ESPNHS continues its weekly feature, Around the Crease, which takes a look at players, teams and high school lacrosse news from around the country.
Helping the sport grow
Junior Adam Higginbotham is a first-year varsity player on the POWERADE FAB 50 No. 21 West Genesee (Camillus, N.Y.) team whose five goals and four assists are a reflection of the playing time he's received as second midfielder.
But off the field is where Higginbotham's contributions have been priceless.
"My son had tons of sticks and equipment in our garage and I challenged him to find a lacrosse friend and for them to create a program where they could donate their equipment to some place they don't have lacrosse yet or where they are beginning programs," said Adam’s mother Tracy Higginbotham. "We searched Google and found the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association and Denver City Lax. Denver City helps a lot of inner city and rural kids pick up the game of lacrosse and obviously the equipment can be expensive."
Adam recruited teammate Ted Glesener, a junior midfielder with 23 goals and nine assists, who in turn approached their collective Wildcat teammates and were able to collect 650 pieces of equipment in about two hours on April 22.
"We promoted it during games and it was a really great effort by the community. Cascade Lacrosse here in Syracuse (N.Y.) paid for the shipping. Teddy's parents stored it. We called the two teams and created two groups of packages. We split it between the two teams and shipped it out on May 2," Tracy Higginbotham said.
At a cost of about a $1,000, Cascade Lacrosse sent 19 boxes to Iowa and 14 to Denver on May 2.
Third time’s the charm for Palo Verde
After being shelled twice by Henderson (Las Vegas) during the regular season, the Palo Verde (Las Vegas) boys’ lacrosse team and junior defender Noah Wolthausen got a third shot at victory in the game that mattered most.
"In our previous games they got a lot of goals by running by our midfielders," said Wolthausen. "They caused us to slide and then they would hit the crease for an open dunk or one of their attackmen would have good outside shooting. But coach [Gary] Campo came up with a great game plan [for the championship game]."
Thanks to a defensive scheme executed by Wolthausen and company, the Panthers pulled out a 10-7 victory over Henderson on May 19 to earn the program's second-straight Nevada state championship.
Over the first two games, Henderson’s Quin Eissler scored a combined eight goals while his brother Kieran Eissler scored four. Jacob Sigler had five goals and eight assists and Conor Morgan had five goals.
But Campo devised a strategy for the championship game.
"In locking off Kieran Eissler and their X-man, Jacob Sigler, we decided to put the ball in the hands of their four offensive players," said Campo. "They're usually just finishers, but we wanted them to carry the ball, essentially taking away their best two ball-handlers."
Led by Wolthausen and juniors Joel Perrigo and Brad Ebert along with sophomores Riley Christiansen and Jeremy Huber, the defensive rotation held Sigler to two goals, Quin Eissler to one and held Kieran Eissler to just an assist. Palo Verde junior goalie Remington Ickes record eight saves in the win.
Huber ended the year with 67 ground balls, six goals and three assists followed by Wolthausen with 34 ground balls and Christiansen and Ebert with 26 each.
The Panthers are primed for another run in 2013.
The leading scorers were junior Alec Grant (38 goals, 13 assists), sophomore Isaac Young (42, eight), senior midfielders Austin Collins (32, seven) and Mike Vautrin (24, four) and junior attackman Cameron Parks (18, four).
Freshman Carson McCann (13, three) and sophomore Powell Naylor (13, two) in addition to junior Cole Bryan (eight, six) also contributed.
Mr. & Ms. Lacrosse
Senior goalie Allie Morse of Park Cottage Grove (Cottage Grove, Minn.) was named as a finalist for Ms. Goalie 2012.
Committed to Division I Providence College, Morse has recorded 145 saves and a .587 save percentage through 12 games. Morse is also among 10 semifinalists for the 2012 Let’s Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year Award, presented to Minnesota's top senior girls high school hockey goaltender. The Blake School (Minneapolis) goalie Bailey Dunning is the other finalist for Ms. Goalie.
In addition to Ms. Goalie, the Minnesota Minute Men will award winners for the third annual Mr. & Ms. Lacrosse and Mr. Goalie.
Finalists for Mr. Lacrosse are: Matt Blaeser, Champlin Park (Brooklyn Park, Minn.); Ryan Brown, Mahtomedi (Minn.); Simon Gondeck, Benilde-St. Margaret’s (St. Louis Park, Minn.); Alex Guyette, Holy Angels (Richfield, Minn.); Jake Heppner, Eastview (Apple Valley, Minn.); Teddy O’Reilly, Minnetonka (Minn.); and Matt Weller, Rosemount (Minn.).
Finalists for Ms. Lacrosse: Meghan Bauer, The Blake School; Christine Easton, Eden Prairie (Minn.); Simone Haugen, Eagan (Minn.); Chloe Kinsel, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.); Hannah Segar, Apple Valley (Minn.); Taylor Smith, Visitation-Saint Paul Academy (St. Paul, Minn.); and Kara Wendell, Champlin Park.
Finalists for Mr. Goalie are Thomas Gilligan of Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Calder Sutton from The Blake School.
The winner will be announced June 3 at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in Saint Paul, Minn. The Mr. & Ms. Lacrosse awards are given to two outstanding senior high school lacrosse players in Minnesota and are selected by a panel of Minnesota lacrosse community members.