June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

by Clare Lochary, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

BETHESDA, Md.- As the U.S. under-19 team raced Sunday to a commanding 17-6 victory over the Potomac All-Stars, its prolific attack made it clear that the team knows how to finish.

At Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md., attackers Jack McBride (3g, 1a) and Matt Mackrides (2g, 2a) led 12 different scorers in the team's second consecutive win. The match was the fourth in a series of five exhibition games that will prepare the team for the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) U-19 World Championships, which begin in 11 days in British Columbia, Canada.

"Mac was working hard in the middle, Dean [Gibbon]'s got that left side and I'll stay on that right side, and we'll work together like that," said McBride, who scored the first of his three goals to cap a 7-0 opening run for Team USA.

McBride assisted Mackrides twice, and Mackrides returned the favor once, helping the offense to find a rhythm that powered the U.S. to its most successful offensive exhibition performance.

The defense was similarly solid, shutting out Potomac in the first quarter. Goalies Adam Ghitelman (four saves) and Tyler Fiorito (five saves) were rarely tested. Ghitelman started and Fiorito played the second half, continuing their pattern of alternating starts.

If there was a weak point in the team's performance, it was at midfield, where international substitution rules and developing team chemistry created the most havoc.

"Midfield's tough to do [in international play]," said head coach Chuck Apel.

"[Assistant] coach [Tim] Flynn is running the box, and the guys are figuring it out."

Just one day after a commanding performance against the Philadelphia area All-Stars, faceoff specialist Matt Dolente struggled against Potomac's Brian Tabb. While Dolente acknowledged that taking nearly 50 faceoffs in less than 24 hours took its toll, he welcomes the responsibility.

"That's something that I want, and something that every competitive faceoff guy wants. They want to be the guy when the game's on the line in the fourth quarter, and you've got to earn that the whole game," said Dolente.

Midfielders Nick Elsmo and Brian Shemesh have taken a few reps at the 'X' in practice, but Dolente is the team's go-to FOGO. The match-up with Tabb should be good preparation for international competition. Tabb, who missed the age requirement for U-19 qualifications by just a few weeks, posted a .437 faceoff percentage for Georgetown as a freshman.

For all the adjustment to international rules, the U.S. team picked up only one illegal procedure penalty, on defender Max Schmidt in the first quarter, but racked up five minutes in penalties on six fouls throughout the game. Twice the U.S. team got caught in two-man down situations, and three of Potomac's six goals came on extra-man opportunities.

Attacker Sean Dinn, a rising sophomore at Navy, led Potomac with two goals and three assists.

Team USA's final exhibition game against the Washington Chapter All-Stars is scheduled for June 29, shortly before heading across the border to Canada for the ILF championship.

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