June 26, 2012

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Getting to Know U.S. Under-19 Attack

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.

Last week we looked at the midfield. Today: Team USA's attack group. Check back to LaxMagazine.com the next two Tuesdays for previews of USA's defense and goaltending.

Team USA's attack unit features the same kind of versatility as its midfield. "They all have a wide array of skills," said assistant coach Tom Duquette, also the head coach at Norfolk (Va.) Academy. "I'm not sure you can necessarily say what role these guys will be cast in: dodgers or feeders or guys who do both or step-down shooters."

If you're looking for experience, look no further than Daniel Eipp. He has already finished two seasons at Harvard and this spring was the Crimson's No. 2 scorer (24 goals, 18 assists). He also played in 16 games as a freshman. In addition to flashing his offensive skill at U19 tryouts, Eipp stood out with his relentless riding.

Matt Kavanagh has Canadian-like tendencies stemming from time spent playing youth hockey (his favorite non-lacrosse athlete is Chicago Blackhawks all-star Patrick Kane). Kavanagh was the go-to players for nationally ranked Chaminade (N.Y.) High before spending a post-graduate year at Hotchkiss School (Conn.). The Notre Dame-bound attackman led the U.S. with six goals and three assists in a 26-4 exhibition win over a group of Texas all-stars in November.

Ohio native Connor Buczek stood out early and throughout U19 team tryouts, and not only for his bright blue St. Xavier High helmet with the white "X" on the side.

"He's a pretty big kid and went to the cage really hard," Duquette said of the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder now at Cornell. "He also impressed the selectors with the intensity he brought to the game." Buczek was Lacrosse Magazine's Midwest Player of the Year as a high school senior and broke the state scoring record with 425 career points.

Kyle Keenan played at Smithtown West (N.Y.) High on Long Island, where he totaled a school-record 125 goals and 163 assists in his career. "He's got a very high lacrosse IQ," Duquette said. Keenan played in 15 games for national semifinalist Duke this spring as a reserve.

Joe Leonard is a Hicksville (N.Y.) High product that was named Nassau County Attackman of the Year in 2011. "He has the total package and pretty good size [6-foot, 215 pounds]," Duquette said. "He had a reputation as a guy who got the goal, but he displayed multiple skills at tryouts."

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 plays a group of New Jersey all-stars in Mountain Lakes, N.J., on Sunday.


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