Editor’s Note: Brian Witmer was at Trilogy’s HS Aces Camp in Towson, MD last week and while he saw a lot of kids with talent and potential, 13 of the players really stood out. Here are 13 who impressed from HS Aces, and why they stood out to our man on the ground, Brian Witmer!
13 Who Impressed At HS Aces
Class of 2017/2018
Alexander Rodriguez #140 Midfield – You really just can’t say enough about tough two-way middies. Players like Alex truly embody what lacrosse players are supposed to be all about. I saw multiple goals from Alex, some with his left but primarily out of right handed alley dodges. He’s got the hands of a truly gifted dodging midfielder, compiled with the athleticism that makes him an asset in transition and in the defensive/clearing aspect of the game. He makes his presence known with wing play and physical ground ball play. Rodriguez brings all the benefit without any of the flashy bells and whistles.
Kevin Kuzmeski #114 LSM – I’d hate to be a neighborhood kid playing sharks and minnows with this guy living down the street. Nobody on the field is safe from a double team, and once they’re forced into a turnover, then the real trouble starts for any team unfortunate enough to find Kuzmenski transitioning the ball up the field. Over the week at HS Aces I saw Kevin score multiple goals, with two coming in the first half of one game.
Carson Plant #167 Midfield – Of all the players I saw this week, I’ve seen a select few that can/will
transition easier than others into high level NCAA ball. Carson is among this group. Time after time Plant displayed his ability to get to the goal and either put the ball in the net with his simple and smart finishing, or get the ball to the open man with his excellent field vision. He’s been an undeniably beneficial asset to his team here this week, I can only imagine what he’ll be able to get done with a collegiate crew that he can build chemistry with.
Dominic Cioffi #166 Midfield – Run past anyone in between you and the goal, then throw the ball in said goal. It’s just that easy for ‘Dom’. He’s got the wheels to burn and the handles to either take a nice rip on the run, or a nice clean dip/dunk finish once he’s burned his way to the goal. Cioffi had a hat trick in the last game I watched, earning his goals by hustling to give his team the edge in the ground ball game. His team’s end-game cheer was “Dom on 3”. That’s neat.
Zeke Day #127 Defense – When I was watching these games, it can tough to give the D fellas love. Offensive guys are obviously easy to quantify and a stud goalie or faceoff guy is pretty apparent when they’re on a tear, but great defense quite often goes unnoticed. Zeke makes it pretty apparent. Any opportunity to bring the hurt and cause some havoc, he’s in there tossing bodies to the floor and bringing the ball up the other way. In all the games I’ve saw with Zeke, it’s a logistical nightmare trying to play offense while avoiding Zeke’s quadrant of the field.
Michael Doud #167 Goalie – Doud stops the ball. It’s that simple. He plays a wide and positional base, and without seeming to have to move all that much, he just always seems to find himself catching some part of the shot. From outside rips to inside “one-on-oh” defensive breakdowns that should end up in easy finishes, Doud stands tall and makes it look easy. Without question one of the finer goaltending displays I’ve seen in quite a while.
Class of 2019/2020
Brooks South #81 Defense – This young man has had the biggest impact on every game in this division. He’s a defender who’s on a warpath. I didn’t seen him get beat, I didn’t see any missed ground balls, or a failed clear. He’s a 2019 with plenty of time to mature, but he already stands roughly 6’3 and physically imposes his will on not just his man, but any player foolish enough to turn their head on him.
Willem Steiner #8 Midfield – A great way to make most of the top recruiting roster is to score the big goal, physically immolate your mark, or to make some wild acrobatic save. Steiner didn’t do anything that turned my brain upside down or made me rethink physics, he just made the smart play – every single time. Pushing it in transition, facilitating a successful offense with his impressive stick skills, and a big time field IQ to make up for his smaller physical stature.
Griffin Schutz #88 Attack – Griffin is the biggest scorer on the field, and he doesn’t know it yet. Standing well over six foot as a rising freshmen, Schutz plays a great team-oriented brand of offense even when I’m quite confident he can get to the goal whenever he feels like it. Being fourteen years old, I’m assuming his size is relatively new to him. Once Griffin understands exactly how big he is, I predict many frustrated defensemen and coaches who will struggle to keep the ball out of the goal.
Bryson Carter #28 Attack – The task I was given was to find players who IMPRESSED. I’ve done other scouting and recruiting where the simpler task is to find the BEST players. Carter is impressing me. He’s
playing a simple game, doing all the small things right, and really busting his hump to get the job done.
He hasn’t thrown any crazy fakes and I haven’t seen him go behind the back, but he’s smashing home overhand dunks and putting the ball in the net. As a result, his name is on the list where a lot of others aren’t. Put some meat on this kid, and a little more confidence under pressure, and you’ve got yourself a gamer.
Jack Kilgallon #70 Attack – We’ve got ourselves a shooter. Speed meets caliber with Jack. There’s a lot of shift in this kid’s shoes, but where a lot of players get caught up with east/west dodging, Jack moves
with purpose, and that purpose is more often than not to let some heavy righty heat fly. Full disclosure,
a couple of times I heard his coaches calling for the one-more, but I think we all know that shooter who’s going to pull the trigger no matter what, because he knows it’s going in. Is that always a good thing? I’d imagine not. Have we all enjoyed having a natural born scorer on our team at some point? Absolutely.
Liam Grealy #37 LSM – Poke check of death. This isn’t the biggest or strongest LSM in camp, but he’s definitely performing the most surgical checks I’ve seen. Following up the turnover, Grealy has been extremely efficient on ground balls and transitioning the ball to the offensive crew. I’ve been impressed by a young player, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how dominant Liam will be in the near future with a little size and more experience.
George Brinn #22 Attack – George has been an absolute killer for his team all week long. He’s got all the moves necessary to beat any defender, without the dancing and excess that plagues many young players. George has been a team player as much as he has been a scorer, and his team knows it. When push came to shove, they even nominated Brinn to the Braveheart to fight for his team in overtime.
So there you have it! 13 players who stood out at HS Aces, and WHY they stood out. For kids looking to stand out themselves, emulate the guys above, and you’ll be just fine!