07/02/2019 10:15 AM
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The first Garden State Shootout is in the books.
Held at St. Joseph Metuchen's top-of-the-line facilities, the first-year event welcomed teams from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, with tightly-contested battles being the norm in most games. CLICK HERE for a photo gallery from the Garden State Shootout.
Garden State Shootout Champions
2020/21: Team 91 New Jersey South
2022: Chosen LC
2023: Leading Edge Elite
2024: Leading Edge Elite
2027: GT Lacrosse
Check out some of the players who stood out the most at the Garden State Shootout.
Connor Ard, midfield/attack, Middletown South (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Ard was a big reason why Team 91 New Jersey South came out with the 2020/21 championship, particularly in the title game, where he shined with a hat trick. He unleashed a lefty rope from the wing for his first goal, caught and dunked a pass on the crease and then beat his man with speed to score from just above GLE. A tall athlete with room to put on size, Ard has the potential to be a gamebreaker.
Vaughn Meehan, faceoff midfield, Howell (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Meehan was outstanding at the dot all weekend, but he was particularly good after he won the faceoff. He took wins to the rack for a pair of goals in both the semifinals and final, dealing the finishing touches on wins for Team 91. A big lefty, he particularly likes the high-to-high shot, twice burying it under the bar in the playoffs. Meehan did a nice job of constantly winning forward, and he can also win it back to himself or to his wings. You could make a great case that he'd be the theoretical tournament MVP.
Kurt Newman, defense, Brick (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Watch Team 91 play defense for a possession or two and it becomes evident that Newman is a leader on the back end. A ground ball machine, he does a very good job of putting himself and his teammates in the right position, and he has an advanced understanding of off-ball defense. He's a solid 1v1 cover guy, too, and his motor is always running.
Jaylaan Taylor, defense, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West
It seemed like Taylor was EVERYWHERE, constantly buzzing around the ball and making plays off the ground. He sometimes goosed it around too much instead of picking it up in one shot, but that was a minor issue as he showed that he could repeatedly corral ground balls and start transition the other away. His high motor and good foot speed allowed him to get involved in seemingly every play, and he didn't back down from anyone.
2020 Honorable Mention
Trevor Foss, midfield, Toms River North (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Cade Johnson, attack, Southern (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Cole Messick, faceoff midfield, Ss. Peter and Paul (Md.) / Hardshells
Messick was a force at the X all weekend long for the Hardshells, winning more than 80 percent of his draws and showing that he's a legitimate scoring threat after the win. He showed a good array of moves and counters, losing one early and quickly figuring out what his opponent was doing in order to counter it. He has very quick hands, and he does a good job of protecting his stick when he has the ball. He popped what must have been a half-dozen goals for the Hardshells, and his tenacity and competitiveness make him a well-rounded faceoff man.
Darren Romaine, midfield, Brick (N.J.) / Team 91 NJ South
A superb athlete with good size, Romaine has the ability to get open against almost any defender and he can shoot accurately with either hand. He's got a good lacrosse IQ and a penchant for picking up on small details, like knowing exactly where to attack on a defender, and he had a couple of occasions where he simply beat his man down the alley and let it rip. He's excellent in the two-man game, particularly on slips, where he can really threaten a defense.
Nick Thorne, attack, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Team 91 NJ West
Thorne's quick feet and shiftiness stand out right away, but what you really love to see is his willingness to go to high-traffic areas to create scoring chances. He's far from the biggest attackman, but he didn't back down from a chance to go to the rack if it meant even getting a decent scoring chance. He was productive for Team 91 because of it, and he could consistently beat his man at X.
2021 Honorable Mention
John Arrington, attack, Worcester Prep (Md.) / Hardshells
Tyler Colacichi, defense, Middletown South (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey South
Jack Bill '23, midfield, Delaware Valley (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West
Playing up a year doesn't seem to faze Bill too much. He's already about 6-1 or so, and he's a skilled athlete who can also take faceoffs if need be. He's at his best as a dodging midfielder, though, where he can place hard, accurate shots past goalies, particularly on the run. He racked up a bunch of goals for the '22 finalists.
Logan Byers, defense, Cheltenham (Pa.) / Chosen
Part of a defensive group that had no subs for the '22 champions, Byers more than held his own in his first tournament transitioning from LSM to close defense. He has worked tremendously hard at improving his 1v1 defense for the switch to close, and his speed is a major asset for him, allowing him to cover anyone who tries to beat him with speed.
Ryan Matour, defense, Methacton (Pa.) / Chosen
A cerebral defender who does a great job on slides, Matour was an asset in the clearing game and also has a good stick. He got some time at varsity as an LSM and close defender, and he's got the potential to emerge as a shutdown guy as his game grows.
Gino Nave, LSM, Perkiomen Valley (Pa.) / Chosen
Nave has incredible hand-eye coordination and uses it to be a major takeaway threat from his pole spot. He is extremely good at picking off and knocking down passes, particularly in man-down and transition situations, and he's a vacuum on ground balls. He seems like he's the one constantly putting people in the right position and he was terrific all weekend long for the '22 champs.
Corbin Quintero, LSM, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West
Quintero is a relative newcomer to the LSM position. He plays short-stick defensive midfielder in high school, and he was a natural when he first picked up a pole. Quintero has the ability to gobble up ground balls and is outstanding in the clearing game, and he even had a hand in setting up a few goals. He also showed that he's got the footwork to match up with attackmen down low, giving him lots of tools to work with.
Nolan Shearer, attack, James M. Bennett (Md.) / Hardshells - Highlights
Shearer played up with the '21 Hardshells and fit right in, emerging as their most consistent scoring threat. A starter at defensive end on the varsity football team as a freshman in addition to starting at attack in the spring, Shearer is a big body with quick feet who can explode and turn the corner with regularity. He's got the size and physicality to beat up smaller defenders and the quickness and elusiveness to run by a bigger matchup. He'll occasionally come out of the box, too, where he can isolate on a short-stick. Shearer showcased some shooting range on a couple of occasions, but also the hands in tight to score on the crease.
Matt Weber, defense, Methacton (Pa.) / Chosen
Weber was part of a stingy Chosen defensive group and stood out because of his work in transition and on ground balls. He's adventurous, too, which he showed by getting into the mix offensively and recording a handful of shots. Weber, who saw some varsity time at LSM as a freshman, throws good takeaway checks and is constantly hustling.
2022 Honorable Mention
Brady Borkowski, faceoff midfield, Methacton (Pa.) / Chosen
Ryan Handel, goalie, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West '21
Dylan Johnson, attack, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West
Evan Willey, defense, Phillipsburg (N.J.) / Team 91 New Jersey West