This past weekend, the annual USIL combine/ competition at the Tri-State Sports Complex in Aston, Pa. took place. The invite-only event took place over two days (October 3rd and 4th), with many of the top prospects. For anybody that does not know much or anything about the USIL, the acronym stands for United States Indoor Lacrosse (www.usindoorlacrosse.com)
They are dedicated to the development of indoor lacrosse here in the States. It is not a far stretch to say that the US is well behind Canada as far as the development of box lacrosse is concerned.
The USIL seems really committed to changing this dynamic and box lacrosse has seen a recent spike in popularity as more and more big time NCAA players like Stephen Peyser, Brendan Mundorf and Jarret park, are successfully making the transition to the indoor game.
The organization puts on this event to test, teach, and showcase the best new players from across the country.
About The Combine
“Participating in the Combine will give you an opportunity to showcase your talents to NLL team representatives as you go through agility testing, drills and scrimmaging,” wrote Graham R. D’Alvia, President/GM, USIL Inc/ Team USA. The actual event is more or less broken up into a day of testing and a day of playing.
Day one has players participating in a bunch of tests including, 40 yard dash, medicine ball throw, t-drill, Illinois agility. The tests are very similar to the ones conducted at the MLL combine and can be a good measurement of an athlete’s overall athleticism and power. After testing, drills start before lunch. After lunch, the drills continue and lead into scrimmaging. Meanwhile, throughout the day players are pulled aside individually to to be interviewed and have their pictures taken. The day concludes when the list of players invited back for Sunday’s games is posted.
The list of players is a pretty diverse. There are some junior A’s, some recent NCAA grads, and some older guys that have been in the box game for a while. Notable players include: Dan Deckelbaum, Ryan Zordani, Kylor Berkman, Chris Husband, Pat Kablis, Kevin Lachapelle, Greg Vetter, Jeremy Sieverts, and Bryan Tingle.
Day two is all games all day. There is a round robin style tournament and then a playoff based on the first two games for each team. Players try to impress the NLL coaches on hand to land those last few spots at training camp this winter.
Introducing Our Blogger Extraordinaire For The Combine
LAS was lucky enough to have JR Oreskovich, a recent Stevens Institute of Technology grad, provide a recap blog of the experience. Today we have his thoughts on the combine before it started and how he got there. Tomorrow we’ll have his thoughts on Day 1 posted. To give you some idea of the kind of player JR is I will quickly drop some notables on you:
JR was a 3-time NCAA Division 3 All-American, scored 100 points back in 2007 as a Junior and notched around 250 points over the course of his career. He’s a lefty originally from Cali, loves long walks on the beach, cosmotinis and enjoys a heaping side of mechanical engineering when he’s not breaking in a new spoon.
Day Zero: The Departure
by JR Oreskovich
Time to start the weekend and the agenda for today is as follows: Train to 30thStreet Station in Philadelphia from Newark Penn Station. I will be transferring in Trenton and then hopping on a regional train to Malvern, Pa after I get to Philly. Once I get there, an old friend, Todd Macfarlane (Toddy Mac), will pick me up. Toddy Mac has been a good friend and coach of mine since the day I started playing lacrosse. He has helped me at every level with everything from shooting, personal training, and coaching. He just moved from San Diego and is now the athletic director and lacrosse coach at the Phelps School. More on him to follow, I am sure. Right now, it is time to get out the iPod and check out the scenery, though.
Now I am stuck in Woodbridge after being notified that I got on the wrong train at Newark. Apparently track numbers and times mean nothing. I am waiting for a train in the opposite direction to Rahway so that I can catch the Trenton train once again. I should have just taken the express train. Point, NJ Transit.
My second train has decided not to be on time either and now I am worried I might not even be able to catch a train to Philly once I get to Trenton. NJ transit 2, J.R. 0
I made it halfway and am on the train to 30th street, Philadelphia, now. This is the nicest train I have been on yet but I have a sneaky suspicion that it has something to do with having left the garden state. It even has a sign next to the window that describes what it means to be sitting in a QuietRide car which makes me believe that I am now in one. Apparently the first three cars of the train prohibit talking louder than a whisper and the use of cell phones and computers for anything other than text. Who knew? It is dark now and there is not much to see out the window, so I have resulted to people watching and I am pretty sure that Paul Pierce might be sitting a few rows back. Maybe not.
Almost six hours later and I am still not there. The last leg of the trip got delayed because of the delays in the first two. The ticket office was closed and I am getting pretty cynical. Surprisingly the staff at the train station has been extremely helpful, though.
Malvern Station. I am finally here and feel like I just went to California and back. I am pretty tired and it looks like sleep with be a luxury tonight.
Expect at least two more updates this week as we go through Days 1 and 2 of the combine with JR.