Who Stood Out At Aloha’s Lava Lax

Top players seen by Michael Arena of ConnectLAX at Aloha Tournament’s Lava Lax on June 11th-12th.

Aloha Tournaments has been around for ages, 1999 to be exact. Way before I even knew what lacrosse was. Lacrosse entered my life at an odd age of afros and braces. Thats right, freshman year of high school. Something completely new to me and something that I continuously love, no lack of luster for the sport in my eyes. Of course, I did not know much when I started and I took that to my advantage. I drowned my self in film, interviews, local high school and college games, and asking the seniors 101 questions about the game and there styles of play etcetera etcetera etcetera, and it continued all the way through my college career. I can go on for days with my story.

That is my story now I’m not here to tell you about my lacrosse history as much as I love to brag. I am here to tell you these are the next up and coming studs of the game. I’ve been to Aloha Tournaments before, 100% some of the top tournaments I have ever been a spectator of. A ton of local talent at the Lava Lax tournament this weekend. As much as I love seeing someone fly up from down south or travel 10 hours from Canada to play and rep there set. Its always a plus for me to see local talent form the oh so famous Maryland Lacrosse bed with some out of towner competition sprinkled in to keep the sparks flying.

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Connor Stevens (Attack) MD, API Diamond Backs 17/18, Archbishop Spalding High School MD 17′

Coached by Brooks Beaty Connor seems to be the go to guy from X. Diamond Backs are middie heavy with talent but Connor stuck out like a kid with shin pads in the net.. In a good way though. For someone graduating next year I was surprised with how well he handled pressure, and not just pressure of someone comping out and playing your hands but he uses pressure to have his defender over play him, have slide with hands up to his shoulder and dive slide right under them like a young Case Mathies or Kevin Rice when he to go to the net. Something rare in a player being able to use the defensemens physical pressure to create an opportunity. That being said, he is always ready to shoot the second the head of his stick passes GLE (goal line extended for the nubes) giving the goalie zero chance to read the shot. Unbelievable body awareness, Physicality on riding, and intelligence from the X spot. Not Committed.

Mike Demaio (LSM) MD, API Diamond Backs 17/18, Arundel High School MD 17′

Coached by Brooks Beaty, First off some of the best foot work I saw at Lava Lax. Coach Brooks states: “Kids an animal as well as a well rounded athlete.”  That’s something I love to see, run and gun LSM. Someone who is not afraid or looking for approval from coach to get on the offensive side. Handles the ball with confidence and was not afraid to shoot. Also a major plus is he knows how to play under GLE. A lot of LSMs at a young age with fold quickly when sent down to play low. unaware of the space to give, not sure how to turn some at GLE or to RELAX on the the checks being thrown. Mike shows that maturity and respect for behind the net, very coachable. Not Committed. 

Josh Koelbel (Middie) MD, Side Winder Lax 19, Queen Anne’s County High School MD 19′

Peter Valavanis head coach of Josh stated right off the bat that Josh is a “reliable team player, extremely coachable and isn’t afraid to try anything we throw his way.” He has a lot of room for growth, I noticed he would look for the assist even if he has the shot. Being coachable can change that quickly. Last statement from Coach Valavanis was “he’d score more if he shot more.” That statement makes it clear that in the next year of development he is someone to watch out for next summer. Not Committed

Kellyn Curry (Attack) MD, Team Maryland LC 17/18, Urbana High School MD 18′

Lead by Randolph Clark Kellyn Stood out to me, sometimes at these tournaments it can be come a show for some players, shot after shot after shot. But Kellyn was a player I recognized he created those plays for the show stoppers. Kellyn is one of the best feeders I saw that weekend, amazing vision of the play developing. Every fast break it was as if he knew what would happen. Did not see a lot of shots taken from him. Very controlled player behind GLE from X, much like a QB behind his defensive line. Not Committed.

Austin Koury (Attack) PA, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Owen J Roberts High School PA 17′

When you see Austin, you will understand what I’m about to tell you. For someone who is so young and all coaching aside, the kid has the best hands I have seen in ages. He is the full attack package. Feeds, shoots, dodges with confidence, drives to the net not away. Coach Mark Princehorn said it perfectly, he’s a “creator who is a threat to score, with amazing stick skills.” His speed has not developed yet but he makes up for it with size and stick skills. His hands could take him to a D1 team, its so natural and fluid. He is not afraid to take a shot even with the tightest angles. Throws his body into people like the great Jim Brown did, Unbelievable how well he controlled the fast break. Not Committed.

Brandon Moyer (Attack) PA, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Westchester Henderson High School PA 17″

Brandon and Austin were in sync, Brandon feeds off of the energy that comes from his teammates. He’s the go to guy on Duke’s for assists, Excellent on reading the passing lanes on the field especially on man up, skin passes whizzing past the defense for a shot. A lot like Kevin Rice in regards to him creating shots for his teammates. Do not rule him out for being a shooter, he will take the high wing on man up and find the open net no problem. Clearly knows the game and has the knowledge of the game far past a lot of players in his age group. Not Committed.

Nick Varoni (Middie/Attack) PA, Dukes Lacrosse Club, Downingtown West High School PA 18′

Nick is what I see as a all around threat. Triple threat: Attack, Middie and a hell of a rider and defensive middie. Players football for Downingtown HS, he is full contact all the time. Coach Princehorn said it himself he is a  “athlete to the max.” Amazing in transition with clearing the ball from GLE to GLE, Box to Box. My favorite type of lacrosse player, could see him being one of the top prospects for D Middies in his recruiting class. He has the speed of a college athlete, nobody could keep up with him on the clear and if he catches you on a ride, oh man that is a turn over waiting to happen. Nick is my top pick. Not Committed.

Carter Gigrang (Attack) PA, Gonzo Lacrosse, North Carol High School PA 18′

Easily top 3 of the day, stunning to see a young player in the 18′ recruiting class that has his own style/comfortability on the field and with his body/stick. Biggest take away from Carter is he was unpredictable, I couldn’t tell when he was creating a play for his teammates to shoot or driving to the net to stick a corner. Very hard to read in the best way. Fearless behind the net with his dodges, the kids got moves but also can take it to the net like Jordan Wolf (head down driving his defenseman into the ground). His skills are far advanced for his age. It was treat to watch him play. Surprisingly Not Committed.

Brandon Dunn (Middie/Attack) PA, Gonzo Lacrosse, South West High School PA 18′

Coached by Andy Sand he is a shooting machine. Does not take a shot he cant make, very particular with were and when he shoots but when he does its in the corner, in the five hole, and 100% in the net. Shot lacks speed, that being said he makes up for it with accuracy. He is also young with room to get the gains in the gym to boost his shot speed. What stood out the most was his dodging ability, WOW can he snap ankles it was like watching Michael Jordans cross over in game 7 with 10 seconds left. His split dodge is better than a lot of new college athletes today, kid takes off as soon as he plants his foot to split its over. Also has a killer hitch he will throw in when fed near the net. Second best shot on the run of the day. Not Committed.

Tyler Bennett (Middie) MD, FCA Maryland ,Bullseye High School MD19′

I think Tyler is going to get picked up this summer by a top 5 D1 Schools without a doubt in my mind. Coach Brian Rwe said it perfectly Tyler is “our most rounded player who has grown the most since last years season. You would not have recognized him from last year.” He is tall, fast, and man is he strong. If someone told me he was already in college as a freshman I would not second guess it. Plays with pressure on his hip and knows how to shoot while turning the corner. Every move he made was a show stopper, not by plan it is because he is that good. Not selfish by any means but I wish he was so I could see the Tyler show, extremely entertaining to watch. Not Committed (someone please pick him up.)

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Honorable Mentions:

Frankie Prado (Middie) MD, API Diamond Backs 17/18, Severn School MD 17′

Jack Gillogly (Middie) MD, API Diamond Backs 17/18, South River High School MD 17′

Matt Simons (Goalie) MD, MD Wolf Pack 18′, Towson High School MD 18′

Charlie Alessi (Middie) PA, LVLC Lightning Elite, Elizabethtown High School PA 17′

Quentin Mccomas (Middie) MD, FCA Maryland, Loyola Blakefield High School MA 18′

Colin Mcauliffe (Attack/Middie) MD, FCA Maryland, Century High School 19′

Ryan Cyp (Attack) MD, FCA Maryland, (changing high schools) 19′

Brandon Smith (LSM) PA, Gonzo Lacrosse, North Carol High School 18′

Gavin Rossman (LSM) PA, Dukes Lacrosse Club, Downingtown West PA 18′

Noah Stecher (Middie) PA, Gonzo Lacrosse, Calver Hall PA 17′

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Born and raised in Stratford Connecticut, Mike started playing lacrosse his freshman year of high school and has been hooked on it ever since. He was the LSM for the Manhattanville College Valiants coached by Ryder Bohlander and Owen Blye. He covers the recruiting scene and identifies stand out players.

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