By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 11/19/22
It’s time for a fresh start – achievements to date do not guarantee anything for the 2023 school season.
That’s the message the Radnor and Marple Newtown players focused on today after competing in the inaugural NXT High School Challenge at the Maple Zone Sports Village in Aston.
The event attracted 20 elite high school teams from the Philly, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan and New Hampshire area. Ontario’s Hill Academy and Everest Academy also attended.
The event attracted over 85 college coaches who were excited to see players run with their regular high school teams instead of a club program.
There were numerous league and state championship teams. Radnor has won the last two PIAA 3A Championships and Marple Newtown was PIAA 2A runner-up last year. Both teams have high expectations for 2023.
Radnor went 1-0-2 today, forging a 5-5 draw with Seton Hall Prep (NJ), defeating Everest 9-5 before drawing 8-8 with Lawrenceville School (NJ). The Raptors completed a strong senior class but are considered top contenders for Central League, District 1, and PIAA honors.
“We have to find our new identity for ourselves, as individuals and as a team,” said Radnors senior midfielder Cooper Mueller, who was a member of Princeton and second-team All-Phillylacrosse pick last year. “We have competed in summer tournaments but now the season is approaching and it was good to play against quality competition.
“Each year is individual; We have a new team. We must put the rings away. We can learn from the past, but we must not become complacent. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past; Now is the time to win.”
Radnor senior forward and Lehigh conscript Colin French scored two key goals in the game against Lawrenceville.
“It was great for our team to build chemistry,” he said. “We have some new guys and it was great to see the guys getting time to play against such good competition. We finished a very strong high school and we have to see what the boys can do.”
French also said the Raptors have the state titles to fall back on, but they understand the competition will be even more motivated to take them out.
“We have a clean slate and have to start from scratch,” he said. “Our goal is to win another national championship, but we have to put everything behind us and look forward. We just want to work hard and build a new team.”
Marple Newtown also lost a strong senior class and expects to field many underclassmen in his starting lineup. The Tigers went 2-1 against a strong field today, losing to Don Bosco Prep (NJ) 8-5 and the Black Grizzlies (Brother Rice) 12-3. They also defeated Quaker Lacrosse (Moorestown, NJ) 7-6.
One of those players, 2024 LSM David Bertoline, said the Tigers will need plenty of young players to take on leadership roles in 2023.
“We have a lot of vacancies,” he says. “We have a lot of young people, so it was great to compete today. We have lost many vocal leaders and many of us need to fill that void and become leaders.”
What will the team work on the most to prepare for the new season?
“Defence notice,” Bertoline said. “On offense we have to get the ball moving and avoid mistakes. I do think that our success last year gives us a lot of self-confidence.”
Midfielder Brian Box scored 70 goals and 53 assists as a freshman for Marple Newtown last year and earned the Third-Team All-Phillylacrosse title. He realizes that high school – which included his brother Charlie Box, who is now at Cornell – is gone and that he must play a key leadership role even as a sophomore.
“We have a lot of young players who got experience out there today,” Box said. “Some of these guys were freshmen and some were guys who didn’t play much last year. It was good to get replays and see who can play at such a high level.
“Last year gave us a lot of confidence and we learned what it takes to play at this high level. We must now look ahead. We need to stop making turnovers and pushing the ball while also holding the ball for long periods of possession.”
tags: Marple Newtown, Radnor
This entry was posted on Saturday November 19th, 2022 at 9:46pm and is filed under Boys/Men, High School. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.