July 3, 2012

Getting to Know U.S. Under-19 Defense

by Corey McLaughlin and Lane Errington | LaxMagazine.com

With the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championship coming up July 12-21 in Turku, Finland, Lacrosse Magazine is taking a closer look at the U.S. U19 squad that will compete for a seventh straight gold medal.

We've already looked at the midfield and attack. Today: Team USA's defense. Check back to LaxMagazine.com the next Tuesday for a preview of USA's goaltending tandem.

A regular starter as a freshman for Harvard, Stephen Jahelka (Garden City, N.Y.) has the total package: coverage and takeaway skills, great communication ability and leadership qualities. He was a unanimous two-time All-American at Garden City High and was also a first-team All-Long Island football player. The 6-foot 195-pound lefty was among the Crimson's top five leaders in ground balls in 2012 and led them in caused turnovers at the end of the regular season.

The best advice Tanner Ottenbreit ever received from a coach? "Ground balls win games." His favorite lacrosse player? Jim Brown. Ottenbreit knows his history, and tough guys. His favorite non-lacrosse player? Former longtime Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater, who made his presence known to NFL wide receivers coming across the middle of the field in the 1990s. That shows a glimpse of Ottenbreit's attitude. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder out of Regis Jesuit (Colo.) – where he was all-state in lacrosse, hockey and football – is now a long stick midfielder at Virginia and one of two Colorado kids on U19 squad.

As a freshman as Johns Hopkins, Robert Enright (Massapequa, N.Y.) saw time in 2012 at the Blue Jays' third defenseman spot under coach Dave Pietramala. Enright started two games. The 6-foot, 185-pound former Nassau County Defenseman of the Year helped lead Massapequa to the county Class A title game as a high school junior and senior.

Ralph D'Agostino originally wanted to be a college football player, but as a freshman at Immaculata (N.J.) he quickly realized the impact he could have on a lacrosse field. Not only did he guide the team defensively to three straight NJSIAA Non-Public B championships, but he played as an offensive midfielder, on the faceoff wing and at times took draws himself. The now 5-foot-8, 177-pounder scored 25 goals and had eight assists and 217 ground balls as high school senior in 2011 when Immaculata finished with a 19-2 record. He still played football all four years, but is now a defenseman at Syracuse.

A big, strong and athletic 6-foot-4, 210-pound defender, Luke Howard will be a sophomore at Ohio State next fall and played in seven games for the Buckeyes as a freshman. He was part of a back-to-back IAC championship teams in 2009 and 2010 at Landon (Md.) and counts former Georgetown All-American and six-time Major League Lacrosse defensive player of the year Brodie Merrill as his favorite player.

Greg Danseglio (St. Anthony's, N.Y.) saw time in most of Virginia's games this season in a reserve role. A highly regarded long stick midfielder coming out of Catholic power St. Anthony's on Long Island, Danseglio played at close defense upon arrival in Charlottesville. As a high schooler, he won two New York CHSAA titles at St. Anthony's and was named the state Catholic school's division Defenseman of the Year in 2010.

A version of this article appears in the June issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription. Follow the U.S. U19 team at laxmagazine.com/teamusa/u19men. The team heads to Bryant University in Rhode Island for training camp Friday through Sunday and leaves for Finland on Monday.

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