and Ryan, Tapley and Nick Bachman in 2011.

For the Red Storm, Wheeler went into every contest knowing the opposition was set up specifically to stop him, but even the state's best defenders were no match for his moves, skills and finishing ability.

Wheeler (who had 35 goals and 28 assists his freshman season and 48 and 28 as a sophomore) had a career-best 51 goals and 33 assists in 2012. He was named All-Conference. For his career to date, Wheeler has scored 134 goals and has added 89 assists, giving him 223 points, meaning 300 is very much within reach.

"John is a master of his craft," said Scarborough coach Joe Hezlep. "He doesn't like to lose at anything, he competes every day and you would have a hard time by his play knowing whether he was playing in a game or practice. Anytime he does something not up to his high standards, he will take the necessary steps to correct it. He has a knack for finishing plays. He is good with the ball, but deadly without it."

Prior Red Storm All-Americans include David Hamilton (2005) and Danny Clark (2009).

Cape Elizabeth was arguably the state's second best team for the second spring in a row, but fell a goal shy to Falmouth in the regional final. That doesn't mean Lavallee didn't have another excellent season, because he did. Especially in light of the defensive schemes he had to face.

Even being the focal point of the opposition, Lavallee managed to score 43 goals, assisted on 46 others and collected 62 ground balls. He was named a first-team all-star. Lavallee's mere presence helped several other Capers become offensive stars in their own right. Lavallee will attend and play at Providence College next year.

"Timmy has been huge for our team during his career," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "No player works harder then he does at improving his lacrosse skills. He has done everything for us over the years and was a great leader this year on and off the field. He will be deeply missed next season, but it will be great to follow his career at Providence College."

Lavallee is the latest in a long line of Capers All-Americans. The state's most storied program's 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) and Jack Roos (2011) were all honored.

Rickett made the team for the second year in a row. One of the state's very best longstick middies and faceoff men, Rickett wreaked havoc all over the field and even scored timely goals on occasion.

For the season, Rickett won 75 percent of his faceoffs, collected 70 ground balls, scored 12 times and assisted on three goals. For his career, he scored 14 times, had six assists, collected 323 ground balls and won three-quarters of his faceoff opportunities. Rickett a three-time All-Conference selection and will attend and play at Bates College next year.

"Karl's one of the few kids in the state who can dominate both ends of the field," said Deering first-year coach Jon Dubois. "He has the lacrosse IQ to run the defensive slide packages/man-down rotations and run the man-up schemes as well. Teams would have to plan for him on both ends of the field. He kept us in a lot of close games. He constantly controlled the middle of the field. He was able to score a goal for us and take a goal away from other team's top scorers. At practice, he was always on top of the kids to play hard and do the right things on the field. He was a kid who exemplified what a captain should be. First to show, last to leave. Constantly working to improve his play and his team. I can't say enough about him. He's the best all-around player I've coached. I loved having him on my team."

Rickett is the lone All-American in program history.

Across town, Jurgelevich is a first-time recipient and continues his family's legacy. A standout in goal since his freshman season, Jurgelevich had to carry the Bulldogs much of the 2012 campaign as they hit their stride, but by year's end, Portland was as dangerous as anybody.

For the 2012 season, Jurgelevich had 142 saves, good for a 71 percent save percentage. He also collected 24 ground balls. He had 487 saves in his career, stopping 71 percent of the shots he faced, and he also grabbed 92 ground balls. Jurgelevich was a three-time league all-star. He'll play at the University of Southern Maine next year.

"Ryan has been successful and has meant a lot to this team as a goalie and captain because he puts more time and effort into his skill development than any other goalie I've coached," said Portland coach Eric Begonia. "A lot of people would think that a goalie is lazy and unfit, but he is extremely athletic and happens to be among the most fit athletes on the team from year to year. He leads his team in every capacity during drills at practices and in certainly in games. He's a more vocal goalie than ever, and in the biggest games, he makes save after save, which provides the spark and motivation that the players around him thrive on. He's a true inspiration to the players and coaching staff because for four years, we all felt comfortable knowing that if he's in goal, we have a very good chance to win because of what he's able to accomplish in-between the pipes. He has had the luxury of coming from a very prominent and accomplished lacrosse family as well as playing along side some of the best players in the state. He hasn't taken that for granted, he took it as a privilege and used all of those experience to mold him into the player that he is today. As a two-year captain, he has been the heart and soul of this team."

Jurgelevich was preceded as a Bulldogs All-American by Matt Morneau (2005), Garrett McAdam (2006), Sam McAdam (2007), his brother, K.R. Jurgelevich (2008 and 2009), Dylan Kenney (2009) and Caleb Kenney (2010 and 2011).

Burke was an offensive force for a Waynflete squad which just missed the postseason in 2012. The Cape Elizabeth native came to the Flyers as a sophomore and kept getting better.

This spring, Burke went off for 35 goals, added 23 assists and had 94 ground balls.  For his three-year Waynflete career, Burke scored 118 times, added 53 assists and had 237 ground balls. He was also a first-team WMC all-star, made the All-Academic team and was named the winner of the U.S. Lacrosse Bob Scott Award, given by the All-American committee to a senior player who goes above and beyond in service to his team, school and community. Burke will attend and play at Haverford College in Pennsylvania next year.

"Chris has been successful because he is dedicated and he works hard at lacrosse," said Waynflete coach Bob Johnson. "He puts hours in the weight room, playing wall ball, working on his speed, agility and quickness. All that extra effort has really paid off. In addition, he is a really nice young man. He easily could have rested on his pure talent, but Chris chose to put forth a terrific effort every time walked on the field and you could see the payoff in his play in games. He has meant so much to this program in so many ways. He changed the culture immediately, shaking hands with his coaches on a daily basis and with the officials after every game. He provided instant offense for us as his stats reflect. There is no doubt that our seasons would have been far more difficult without Chris. That said, he was the consummate team player. The team has always been more important to Chris than individual accolades. He has been a role model for the younger players on the team He has helped out with the youth and the middle school program. Simply he has done all that a coach could ask. I will miss him and all that he added to our community."

Burke is Waynflete's first All-American since Clayton Rockefeller, way back in 1997.

The All-American committee also gave out three additional awards.

Mt. Ararat's Matt Haskell was named Coach of the Year. Scarborough's Zac Barrett won the Assistant Coach of the Year award. Falmouth assistant Chris Richards, a longtime contributor to the sport, was named "Man of the Year."

Smart too

There were several local players who qualified for the Academic All-American team.

The girls' list included Cape Elizabeth's Jane Coffrin, Steidl and Jenna Wallace, Cheverus' Sarah LaQuerre, Laura Peabody-Harrington and Catie Walsh, Falmouth's Moie Aaskov, Ashleigh Burton, Katie Cooleen, Megan Fortier and Molly Ryan, Freeport's Jocelyn Davee, McAuley's Taxia Arabatzis, Sadie DiPierro, Clare McLaughlin, Kathryn O'Donoghue and Delaney Regan, NYA's Katie Cawley, Scarborough's Shauni Cowan, Breanna Goode, Howard, Laura Przybylowicz and Scott, Waynflete's Maddy Agnew, Sadie Cole, Jo Moore, Katherine Torrey and Veroneau and Yarmouth's Olivia Conrad, Caitlin Crawford, Julia Kameisha, Alexandra Lucas and Ali Merrill.

Boys' qualifiers included NYA's Forrest Milburn, Portland's Sam Hamilton, Windham's Sam Blauvelt and Yarmouth's Sam Torres.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.