Freestate teams notch three-game sweep of Wavelax
ANNAPOLIS — Hard white rubber balls weren’t the only things bouncing off the artificial turf here on a muggy Thursday evening at Annapolis High’s Ensor Stadium.
Flying sticks bounced after some very successful stick checks. Helmets bounced after some very aggressive body checks, which also caused a few bodies to bounce.
Only one body didn’t bounce so well, but he was able to walk it off.
The bounciest bunch at the end, although they were clearly tired, was the Freestate 2018s, whose 13-8 victory gave the prep lacrosse stars from Maryland a clean sweep of three games against the stars from the Washington D.C. and Virginia metro area.
Easton’s rising junior attacker Clay Schmidt scored four goals to lead Freestate in the finale. Kent Island’s Brandon Galloway also competed in the game as a midfielder, handling half of the team’s face-offs.
The evening opened with a Freestate 2019s 17-9 win, with the Eastern Shore represented by Kent Island midfielder Ricky Tubman. Easton middie Corey Hall then helped the Freestate 2017s earn an 11-9 win in the evening’s closest contest.
College coaches sat in a row along one sideline, taking notes on prospects, who clearly demonstrated the region’s high talent level. Crisp passing and catching, aggressive and tactical defense, and some amazing goaltending evidenced years of practice and hard work to advance skills.
“It was fun having college coaches look at us, just playing
the game,” said Galloway in his first year trying out for Freestate. He expressed an interest in playing for Frostburg State University. The Bobcats went 15-4 this past season, falling to Salisbury University in the NCAA Division III Colonial Athletic Conference semifinals.
Over 400 Maryland athletes competed in the first tryout games for the teams before being cut down to the Top 44 for each year class and one more time to the Top 22 for each class to compete in the final game against Wavelax, which follows the same process. The athletes’ positions are determined by their high school coach.
During tryout games, athletes are referred to by number to help keep evaluators objective as they choose players. The goal of the evaluation process is to draw the attention of the top college coaches in the country, which it does. Many college coaches also attend the Top 44 games.
Schmidt scored from 8 yards out with a right-handed underarm shot to open the 2018s game. After Wavelax countered, he tallied again with an attack through defenders left of the crease before flinging in a righthander for a 2-1 lead with 10:58 left in the first quarter.
Quarters were 18 minutes long but with a running clock to keep things moving. Timeouts were limited to quick line changes and to settle attacks.
Wavelax’s 2018s bounced back to create a 3-3 at the end of the first quarter and the teams traded goals for a 7-7 tie with 10:20 left in the third quarter. But Broadneck’s Brian Schwob scored from 10 yards out to make it 8-7 with 7:50 left in the quarter before a Severna Park hat trick to end the quarter. Severna Park’s Dean Draughn flung in a left-hander low inside the far post to make it 9-7. His schoolmate Chase Cope faked a right-handed shot, drove left, and fired in a lefthander for a 10-7 lead, and schoolmate Joshua Coffman made it 11-7 with a righthander from 12 yards out.
Schmidt benefitted from a pass inside and pumped in a low, close-range shot to make it 12-7. Moments later, he scooped a loose ball in the crease and tallied with a quick shot to make it 13-7 with 13:40 to play.
“It’s a good experience, getting to play in front of all of these coaches,” Schmidt said. “Everyone worked the ball good. No one was playing selfish.” He said he’s currently undecided about his college plans.
With 10 talented midfielders on the Freestate 2019s, Tubman’s time was limited but his contributions included solid defense and an assist on a fastbreak for his team’s 13th goal.
“It was a great experience. There was a lot of great talent out here, and it was a fun time to play in front of some good coaches,” Tubman said. He said he’s hoping to attend an NCAA Division I school.
Hall, one of 12 middies on the 2017s, thwarted a fastbreak opportunity by Wavelax in the third quarter. Freestate rallied with three unanswered goals to end the third quarter for 9-7 lead. Wavelax countered to tie the game at 9-9, but Freestate got the game-winner on a goal by South River’s Ryan Walters off an assist from Northern’s Colton Dick with 8:10 to play.
“It’s fun to play with different guys, getting to know some more people,” Hall said. “And playing for your state and playing against another state is pretty cool.”
Hall said he is looking to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. This past season, the Div. III Bears posted a winning season in just their second year, going 10-6 and ending the season tied for fourth place in the NEWMAC.
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Queen Anne’s Alyssa Jackson finished with a .519 batting average and a slugging percentage of .865. She rapped 30 hits and knocked in 20 runs. A shortstop and second baseman, she had a fielding percentage of .985 for the Lions, en route to a spot on the All-Mid-Shore first team.