Richard Mollett is bringing a college all-star lineup to the 26th Vail Lacrosse Shootout. But even the coach doesn't expect his Lax World team to bring home a title.
"We have such strong talent, but it's very young," Mollett said. "We have a really tough draw. We start against Team Michigan, which will be a tough match. If we win we have to play M.A.B. Paints in the next match, and they're the No. 1 seed. To win we want to catch M.A.B. Paints napping."
This year marks the 14th shootout that Mollett has coached for Lax World, but it is the first time he has had no club players. M.A.B. Paints, a team with many club players from the Philadelphia area, and Capital Lacrosse Club, featuring former standouts from the D.C. area, are early favorites in the Elite Division of the tournament that runs from today through July 5.
Lax World's roster features the 1998 NCAA tournament MVP goaltender Corey Popham (Princeton and Gilman) and honorable mention All-American defenseman Todd Maher (North Carolina and Loyola High).
Maryland's David Rose (Boys' Latin) will play long-stick midfield, and the attack will be anchored by two former Boys' Latin teammates, Ian Shure of Virginia and Greg Patchak of Duke. Chase Martin, an honorable All-American at North Carolina and Gilman standout, joins them on the attack.
Included in the mix at midfield are Princeton teammates Lorne Smith and Ryan Mollett, who were high school rivals at Gilman and Boys' Latin, respectively; Aaron Vercollone of Virginia and Boys Latin; and Harvard's Lawson DeVries, a Gilman alum.
"It will be a great opportunity for them to compete at a very high level," said Mollett, who has won six Shootout championships in the last 13 years. The Shootout "will give players the experience that they need," Mollett said.
Team Trojan, consisting of many former Anne Arundel County players, has several club players. "I think we are a dark-horse contender one of just six teams that could win it all," said coach Jamie McNealy of St. Mary's High.
One division that lacks Baltimore players is high school boys. Media director Matt Peterson said Baltimore high school boys teams were kept out of the tournament because "they'd squash teams from Florida, Texas and Minnesota."
Baltimore area high school girls will be allowed to play, however, and many will play on Lax World. Among the players: Caroline Cox and Katie Corbin (Garrison Forest) on attack; Suzanne Eyler (North Harford High School) and Ashley Froman (Loch Raven) at midfield. Backing them up will be ex-John Carroll High School goaltender Brooke Barrett, who will play at Boston University.
In a stark contrast to the Lax World of the Elite Division, this team is experienced and favored.
"We should be very competitive," said assistant coach Chris Robinson, who also warned not to rule out Team Trojan's entry in the division. "They will be very good. We have to play them first so we need to ready."
When: Today-next Sunday
Where: Vail and Beaver Creek, Colo.
Teams: 72 men's and women's teams from all over the United States in five divisions
Divisions: Elite, men's masters, men's supermasters, high school boys and girls, junior varsity boys and girls
Who: Dozens of former local players from Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington areas
Format: Single-elimination tournament, with loser's bracket
Pub Date: 6/28/98