Southeast Senior Showcase Standouts

Southeast Senior Showcase Standouts

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The best seniors in the Southeast were on display last weekend at the Southeast Senior Showcase.

Forty-six players made up the rosters for the second year event, designed to highlight and celebrate the top seniors in one of the fastest-emerging areas in the lacrosse world. Of the 46 players, 40 of them have made commitments to play college lacrosse at some level.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some of the top players from the event.

Southeast Senior Showcase Standouts

Josh Arneson, defense, Holly Springs (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina / Marist 

The game’s defensive MVP, Arneson looks like he might be a steal for Marist, where his brother plays. While he doesn’t have prototypical size, he goes all out, all the time, and isn’t afraid to mix it up physically. He had one clear where he tried to run through every human being in the state of North Carolina and was nearly successful in doing that. Arneson plays with a chip on his shoulder, covers well and moved his feet well throughout.

“It was fun. It was very high-paced. … It’s a good way to end it and then get after it in college,” Arneson said. ”

Jarrett Huff, attack, Holly Springs (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina / Lenoir-Rhyne 

A tall, crafty lefty, Huff made his presence felt early and often for the Black team. He had a pair of nearly identical assists on nifty give-and-gos with Holly Springs and Team 91 Carolina teammate Wade Watson.

“That’s my boy. We’ve been playing since U11 when I joined the Carolina Cannons at first,” Huff said. “We just got it in the back of our heads together. That’s what we do and it happens to work out most of the time.”

Those came on the heels of setting up a Ryan Kazella low-to-high bomb for the game’s first goal. Mentally, Huff was a half-step quicker than everyone else, seeing plays unfold before they even happened. He showed that he can score, too, including a gorgeous overhand rip up the hash, among others.

“It was a cool experience. The locker room experience, meeting everybody, it was a fun day for sure,” Huff said. “Being out here, being surrounded by these talented boys, brought out the best in me for sure. I felt confident out here, buzzing around with them and moving it.

George Kalos, faceoff, Hough (N.C.) / Team 91 Charlotte / North Carolina 

It was a loaded field of standout faceoff midfielders, but the early verbal to the in-state Tar Heels that separated himself from the pack. Kalos terrorized North Carolina by winning 88 percent of faceoffs en route to setting state records for single-season and career faceoff wins. Kalos showed off good hand speed, competed hard on ground balls and displayed a wealth of exits and counters. He also effectively used his wings throughout and even tossed in a goal for good measure.

Ryan Kazella, attack / midfield, Weddington (N.C.) / Team 91 Charlotte / York 

The Division III powerhouse Spartans got a good one in Kazella. He helped Weddington reach the state title game this year and scored a hat trick in that game, nearly willing his team to a championship. Kazella is undersized but has a very high compete level, can beat you from a number of spots on the field and uses his low-to-the-ground stature to contort in and out of tight spaces. He scored on a low-to-high rip early on, added a top-side worm burner and a vicious short–side question-mark. Not bad!

Kazella also showed that he’s deadly as a passer, hitting guys in stride and setting up the likes of Landon Parker (Holly Springs / Team 91 Carolina / Lenoir-Rhyne) and Matthew Lutzel (Southlake Christian / Team 91 Charlotte / High Point) for goals.

“It was a ton of fun and a really good event,” Kazella said. “I was kind of sad because we just lost the state championship (last Saturday) by a goal, so I was a little sad coming into it. Coming into it, I’ve played with a lot of these kids and I was able to meet a lot of kids from the other side of the state, so I thought it was a first-class event and I had a lot of fun.”

Drew Wheeler, goalie, Fuquay-Varina (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina / Barton

The game’s specialist MVP after posting 12 saves in the second half, Wheeler put on a show and took a handful of surefire goals off the board. Wheeler collected 4A East first-team All-State honors for the second consecutive year and it wasn’t hard to see why Sunday. A tall goalie who was efficient in his movements, he showed quick hands and was unflappable on in tight opportunities.

“The game was awesome. Even on the sideline, it was a lot of fun,” Wheeler said. “Seeing all of these top-tier players, all of us are going somewhere to play. It’s just an awesome experience here at the Southeast Showcase. I was surprised to get MVP. All I did was come out and play like I usually play, so obviously it got me something, so that was awesome.”