NLF Fall Weekend Standouts

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The NLF fall slate is in the books.

The best uncommitted 2020s in the country played in Saturday night’s showcase, while Sunday yielded the Farmingdale State fields to the top 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 teams in the country.

It’s impossible to find a better combination of talent and college coaches than the NLF. The Fall Classic/NLF Weekend featured 181 college coaches from 135 colleges.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some of the top 2020s in attendance this weekend, along with a few 2021s and 2022s.

2020 Uncommitted Showcase Standouts 

Luke Blanc, attack, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) / Leading Edge – Highlights
Blanc pocketed four goals in two games, including a hat trick in the opener. He thrives off the ball and doesn’t need much time or room to catch and rip. Blanc has good hands in traffic and can bury with time and room or in tight. He’s got a lot of Canadian in his game, and he’ll be in demand because not many in the 2020 class can score like he can.

Aidan Carroll, attack, Boston College (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – Highlights
Coming off of a 91-point campaign for the state champs, the slippery Carroll was a handful for defensemen to handle, thanks to his quickness and change-of-direction ability. He was able to break down the defense to create scoring chances, and he had a beauty of a jumper from above GLE for a goal.

Cameron Delcristo, midfield, Hopkins (Conn.) / Prime Time – Highlights
Delcristo had one of the best weekends of anyone, and it started in the Showcase. He was able to corral tough ground balls – he had four in each game – and looked a step ahead mentally and athletically. He had the best performance of the night in the second game, going off for five goals on just seven shots and scoring in a variety of ways, including an absolute laser down the alley. Delcristo also played a physical style of defense, including a sequence where he threw his matchup down, and was an asset in the clearing game.

Will Deskey, goalie, Lawrenceville School (N.J.) / Thunder LB3 – Highlights
You have to love Deskey’s demeanor in the cage. He’s unflappable, and he has a habit of coming up with big-time stops. Deskey is vocally in command of the defense, and his clears are almost always on the money. He was good Saturday night and very effective Sunday.

Liam Nestor, midfield, Phillips Andover (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Nestor does a little bit of everything for his team, and he managed to stand out on a night where he didn’t have his best shooting output. How? By being everywhere on the field. He grabbed eight ground balls in two games and had a pair of caused turnovers in the opener, thanks to a hard-nosed brand of defense. He’s comfortable shooting with either hand and has great core strength, which allows him to not get outmuscled by bigger opponents.

Kyle Playsted, attack, Trinity Pawling (N.Y.) / Prime Time
A big-time finisher who’s at home from eight yards and in, Playsted had a hat trick in the opener, and followed it up with two goals and two assists in the second game. Like the aforementioned Luke Blanc, Playsted plays like a Canadian, and he has soft hands and shoots the ball well, and he looks like he’s played some box lacrosse before.

MP Thomas, FO/M, Roswell (Ga.) / Thunder LB3 – Highlights
Thomas’ motor just never stops going, and it must be exhausting to go against him time and time again. He brings an element of toughness to the faceoff X, along with a good stick, and he made good decisions with the ball.

Jayson Tingue, goalie, Bay Shore (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush – Highlights
Quick as a cat and one of the most vocal goalies in the class, Tingue managed to stop double-digit shots in both games, which isn’t an easy task in a showcase. He adjusted quickly to a new defense and had the defense in the right place. He had a particularly impressive cross-crease on a seemingly gimme goal, and his quick hands help him take away high shots despite his shorter stature.

Logan Tucker, LSM, Mill Creek (Ga.) / Thunder LB3 – Highlights
Tucker jumped off the page right away when he snagged an impressive ground ball in traffic early, and he never relented. He had four ground balls in the opener, but he was at his best in the clearing game, and he covered a ton of ground defensively. Tucker can flip his hips and run with just about anyone, and he was physical and effectively pushed opponents to bad shooting spots.

Honorable Mention

Andrew DeGennaro, FO/M, Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) / Igloo – Highlights
Tommy Dolciotto, midfield, Syosset (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush
Conner Garzone, goalie, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express
Holden Overbeck, attack, Garden City (N.Y.) / LI Express
Bradley Rider, attack, Salisbury School (Conn.) / Eclipse – Highlights
John Schofield, defense, Medfield (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – Highlights
Luke Tomak, attack, Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.) / Eclipse – Highlights

NLF Fall Invitational Standouts

Robbie Booth ’20, defense, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express / Navy – Highlights
What a beast. Kids that are Booth’s size shouldn’t move as well as he does, and he has a very good stick and poise under pressure with the ball in his stick. Defensively, he covered ground well and slid effectively.

Miles Botkiss, midfield, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / West Coast Starz – Highlights
Botkiss did well at Saturday night’s showcase, and he followed it up with a great day. He’s seemingly in on every goal, whether he’s leading transition, scoring, getting an assist or a hockey assist. You don’t need to look very hard to find him: just follow the ball. A true do-it-all threat.

Reid Colwell ’20, LSM, Westfield (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Colwell’s stock continued its steady ascent as he put the finishing touches on a great fall with back-to-back days of strong play. He’s excellent off the ground and rarely needs a second crack at a ground ball, and once he gets going, he has escapability. Defensively, he’s got a mean streak to him and covered very well 1v1.

Monty Cook ’20, midfield, Royal St. George’s (Ont.) / Edge / Cornell – Highlights
Cook does it all for Edge. He’s deadly with the ball in his stick, especially as a feeder from up top, and he loves to dish out contact on the defensive end. The Cornell commit plays with an aggressive, well, edge to his game, and he’s the type of player who’s usually loved by his teammates and maybe not-so-loved by opponents. Offense, defense, transition, whatever, Cook’s got you covered.

Ronan Doherty ’21, LSM/defense, Groton School (Mass.) / Laxachusetts Blue – Highlights
This kid is an absolute unit at LSM, garnering comparisons to LXC ’19 product Will Frisoli (St. Sebastian’s / Duke). That’s lofty, but it works. Big 4 HHH made a halftime adjustment that consisted of, “don’t go at 23,” with good reason. Doherty throws hammers on checks, chases guys out to the parking lot and talks a ton. Also a standout hockey player, there’s no reason to think he won’t be one of the most coveted 2021s next Sept. 1.

Liam Fairback ’20, midfield, Brunswick (Conn.) / LI Express 
Fairback was absolutely obliterating defenders with his change-of-direction and quickness. It was a tall task for defensemen to stay with him 1v1, but he also moved the ball well. In an early game, he scored a pair of quick goals with a lefty sweep and another quick rip, then added a sweet dish to the backside for an assist on an EMO. It’d be surprising to see him stay uncommitted much longer after that performance.

Will Filipovits ’21, midfield, Parkland (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Filipovits initiated the Big 4 offense out of the midfield, and he was routinely able to draw a slide off of his dodge. He’s got a solid first step and got down the alley with authority and unleash a strong on-the-run shot. He’s also capable of getting after ground balls in a scrum and exudes toughness.

Vincent Gandolfo ’20, FO/M, Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) / LI Express – Highlights
Gandolfo had another quietly efficient day at the faceoff X. With Express standout James Ball (Chaminade, N.Y. / Yale) sidelined with an injury, Gandolfo was the man at the X for Express, and he delivered. He’s gotten stronger and has improved his stick, which served him well. He’s not flashy and does a nice job with defensive exits.

Cole Kastner ’20, defense, Menlo (Calif.) / West Coast Starz 
There might not be a more intriguing prospect out there than Kastner. He has Ivy and mid-major basketball offers, but at 6-6 1/2, he’s an incredibly appealing project at defense. His footwork is superb, and once he becomes more comfortable with throwing checks, attackmen will avoid him like the plague. He’s exceptionally rangy and is good off the ground.

Lucas Kopecky ’20, FO/M, Montgomery (N.J.) / Leading Edge 
Kopecky stood out for his toughness and ability to come away with contested ground balls. He’s gotten noticeably bigger and a little more athletic, and it’s made him significantly tougher to go up against. He had a couple of impressive wins to secure a victory over Eclipse.

Sascha Gannon ’20, attack, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts Yellow 
Gannon was filling up the back of the net early and often on Sunday. A massive lefty attackman who doubles as an offensive lineman for Belmont Hill’s New England championship-winning team, Gannon operates as a bull-in-a-china shop attackman with really good hands. It’s hard to slow him down once he gets his feet moving.

Ryan Levy ’20, attack, East Chapel Hill (N.C.) / Team 91 Crush 
The North Carolina native and Team 91 Carolina standout suited up for the Crush this weekend and put on a show. The big-bodied attackman with great bloodlines – his mother is the UNC women’s coach and his father played for Carolina – understands the game at an advanced level. He’s got very good body control and is automatic from 10 yards and in. Levy protects his stick well, has an accurate shot and meshed well with Joey Spallina (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) and Brennan O’Neill (St. Anthony’s, N.Y. / Duke) on the Crush attack line.

Andrew McAdorey ’21, midfield, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush 
Watching McAdorey in the clearing game is an absolute joy. There simply isn’t anyone who can stay with him 1v1 in the open field, and he’s got a built-in turbo button that lets him jet by guys. If the goalie makes the save, it’s not uncommon to see Crush run “punt return middle” with McAdorey leaving piles of broken ankles behind. McAdorey showed good vision with the ball in his stick, and he has a solid, accurate shot.

Jack McCarthy ’20, defense, Connetquot (N.Y.) / Team 91 Orange – Highlights
McCarthy was a general, all-around pest for attackmen all day. He’s a big body at 6-1, 200 pounds, and he uses that strength to push guys around. McCarthy throws solid, accurate checks on gloves, and if he gets the ball, he can move in the open field.

Chris Nichols ’20, midfield, Delbarton (N.J.) / Leading Edge 
Nichols absolutely shines as a short-stick defensive midfielder. He’s what you want a D-mid to be, from the mindset to securing ground balls and dusting the ride in transition. He made some impressive decisions under pressure, too.

Bennett Ong ’20, goalie, New Canaan (Conn.) / Eclipse 
Ong put the finishing touches on an excellent fall with his performance this weekend. He seemingly never gets rattled and makes crisp, accurate passes in the clearing game. Injured all of last year, he’s rounded back into form as an excellent goalie, and he saw the ball well and made saves look routine.

Nick Pecora ’20, goalie, Deerfield Academy (Mass.) / Prime Time – Highlights
Starting as a sophomore for Deerfield paid big dividends for Pecora, and he just brings an aura of calmness to the Prime Time cage. He’s always barking out commands to put his defense in the right spot, and he’s got slick feet and quick hands to boot.

Adrian Rutkowski ’20, midfield, Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) / Team 91 Orange 
Rutkowski had himself a day for 91 Orange, putting together multi-goal efforts throughout. He’s a strong dodger from up top and off the wing, and he buried the OT winner against Express North and added a hat trick against Laxachusetts Yellow. Rutkowski constantly beat his matchup and can shoot with either hand.

Joey Spallina ’22, attack, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush 
The hype around Spallina is real for a reason. He can beat you in a ton of ways, but there was one play that stood out above the rest for his pure unselfishness. Crush caused a turnover on the ride, and Spallina took a pass with a clear opportunity at an easy goal if he just took two steps and shot it. Instead, he spied an open midfielder on the other side, zipped it over for an easy dunk into the empty net. His stick work is ludicrous for a ’22, and the righty also had an impressive lefty rip from above GLE that showed off more versatility in his game.

Ajax Zappitello, defense, Sunset (Calif.) / West Coast Starz / Maryland – Highlights
Zappitello was a force on defense, but he also found the time to score seven goals between Saturday’s Fall Classic and Sunday’s NLF event. He’s a little undersized, but he’s like glue in coverage and has an absurdly good stick. He quickly sparks transition. He played LSM out of necessity on Sunday and looked right at home, adding to his versatility.

Honorable Mention

Ryan Aljader ’20, goalie, Chaminade (N.Y.) / Team 91 Orange
Ricky Amorim ’20, defense, Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH / Providence – Highlights
Brian Barlotta ’20, LSM, Governor’s Academy (Mass.) / NH Tomahawks / Fairfield – Highlights
Tim Beach ’20, goalie, Erie (Colo.) / Denver Elite / Delaware – Highlights
Ellison Burt-Murray ’20, midfield, McCallie (Tenn.) / Thunder LB3 / Rutgers (Highlights)
Sean Cameron ’20, midfield, Bishop Guertin (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks / Harvard – Highlights
Michael Chabra ’20, midfield, Austin Prep (Mass.) / Laxachusetts Black / Providence – Highlights
Zack Conlan ’20, midfield, Trinity Pawling (N.Y.) / Eclipse
Blake Epstein ’20, attack, Fairfield Warde (Conn.) / Express North – Highlights
Brock Haley ’20, attack, Brooklin (Ont.) / Edge / Vermont – Highlights
Will Hoyt ’21, midfield, Tabor (Mass.) / Laxachusetts Red – Highlights
Jaden Jernigan ’20, LSM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / LI Express / Navy
Michael Lazzaro ’21, attack, Franklin (Mass.) / Laxachusetts Blue – Highlights
Daniel LePino ’20, goalie, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush
Gibson Linnehan ’21, LSM/D, Princeton Day School (N.J.) / Leading Edge – Highlights
Dane Reda ’20, midfield, Mattituck (N.Y.) / Team 91 Crush
Trey Sacus ’21, attack, Delbarton (N.J.) / Team 91 Blaze – Highlights
Jake Sposita ’20, midfield, Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) / True National / Colgate (Highlights)

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