STX Rising DIII Showcase Summer 2019 Standouts
An annual pilgrimage for many of the country’s top Division III prospects, 3d Lacrosse hosted the STX Rising DIII Showcase at the Salisbury School from June 25 to June 27. More than 130 players in total, including players from as far as California and Oregon, were in attendance at the latest edition of the increasingly popular DIII-specific camp.
Staffed by coaches from some of the top institutions and most respected lacrosse programs in the Division III landscape, the event featured two days of intense training – including numerous sessions in the box – before a full day of games on Thursday of the camp. Nearly 50 coaches were on hand for game day.
We put the pen in the hands of coaches, who spent time training, coaching and evaluating players at the showcase, to highlight some of the student-athletes who stood out the most.
Here’s a look at players who shined at the STX Rising DIII Showcase. For more information about the camp, as well as the STX Rising DIII Fall Showcase, visit 3dLacrosse.com.
Matt Rebuck, Midfield, Westminster School (Conn.)/Laxachusetts, 2020
Matt was a standout, offensive threat on the day of competition. Between his athleticism and quick Release, he earned the attention and respect of his opponents early in the day, stinging an off-stick high shot out of his rollback. This trend continued, displaying his range both on the run and with his feet set. He certainly has the skill set to draw a team’s best defender, as well as force the defense to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Chriss Morse, Attack, Phillips Andover Academy (N.H.)/3d New England, 2020
Chriss might not pass the “eye test” at first, but he played as big as anyone that was at this year’s STX Rising DIII Showcase. He has a multi-faceted skillset that will beat you more ways than one. Don’t slide to him, and he’ll likely redodge the matchup and find a way to get underneath. Slide to him, and he has the vision to find whichever skip lane is open. Take away one side, he is more than willing to take you the other. Don’t sleep on this kid. His greatest asset: he was the best communicator (on offense) at this camp. Your offense can (maybe should) run through him.
Noah Robb, Defense, St. Mark’s School (Mass.)/3d New England, 2020
Change fields, and you now have the best communicator, on defense. Noah has one of those presences that you feel well before he makes contact. He is a general on defense; not only communicating for his self, but for his teammates. On ball, you have your hands full between his ability to knock you off your line or get into your hands just before a pass. Off Ball, his timing and technique when sliding allows him to arrive effectively to make plays. The only aspect coaches did not get to see – how hard and aggressive he practices. When it came to authentic competitiveness, you could argue that it was Noah; then, everyone else.
Maxfield Ettinghausen, Attack, McQuaid Jesuit High School (N.Y.)/3d Upstate, 2021
One of the more fearless and skilled dodgers from X, the young lefty was a headache for opposing defenses. His agility allowed him to take steps up-field and score on several runs. When defenders matched feet, his ability to bounce out and throw skip passes from his collarbone was impressive. You cannot allow this Upstate product to play with his hands free. The more you watch, the more you notice that he always has his eyes up and stick loaded. Max is constantly scanning the field to find a weakness, and when he does it is hard to stop.
Joey Waldbaum, Defense, Kent Denver (Colo.)/3d Colorado, 2020
A big, strong and athletic presence down low; Joey has all the tools necessary to be a matchup nightmare as a defender. But not for obvious reasons. The Colorado native is extremely effective at playing the 6-feet in front of him. Great fundamentals, footwork, and approach angles allow him to keep his opponent on the head of his stick at all times. Off Ball, his ability to read-and-react allows him to play a step ahead of the offense; arriving with a wealth of immediate pressure. If you’re being guarded by him, you’re likely having fits finding a way to beat him. If you’re a pass or two away, what he is going to do is likely be in the back of your mind. The cover of this book only scratches the surface; this is a high-level defender.
Spencer Beakey, Goalie, Dexter Southfield School (Mass.)/3d New England, 2020
The ceiling for this goalkeeper is very high. Both tall and wide, Spencer left even the most talented shooters with little room for error. Strong angles and a balanced, athletic stance contributed to Spencer’s success on a number of step-down opportunities. But what truly separated him was his patience in tracking shots. From about 8-yards on the left wing, he turned away a textbook high-to-low shot for the back-pipe with a sharp, explosive step to the ball. What looked like a dart from the sideline seemed like a beach ball to the man between the pipes. As he becomes more mobile and elastic, the harder it will be to locate white and finish.
Zack Hojnowski, FOGO, Somers (Conn.)/3d New England South, 2020
One of many returners from the 2018 Showcase, this FOGO was far and away the most improved player on the field. The Somers, Connecticut native has made significant strides in his technique, versatility at the X, stick-skills and IQ in the field. It was impressive to watch just how dynamic he was over the course of the day. He used a variety of exit strategies to best his matchups. For every answer they had, he was able to counter and leave them with even more questions. But while he used a number of tactics, he was always consistent with his ability to pick up first-time ground balls. His ability to gain possession has him trending upwards.
Colin Sharp, Attack, Cape Henry Collegiate School (Va.)/Amped, 2020
The last name is fitting for this player’s offensive skill-set. Colin has an excellent stick, coupled with great vision and keen awareness. As accurate as his shot and pass selection was, it felt as if the decision-making was parallel. It became evident in his role within the pairs. As a ball carrier he could deceivingly look off passes as he threw them, or he threw subtle fakes as he gained the middle. As the mirror, it was if he knew where he was feeding or shooting before the ball reached his stick. The instincts this attacker displayed make any offense better; but it has just as much to do with him raising the skill level of his teammates, as it does with his own ability to make an impact.
Mack Hicklin, LSM, Minnechaug Regional High School (Mass.)/3d New England South, 2020
Hicklin comes from a storied program with a tradition of producing high-level long stick defenders. The latest ‘Chauger has an uncanny ability for identifying and moving the ball off the ground quickly. On the majority of his wings, it felt as if the ball came up in his stick. And if it didn’t, there was a good chance Mack was in the hands of the player carrying it. But his greatest impact might have been riding the ball back. When Mack is in the middle the field, he is a threat to anyone carrying the ball over the midline, and surely a threat to strike once the ball is back in his possession. Many of the day’s ride-back goals started or ended with Hicklin.
Ramsey Morris, Goalie, Millbrook School (N.Y.)/3d Upstate, 2020
Ramsey impressed many with his ball stopping ability at this year’s DIII Showcase. He made a number of door-step, time-and-room stops from point blank range. A huge reason for his success was his attention to detail tracking the ball. While his hands and feet did a lot of the heavy work, his eyes were sharp, arriving at the location of the ball on each shot. There were few shooters, if any, that he could not stare down and make a clean save off of, many of which allowed him to create offense with outlet passes that jump started transition the opposite direction. As he continues to develop his stick, he’ll become more of a threat to creating transition. This goalie as an eye that is as hard to beat as it is teach.
CC Jeffers, Midfield, Kinkaid School (Texas)/3d Texas, 2020
Over the course of three days, CC was quietly one of the most skilled offensive talents at the camp. What stands out initially are his quickness and agility in open space; equipped with the stick necessary to finish or race the ball quickly. But what some may miss his how active he is in the off-ball aspect, constantly seeking the back of his defender’s helmet to cut or drift away. He was one of a few who were able to take a lot of what he learned in the box and translate it to the field. It also helps that he has a soft set of hands and is comfortable catching the ball at various levels. If you look away for even a second, chances are CC is finishing a shot the next.
Philip Gisler, Attack, Boise High School (Idaho)/True Lacrosse Idaho, 2020
This 2018 attendee made incredible strides in all aspects of his offensive skill set. The lefty was highly impressive indoors, showing he could be more than effective in the two-man game. He gave matchups fits with the number of times he re-picked when the ball was on either side of the floor. The strategy continued outdoors, where it opened up space for him to really show his gains. At times, he was hands-loaded and tucking shots into corners. At others, he was identifying bad approaches and using a number of re-dodges to get underneath or topside. Not to mention, he can look off a skip pass perfectly placed across the field. Philip will only continue to get better, and more creative, as he continues to compete at this level of competition.
Declan Maguire, Attack, St. Sebastian’s School (Mass.)/3d New England, 2020
Coming off a great season in the ISL, Declan played a sparkplug-like role for his team’s offense. What college coaches will like is that Declan does everything fast. On several occasions, he used a quick first step and great acceleration to sweep over the top in the pairs. When he took the alley, his ability to change speeds and directions with a rocker or MJ move was a difference maker. But as much as you have to respect his athleticism, you have to respect his stick. He was able to stick a number of shots and thread several skip passes, all without breaking stride. His lever pass was lethal, as he hit it precisely as he drew two. There is no doubt Maguire is equipped to create offense at the next level.
Jake Cousak, Attack, St. Sebastian’s School (Mass.)/3d New England, 2020
Another member of a talented St. Sebastian’s squad, Jake stood out early and often on the day of competition. One thing you notice is the motor this kid plays with. It can be a dodge, groundball, endline or ride, and he plays 100 mph. He proved to be shifty and explosive in areas he needed to be in order to capitalize. Whether it’s a hitch-and-go or inside roll, he does a great job of freezing his defender and running by him. He also has a smooth handle and good range. A number of times, Jake pulled up from his dodge and let the ball fly at the cage. He is constantly competing and testing his opponent with his skill set, and if you play him too lightly, he is going to beat you one way or another.
Hunter Wallace, LSM, Glastonbury High School (Conn.)/Connecticut Valley, 2020
Wallace may be one of the smaller guys carrying the 6-foot pole but makes up for it with speed and tenacity. He too enjoyed a lot of success from the wing area, picking up a number of groundballs with pressure and escaping to space with solid stick-protection. Offensive players within his reach also struggled to find comfort, as he was excellent with arriving his hands and riding his stick into good contact. The Glastonbury product excels in putting the ball on the ground, getting it in his stick and being a part of quick-strike offense. There were few poles as comfortable with passing, cutting and handling feeds in tight as Wallace.
Pehrson Szuluk, Midfield, Avon Old Farms School (Conn.), 2020
Pehrson’s skill set and athletic ability are reminiscent to that of an old-school, downhill dodger. He may very well be a midfielder that can draw a lot of attention, and a lot of slides, as he keeps developing his game. A number of times, the Winged-Beaver was able to muscle his way inside the hashes and get to the near pipe. He also showed great range & ability in hammering step down shots off great ball movement. But Pehrson also deserves a lot of credit on the defensive end. He sits low in a stance, makes solid contact, and uses his legs to force his matchup toward the sideline. In the right system, he could be a very dangerous two-way player.
Brendan Murphy, FOGO, Menlo School (Calif.)/ADVNC, 2020
Brendan also enjoyed a successful day at the X by using a slightly different approach. He may not have had as many options in his arsenal as others, but he was really skilled and smart about playing to his strengths. Pinching and popping the ball forward into space complimented his ability to get out of his stance and run through first-time ground balls. A number of transition opportunities were created by his talent at the draw. And when he did not win it cleanly, he impressed coaches with his ability to scrap and work with his teammates to come up with possession. If he continues this trend, teams will be able to lean on him to play ‘make-it take-it,' as well as erase opponents’ advantages.
Carter Strauch, Attack, San Ramon Valley (Calif.)/3d Nor Cal, 2020
The X attackman from the West Coast has gained a lot of coaches’ attention with his strong IQ and ability to see plays develop in front of him. As talented a player as he is, there is nothing flashy or overwhelming about his game. He has good speed, a simple stick, plays modestly with both hands, and can serve any role within the offense. Yet when you look at a stat line post-game, guaranteed he has several goals, assists and ground balls. Carter may pick and choose the times he goes; but that is ok given how effective and efficient he is when he does. You could argue that he is just a selfless player in a showcase setting, but he is often a step ahead.
Noah Brooks, Midfield, Williston North Hampton (Mass.)/3d New England South, 2020
The Western Mass product could also fall into that category of role or glue player; which is good for him, because he is really good at it. Over the course of three days, these players had a variety of stick skills, dodges, pick techniques, and pairs concepts thrown at them. Noah was one of, if not the best, at digesting and utilizing all of them. It was really fun to watch as he employed them within the open set. On one run, he would rocker and throw a lever pass to his mirror. On another, he would face-dodge underneath to throw a shovel pass to an uncovered crease player. If he gained the middle, he would pump near, pump far, and throw a leaner off-stick side. Well-coached and well-disciplined, this is a guy who is clearly a student of the game.
Ollie Bernstein, Midfield, Noble & Greenough School (Mass.)/3d New England, 2020
Ollie was one of the more well-rounded midfielders in the group and he came on as the came and play day moved along, maybe playing his best lacrosse later in the day Thursday. He showed great legs and hustle both coming out of the back end but also as a downhill dodger. He's able to protect his stick and take shots with pressure on him as he goes down the lane, and he uses his big frame to fight off checks early in the dodge and then to persevere with the ball. He plays a smart style of lacrosse with and without the ball and was able to utilize, or perhaps was already comfortable, with a lot of the schemes players learned. He made a handful of outstanding plays in transition that led to goals and was workmanlike in his consistency.
Declan Cooke, Defense, Barrington High School (R.I.)/3d Bears, 2021
One of the youngest defenders at camp also happened to be one of the tallest and rangiest. And while he plays as if he is still growing into his body, he has some key pieces that put him in position to be a future standout. He had some extremely positive moments off ball, from hedging to steer dodges away from the middle, and having his stick up in skip lanes. Declan also has some upside in the transition game. Not only did he have the awareness to win endlines, but he followed suit by carrying and pushing transition on a number of occasions. He is comfortable with the ball in his stick and not afraid to take advantage of having his hands free.