(Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics)
Some of the best lacrosse teams and players will descend upon Sparks, Md. this weekend for the Fall Classic held at US Lacrosse HQ. The event will feature: Team Canada, Team USA, and Virginia.
Canada and USA will go head-to-head on Friday at 8PM. On Saturday, Virginia will face USA at 2PM and Canada at 4:30PM.
Here are some things to watch for this weekend at the Fall Lacrosse Classic.
The Cornell Connection
Former teammates at Cornell and current teammates for the Brampton Excelsiors in the MSL. Jeff Teat and Clarke Petterson may have the best chemistry in all of lacrosse. The two have a connection like no other and when they get going it is nothing but fun to watch. Also, their former Cornell teammate Jonathan Donville will be running midfield for Canada, as well.
Last year at Cornell, Teat and Petterson combined for 132 points with Teat racking up 34 goals and 36 assists while Petterson tallied 44 goals and 18 assists. Donville had tallied 34 points (20G,14A). Playing on the field together once again, that connection and chemistry should be working its magic once again, and many expect to see the “Cornell Connection” alive and well; producing goals as usual.
Canada has a deadly duo at the long stick midfielder position with Eli Salama and Graeme Hossack both on the roster this weekend. Both guys are expected to make a big impact and pick right back up where they left off with their respective pro teams.
With the Dallas Rattlers in the MLL this summer, Salama found his niche as a LSM that can get out in transition and be a serious threat on the defensive end, as well. Salama scored five goals, including four two-pointers.
Hossack- an Ontario native- hasn’t played field since his last year’s world championships in Israel, but has played a great deal of box lacrosse in the NLL for the Rochester Knighthawks- now Halifax Thunderbirds- and the Victoria Shamrocks in the WLA. Hossack is a dynamic player and has earned the respect as one of the greatest “grinders” in today’s game.
Archers LC teammates and assistant coaches at Utah, Marcus Holman and Will Manny bring a similar connection as Teat and Petterson to the USA side. Holman and Manny helped lead the Archers LC’s offense this past season and the chemistry that had built between the two was clear right from the start.
While Manny is seen as more of an initiator and Holman is seen as a catch and shoot guy, they are both equally as dangerous and can burn defenses with their passing and shooting game. This summer with Archers LC in the PLL, the dynamite duo combined for 68 points with Holman tallying 23 goals and 7 assists while Manny had 22 goals and 7 assists.
The Chaos Crazies
No team built up as much excitement and played with as much visible passion as the Chaos LC this summer in the PLL. Defenseman Jarrod Neumann and SSDM Mark Glicini jumped to the forefront of attention on Chaos’ roster with the way play and carried themselves on the field.
Glicini is a literal mad man and jumped in front of many shots, created transition opportunities in the middle of the field, and was just an all-around grinder and great teammate. Neumann was able to dominate on both ends of the field, playing lockdown defense and being able to push in transition, and pull up for long-range two-pointers, as well.
The amount passion and excitement that Neumann and Glicini bring to the game is unbelievable and we should see something similar from both guys this weekend.
Hustle Plays In Between The Boxes
It is not only Virginia’s scoring ability and fast paced play that makes the Cavaliers offense so dangerous. The attack and get out and ride, stop clears and create wide open scoring opportunities. With Jared Conners leading the way on the defensive end, the Cavaliers defense plays with the same mentality in between the boxes, as well.
Virginia may have a little different personnel this season, but return plenty of talent from last year’s national championship squad. That hustle should be on display this weekend, even if their competition is much different that what they usually see during the regular season.
Jared Conners vs Canada/USA Offense
As the leader and “X-Factor” to this Virginia offense, LSM/D Jared Conners is the Cavaliers leader on the defensive end of the field. He makes an impact playing close defense, pushing transition, and is also used on the wings at times.
Up against some of the best offensive players in the world, including many mainstays in the pro game, this will be a tough test for Conners to see where he is against the next level and if this Virginia defense as a whole can play on that level, as well. Conners is expected to make a big impact again this and playing against guys offenses that feature players such as Myles Jones, Marcus Holman, Clarke Petterson, and Jeff Teat can do nothing but help him improve.