3d Spring Break 2016: Standouts from St. Petersburg

3d Spring Break: Standouts from St. Petersburg (Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)
3d Spring Break: Standouts from St. Petersburg (Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

3d Rising was lucky enough to spend the week of March 21 to March 26 in St. Petersburgh, Florida, for the annual 3d Spring Break program that brings more than 30 teams to the Gulf Coast over the course of three weeks.

We were in attendance for the second week of the event, taking in as much of the official games, controlled scrimmages, full scrimmages and training sessions, including work in the box, as we could.

If you missed our updates from our time in Florida, check out the FIRST and SECOND updates here.

Below, we’ve compiled notes on some of the very best players we put eyes on during the second week — the busiest week — of this year’s 3d Spring Break. 

Follow us on Twitter throughout the year as we make our way around the nation on Twitter (@3dRising) and on Instagram (@3drising).

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Reilly Walsh, Attack, Brunswick (Conn.), Sr. - Duke

Walsh shined throughout the week for Brunswick as the Bruins cruised to a couple of wins to open their season in the warm Florida sun. After getting his team going against Pomfret in a scrimmage, Walsh absolutely lit it up against West Linn, scoring eight goals and assisting on at least one as Brunswick as pulled away for a win against the reigning Oregon state champion. What really makes Walsh stand out is the fact that teams will pay so much attention to him and he can still find opportunities on the offensive end. His release on his shot is truly textbook and a pleasure to watch. He pulls back like Hideo Nomo and hides the release with a tremendous overhand stroke. He pulled it off numerous times against West Linn, against a hot goalie no less, and found corners from way outside for some really impressive goals. His ability to use his athleticism to get off an acrobatic shot — even just his normal shot with the overhand release can look “athletic” in execution — is hard to find in high school lacrosse. Like last year, Walsh was arguably one of the most talented and best-performers at 3d Spring Break.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Kevin Murphy, LSM, St. Viator (Ill.), Sr. - Salisbury

Murphy was our discovery of the week as an excellent longstick midfielder who we’d yet to set eyes on (at least according to our sometimes-sketchy memory). Murphy is a long, lean and wiry strong and explosively fast longstick midfielder who can attack the ball with aggression and fly up the field with it after he’s taken it away or picked it up at full speed. He came up with a game-clinching ground ball to send St. Viator to its victory over Kent Denver: the senior sprinted a good length of the field to chase a hot potato that had squirted into his team’s defensive zone. He tracked it down, grabbed it quickly in traffic and then ran it out at full speed. It was one of the guttiest and most blue collar plays we’ve seen so far this year. Against West Linn, Murphy was an animal on defense and showed how fast he can get the ball up and out a couple different times in an exciting back-and-forth affair.

Ryan Klose, Attack, West Linn (Ore.), Sr. - Lehigh

Klose is a strong, sturdy and thick lefty attackman who plays like a warrior and shows multi-sport athleticism that helps him as a dodger and a playmaker in the ride, in transition and even just off the ball. The lefty used his excellent balance and powerful core and legs to attack his defender with his stick back to one hand and protected or with a power cradle, and, either way he fought his way topside or inside for good shots. He has a smooth release and gets his hips into it for torque. He scored three times and assisted on another goal against Brunswick. On more than one occasion he showed the grit to go right through the middle and the agility and smooth handle to pull off numerous moves to get himself into scoring position. I really liked how he could change direction at full speed to simply get through numerous bodies inside. Earlier in the week, in a 10-9 win over St. Viator (Ill.), Klose put up six goals in monstrous performance to get his team off on the right foot to start 2016.

Colin Squires, LSM, West Linn (Ore.), Sr. - Denver

Squires shined throughout the spring break week as an aggressive, wiry tough and precise-with-the-stick defender who was his team’s most noticeable long pole in the middle of the field and was reliable and active when playing defense atop the box. He was all over the hands and mean but controlled with his checks and kept them on the hands, though they were fierce when he had the chance to drop more than a couple slaps. He was fast and quick with his feet and just never seemed to tire, still making plays late in the game against Brunswick. He was a playmaker in the middle of the field against the Bruins and against St. Viator, with a number of ground balls and some takeaway checks.

Chandler Miller, Goalie, West Linn (Ore.), Sr. - Wheaton

Miller had a great game against a terrific Brunswick team that was able to create lots of shots thanks to dominance at the face-off X and relentless dodging. But Miller stood tall to the tune of 11 saves against the Bruins, including some that showed off his limber body that he used to stop shots both high and low. He was explosive and lightning quick, and showed incredibly agility and flex to be able to meet shots to the far corners, requiring him to react with his body and hands. He stood tall in close and got his hands and stick to the ball and made several stops with near-split sprawls. He had to fly across the cage for several highlight-reel saves and was able to frustrate some of the Brunswick shooters with stops on the doorstep and from outside.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Matt Atchison, Attack, St. Viator (Ill.), Jr.

Atchison proved himself to be a reliable righty shooting attackman for St. Viator as the team was involved in three close games, two of them victories, down at 3d Spring Break. With a strong, smooth release, Atchison is able to get a lot of heat on his shots and his sidearm trigger was dialed in down in Florida. He sets himself up to be ready to shoot upon the catch, especially from the low spot out on the wing, where the lower angle didn’t seem to deter him and he pinged a couple big goals. He scored three times in the win over Kent Denver, with at least two of those goals coming on stationary shots with his smooth release.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Elijah Black, Midfield, St. Viator (Ill.), Fresh.

Black shined as a low-to-the-ground, down-hill dodger who is slippery, yet has some power, and is raw, yet showed a lot of upside due to being a hard matchup. He’s athletic and can use his powerful core and legs to propel his dodging and body up against defenders, roll off and get to his shots down the lane. He’s one of the younger midfielders who impressed throughout the course of the week at 3d Spring Break.

Patrick Murphy, Midfield, St. Viator (Ill.), Sr. - Denison

Murphy emerged over the course of the week at 3d Spring Break as one of the offensive leaders for Bill Sanford’s squad. He’s a player who finds ways to get it done, is good with the ball and off the ball and, like his brother and teammate LSM Kevin, he plays really hard. Murphy’s a defensive back in football, and that has clearly helped him become tenacious and also give him some deceptive athleticism. In the hard-fought loss to West Linn, the senior notched three goals, including back-to-back tallies. He added a goal in the win over Kent Denver. He’s another blue-collar player for St. Viator who uses simple fundamentals and effort to be a factor.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Max Fuld, LSM, Brunswick School (Conn.), Sr. - Williams (hockey)

Simply put, Fuld — a future college hockey player — is one of the most impressive and college-ready longstick midfielders we’ve seen so far this season. He’s got explosive speed up the field, great coordination, a magic wand of a handle with soft mitts and the strength to go through checks and overpower other players when scrapping for the ball. He’s pretty incredible when he bursts up and out of the pack with the ball and makes plays at hockey speed. He is a threat in transition and can absolutely dominate the middle of the field, whether it’s just coming up to meet the play or flying off the wing and sucking up the ball. He’s committed to play hockey at Williams and it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t have college coaches urging him to opt for the older of the two sports.

Max Metalios, Defense, Brunswick School (Conn.), Jr. - Penn

Metalios impressed at 3d Spring Break as a key cog in a Bruins defense that plays intense and fast and big. He gets his stick up and waves it into the lane and is very quick on his pivots and approaches to the ball. He helped make the Bruins defense essentially a garbage disposal at times, as Brunswick allowed only nine goals in two games at 3d Spring Break. He and his mates on the backline were aggressive and dropped hard checks with the stick on cutters and dodgers trying to penetrate the interior, and the ball was off the turf almost instantly. Metalios, a 6-foot-2 righty who can handle the ball, was impressive off the ground and bursting up the field.

Blake Fletcher, Midfield, West Linn (Ore.), Sr. - Bucknell (football)

Fletcher proved himself to be one of the most impressive workhorse middies that we saw the entire week at 3d Spring Break. The blue collar, hard-nosed two-way player cleared the ball out and up the field numerous times against Brunswick and showed the ability to run end to end, scrap for loose balls, make crushing hits, run through big checks and then go back out and do it all again. He also served as an emotional spark plug for his team. They called him “Ricky Bobby” throughout the week and went wild every time he took the ball and wove his way up the field. He’s a talented football player, earning All-State honors last season, and you can see the toughness in his game.

Alex Buckanavage, Attack, Brunswick School (Conn.), Jr. - Michigan

We’re not sure there’s a player in scholastic lacrosse who’s using the leverage off his dodge to propel his shot the way Buckanavage is. It’s almost like a slingshot pulled back and ready to fire, and he uses that as he burns around the cage with his stick way back and the defender struggling to get into his hands. We watched him pull off a bunch of hard takes from X, finished with him turning the corner with all kinds of leverage and snapping his shot with great velocity. He totaled two goals and one assist against West Lynn and then three goals and an assist against Kent Denver to help the Bruins get off to the right start this season. His burst and his ability to pull back and have the shot ready to go — and it is very hard to track as he comes around the cage —make him an extremely challenging cover for even the most skilled and athletic defenders.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Max Waldbaum, Attack, Kent Denver (Colo.), Jr.

Waldbaum had a great week at 3d Spring Break and showed signs of a player who has taken a leap from last spring. A more physically assertive, more relentless Waldbaum had a strong showing against St. Viator with three goals and three assists and then, against Brunswick, the junior dropped a hat trick and an assist on one of the best teams in the country. One of those goals came on a hard drive from X and an inside roll as he banged off his defender and finished with a heady bounce shot to beat the goalie from the doorstep with little angle. Another came as he fought through during a loose ball situation and, ignoring the traffic, ran across the crease and slapped the ball into the net. Waldbaum’s always had pretty good hands, and now he’s showing a determination to get to his shots and challenge his defenders with more physical and aggressive style of dodging. The righty will battle his way topside and has good fundamentals in that he will shoot overhand coming around the cage and knows to take the extra step to bury a high percentage of his shots from close range. He's using his size and strength to his advantage, playing with his back to both protect the stick and to get himself topside. 

Nate Gentile, LSM, Pomfret School (Conn.), Soph.

Gentile shined as a smart and tenacious defender who is very talented with the stick and uses it to play excellent, disruptive defense and also to be a threat in transition. Gentile puts the long pole right into the gloves of the ball carrier and quickly creates problems and has a knack for getting the ball on the ground. He hustles when the ball is down and, though it isn’t pretty every time, he scraps and finds a way to come up with the ball and is really heady when carrying up the field, able to stay in bounds, evade traffic and protect the stick. What we really liked was seeing Gentile in the box with 3d Lacrosse’s Bob Hamley — he emerged very quickly as a two-way standout player, able to play fast defense, get up the turf, handle the ball, make slick moves to get his hands free and showing a real nice sense for both sides of the floor.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

John Fox, Midfield, Brunswick (Conn.), Sr. - Virginia

It’s hard to say what side of the ball showcases Fox’s abilities more, but the fact is that he’s very, very good on both sides of the field. He plays defense like a bully — just repeatedly delivering punishing checks out on the perimeter and forcing midfielders to make fast decisions with the ball or else be overwhelmed with his hard blows with the hands together on the stick. He made all sorts of plays against Kent Denver, including some acrobatic plays in the middle of the field on the ride and on the clear to show off his flexibility and agility to leave his feet, make contact and still keep his eye on the ball. As a dodger, he can get down hill in a hurry and can run through weaker checks and even some of the better ones. Fox is a huge weapon for the Bruins this year and has to have his future college coaches pretty optimistic about what he will bring to the field.

Roman Bellisari, Midfield, Columbus Academy (Ohio), Jr.

Bellisari had a monstrous game for Columbus Academy as he literally won the contest against Boulder (Colo.) on his own play — in overtime, he came up with a groundball in his defensive end, cleared it out himself (running about 50 yards), and then never stopped, streaking in to beat two defenders and bury a shot on the run and lift the Vikings to the 11-10 overtime win. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound athlete plays numerous sports and it’s no surprise that he can shine on the defensive end as a tough, mobile short-stick defender who can make an offensive midfielder work for shots, really hammering the ball carrier and making them work for every inch of space to move. He’s hard-nosed, has endurance, toughness and performed very well for his program on the rise the week of 3d Spring Break.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Connor Fox, Attack, Boulder (Colo.), Jr. - Georgetown

Though he was injured later in the week and held out of his team’s contest against Columbus Academy (Ohio), Fox was outstanding throughout out time in St. Pete’s as we got to see the Panthers practice, go through drills and more. The athletic, smooth lefty can get to his shot time and time again thanks to his fluid dodging and the ability to keep the stick back and pull off a quick release. His mix of speed and shooting, especially on the run, makes him the best dodging threat for Boulder and makes him one of the more impressive out of Colorado this year. Fox, who’s father and coach, Sean played at Hobart, became hot property last summer before he committed. What we saw out of him at 3d Spring Break speaks to a player who is putting in a lot of reps and becoming more confident and assertive as he develops.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Boe Gold, Attack, Boulder (Colo)., Jr.

Gold is a tall, slick right-handed attackman who is smart and crafty with the way he shoots and showed an ability to consistently get to his shots. He scored on two great shots using deception: the first saw him streak into the box in transition and, before anyone could pick him up, he scored with a look-away shot, bouncing to the lower right while catching the defense sleeping by charging down the gut and firing early. Gold is snaky with the ball when carrying and, with his height and ability to shoot from various spots, becomes a matchup problem. With just a little bit of time and room, he can quickly create opportunities with his mix of size and skill as defense need to respect him and he has the eyes and stick to hit teammates.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Ben Warn, Defense, Boulder (Colo.), Fresh.

Warn is a young defender who already is showing himself to be a hard-nosed and effective member of the Boulder defense as just a freshman. He’s a smaller defender with room to grow, but he showed a lot of promise with his scrappiness, good stick work and his confidence going against a variety of attackman throughout the week at 3d Spring Break. He had a good showing in the Panthers’ hard-fought overtime loss to Columbus Academy, making numerous plays on the back half utilizing his quick stick and awareness. He came up with several ground balls and looked more experienced than an underclassman playing against varsity competition. He played tough and has some spring in his step too.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Colin Munro, Attack/Midfield, Mountain Vista (Colo.) - North Carolina

We got to see Munro running mostly at the midfield throughout the course of the week at 3d Spring Break, and he was one of the slicker players in attendance, utilizing hesitation and deception in all his movements with and even without the ball. Running midfield, it’s still a similar story for Munro, who is so hard to track off the ball with his sense for space but also with his ability to create shots out of dodges, even those that don’t look like they’re developing. He perseveres and is tough and has really helped create an offense defined by fast ball movement where he’s not the only one flourishing, growing his confidence and his creativity. And what was interesting about the lefty, as we watched down in St. Pete’s, is the way he is able to make plays on the defensive end of the field when he was running at the midfield. You could see his anticipation for the play and his good on-ball defense. You get the sense his experience playing up in Canada during the summer has payed off given the number of reps he’s taken against talented . It really doesn’t matter if he’s dodging from up top, out on the wing or behind, Munro can defenders to make mistakes and overcommit or chase him; he can literally absorb checks and his slickness allows him to exploit defensive miscues and he’s got the eyes to read slides coming at him and move the ball. He has a nice group of attackman on the Vista roster who he can move the ball too and that was previewed at 3d Spring Break.

Judd Erickson, Defense, Mountain Vista (Colo.), Jr.

A big and rugged defender who can play physical, is fearless and cover lots of ground and will play tough, Erickson is the most experienced returner for the Golden Eagles defense this year and he was impressive against Middlesex, though just in a scrimmage setting. He’s got tremendous reach, gets his stick in the air, drops hard stick checks and works hard on each series. In the clear, he busted his butt and used his long reach and solid stick to get the ball up and out and looked like a college prospect at times. He is a blue-collar, hard-nosed player who is a standout on the football field and has college football opportunities. He actually looks like the quarterback he is when he throws a clearing pass with the lacrosse stick — he’s got great form and his teammates better be ready when he sends them the ball.

Auden Menke, Midfield, New Hampton School (N.H.), Sr. - Notre Dame

Menke stood out from the get-go as a high-level athlete who can be explosive and will go to either hand as he dodges downhill and can shoot on the run or with set feet. In the scrimmage against Middlesex, we watched Menke bury a long-range windup from outside, finding the top left corner. We watched him challenge defenders each time he touched the ball with hard first steps and then the ability to dodge to either his right or left. He gets up and down the field and looked as polished as any of the midfielders we saw throughout the week at 3d Spring Break.

Sean Grogan, Midfield, New Hampton School (N.H.), Soph.

This midwestern product has developed into an impressive shooter who possesses a thick and study build and shows a lot of power in the way he gets torque on both shots on the run and stationary shots. The righty buried a handful of his shots in the scrimmage against Middlesex and then showed well as we watched the Huskies go through a bunch of drills, 4v3s and 6v6 drill. He can be meticulous in how he sets himself up for his shot and then he can unleash it with good form and velocity — very powerful when he goes overhand. He can find ways to get close to the cage and then rip the ball for a high-percentage look.

Weston Narewski, FO/Defense, New Hampton School (N.H.), Jr.

Narewski is a tank, no question, and he’s a beast at either the face-off X as a powerful, tenacious, blue-collar player who brings size and athleticism to the face-off game and to his smothering play. He’s thick and can move and that combination can overwhelm a ball carrier who doesn’t move his feet well or handle pressure or contact. Narewski is one of the stronger players on the field in any game and it shows when he battles for the ground balls. He can get up the field with it and looks like he could run through a wall to complete the clear.

Matt Narewski, FO/Midfield, New Hampton School (N.H.), Fresh.

Narewski, who had a great showing back in the fall that we got to see in Philly, was impressive during the 3d Spring Break week of training and scrimmaging. A tall, rugged young face-off man, Narewski uses his strength and his reach to overpower and outreach his opponent at the draw. He has long arms and legs and still manages to get himself down and scrap and keep a strong base. He can explode off the whistle and uses all his size to get the ball away and leg it up the field. Both he and his brother, Weston, are low-key, hard-playing kids — the sons of a pretty good wrestler back in the day, they are both also wrestlers.

Sam Dwinell, Midfield, Middlesex School (Mass.), Soph. - Duke

Dwinell had a good showing at 3d Spring Break by proving himself to be an advanced dodging midfielder who possesses speed, power and agility, as well as a powerful shot and the ability to get it to it consistently through his dodges. Dwinell just looked so confident carrying the ball and beating the first man to force a slide and often tried to make a pass through the defenses rotation and put a few of those passes on the money to open teammates. Dwinell used roll backs, swims and splits to create problems in each of the scrimmages we watched Middlesex. In one scenario, we watched Dwinell roll into his man and quickly pull back for separation to blast a low-to-low shot from out near the wing. It was just one of several high-level plays he pulled off throughout the week. In one of the scrimmages we saw, the defense was struggling at times to account for Dwinell after he made his first dodge to beat his man. It was a task to slide effectively to him, as he came out of his dodge ready to shoot, pass or dodge again, and he’s gritty in his willingness to run through checks to get his hands free.

Jack Lynne, Defense, Middlesex School (Mass.), Sr. - Johns Hopkins

Lynne’s developed into such an excellent athlete and, noticeably, a vocal, physical leader for the Middlesex defense and a fast, athletic presence all over the back half and up the field. In Middlesex’s scrimmage against Mountain Vista, Lynne drew a tough matchup and more than held his own as a precise on ball defender who has body control and stick control and stays right in the hip of the ball carrier and pokes and slaps the hands and moves his feet quickly. He’s got the height and reach to really pressure out and his good footwork helps him stay out of trouble as he doesn’t have to overcommit because of his range and quickness with his upper body. His athleticism shines through on the clear as he can accelerate and see the field.

Charlie Leonard, LSM, Arapahoe (Colo.), Sr. - Notre Dame

Leonard continues to shine as one of the most athletic longsticks coming out of the west, if not the most athletic, but is without question in the running for “best motor” of all the LSMs we’ve been able to see the last couple seasons. Leonard has the ability to apply heavy pressure thanks to his great physical condition (turned some heads walking on the beach) and his active stick and relentless approach. He tends to create transition opportunities out of turnovers he causes by getting the ball up and out quickly. And he gets the green light in transition. He’s smart to draw doubles and is good enough with his stick to do that and make a dump pass for a look at the cage. He moved the ball with the goal of getting a look for someone, if not himself. On the wing during draws, he helps ensure Arapahoe is winning most of the loose ball battles. He’s in position to have a huge season out in Colorado. In addition to his on-field showings at 3d Spring Break, he also — as a captain — was a source of entertainment for his team with some outrageous outfits though out the week as Arapahoe took the spring break theme to the max.

Jackson Harvey, FO/Midfield, Arapahoa (Colo.), Soph. - Denver

Harvey had a strong showing throughout the week at 3d Spring Break in training and scrimmages for Arapahoe, winning a high percentage of his draws to himself or controlling them and sending to the wings, and he is clearly dialed in with the communication to his wing players. You could see that before draws; he’d get his guys on the same page and then execute the win, just like that. Harvey would get the clamp, get his head up and crank it with the ability to get it out in any direction necessary, not just a guess. His coaches liken him to an early Trevor Baptiste — compact, explosive with strength in his legs and core to handle counter moves and assert himself physically.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

William Sadler, Defense, Kent Denver (Colo.), Jr.

Sadler had a good showing down at 3d Spring Break as a tall, aggressive and active defender who plays with a lot of energy, maybe a bit more than you typically see from the larger defenders in high school lacrosse. The hulking righty takes big bounding strides up the field and covers a lot of ground in a hurry. He can get out onto the perimeter and challenge the ball carrier and force a quick decision or get them hung up with his ability to wrap the stick around them and get into the hands. He helped make Brunswick earn a lot of their goals with physical play and well timed checks and slides from the interior. He will lower his shoulder and get after it, and his size alone makes him such an obstacle for attackmen and midfielders.

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

Lukas Drexler-Bruce, Goalie, Kent Denver (Colo.), Soph.

Drexler-Bruce had a breakout performance, even though in a loss, against Brunswick down at 3d Spring Break. The young righty keeper stood tall to face the ridiculous rubber being launched by the Bruins’ bevy of Division I-bound offensive threats. Some of those came from outside on big winding bombs that he’d spring low to meet or stand tall and meet with his hands or the neck of the stick. He was clearly seeing the ball, as he proved when he stuffed some doorstep saves, flailing to meet the shooters across the cage. He was obviously into some of the shooters’ heads. He turned in a great day against Brunswick to end the week, making more than 15 saves to keep the Sun Devils within striking distance for most of the game.

Hailing from Upstate New York, Casey Vock is the manager of 3d Rising. Before joining 3d Rising, he spent three years at Inside Lacrosse, where he was a full-time writer for Inside Lacrosse Magazine, InsideLacrosse.com, ILIndoor.com and ILGear.com covering all facets of the game. He was named the editor of ILGear.com in November 2012 after helping launch the site a year earlier. Prior to joining Inside Lacrosse in Baltimore, Casey was a freelance writer in Upstate New York covering professional, college and high school lacrosse for Inside Lacrosse, as well as writing for the Press-Republican newspaper in Plattsburgh and other media outlets. Casey played lacrosse in high school at Indian River and went on to play at Jefferson Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and business from SUNY Plattsburgh, an MBA from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management and an MS in media management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse. Reach him by email at cvock@3dRising.com and follow him on Twitter @cvock.