LaxRecords.com continues with its Looking Ahead series with its North Carolina 2017 Boys’ Lacrosse Preview. This is an early look at just some of the teams expected to compete for section championships and a few of the underclassmen who can make it a special season.
Teams to Watch
This list is just some of the teams that could compete for a state championship in 2017. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just an early preview of some of the usual suspects.
Apex (North Carolina), 17-2
The Cougars were one of the best teams in the state last season, finishing 17-2. They were led by a talented group of seniors, including Jack Hayden who finished his career with 254 points on 150 goals and 104 assists. The future bodes well for Apex with a pair of freshman finishing just behind their top three scorers last season. Christian Cechini, a Penn State commit, was second on the team in scoring. Preston Lalicker was fourth on the team with 26 goals and finished the year with 35 points.
Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, North Carolina), Class 4A champion
Cardinal Gibbons finished the year on a 12-game winning streak and their third consecutive championship. They won the Class 3A/2A/1A championship in each of the previous two seasons and won Class 4A last year. Head coach Alex Buckley had a balanced team and even with the losses of two senior-leading scorers, boasts a talented lineup in 2017. Rising junior Adam Barry returns after scoring more than 30 goals. Rising senior Anthony Digirolamo had more than 30 points and rising junior Zach Niemi scored more than 20 goals. Of defense, 2018 Notre Dame commit Jack Biestek, along with News & Observer All-Metro First Team selection Chris Wozencroft (2018) returns.
Charlotte Country Day School (Charlotte, North Carolina), 18-5, NCISAA semifinalist
The Buccaneers lose a senior-laden team from last year, including three NCISAA First Team All-State selections, but head coach Brad Touma is the state’s all-time wins leader and should have his team ready to compete in 2017. Rising senior defenseman Luca Katz returns after earning NCISAA First Team All-State honors last season.
Christ School (Arden, North Carolina), 14-4, NCISAA runner-up
The Greenies could be on the verge of a championship run in 2017. Only three seniors graduated off the team that reached the NCISAA title game last year. They return three players who earned NCISAA First Team All-State honors: Will Iorio, Riley Smith and Hunter Vines. Smith is already the program’s all-time leading scorer and could surpass 300 career points this season.
Hoggard (Wilmington, North Carolina), 18-3, Class 4A state semifinalist
The Vikings are coming off an 18-3 season, which included a 12-0 conference record. Hoggard reached the Class 4A Final Four where they fell to eventual state champion Cardinal Gibbons. Head coach Steve Treman has his top three scorers returning, including rising senior Gunner Philipp who led the team with 95 points and 65 goals. Rising junior Donovan Jones also returns after leading the team with 40 assists.
Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, North Carolina), 14-7, Class 1A/2A/3A state champion
2016 was an up and down season for the Mavericks, but one that ended on an up note. Marvin Ridge was 8-7 at one point, but won their final six games to win the state championship. The late-season surge could continue in 2017 with three of their top five scorers returning, including championship MVP, Cameron Renner. Sophomore Kyle Atlas returns after scoring 27 goals and 20 assists last year. Jeff Palombella returns after scoring 16 goals.
Middle Creek (Apex, North Carolina), 16-4
The Mustangs boast possibly the best 2018 player in the state in rising junior Owen Caputo. The Duke commit was one of just three sophomores to earn NCHSAA All-State first team honors last season and posted a 116 point season. Also returning in 2017 is All-State Honorable Mention selection, Jared Medwar at attack and rising junior A.J. King at LSM. Rising sophomore midfielder, Jake Caputo earned All-East Region Honorable Mention honors after his freshman year.
Northwest Guilford (Greensboro, North Carolina), 23-1, Class 4A semifinalist
The Vikings were rolling for almost the entire year, winning 23 straight before falling in the state semifinals, 13-11 to Lake Norman (Mooresville, North Carolina). Rising junior Sean Goldsmith returns to lead the attack unit after earning NCHSAA First Team All-State honors last year. Also returning are rising junior Payton Leonard at LSM/D who received Third Team All-State honors. Rising senior Seth Byrd at midfield received Honorable Mention All-State honors.
Ravenscroft School (North Carolina), 17-2, NCISAA champion
The Ravens won their first-ever state title with a 9-7 win over Christ School last season. Ravenscroft was a senior-laden team last year with three seniors (Spencer Beller, Troy Jones, Chase Storch) earning NCISAA First Team All-State honors. They return rising junior McCabe Watson and rising sophomore Jake Schneider to the lineup.
Underclassmen to Watch
This is not a recruiting list of top players, instead reflects some of the players who led or were among the team’s top scorers from last season and return in 2017.
Owen Caputo, Middle Creek, M, 2018, Duke
Caputo earned News & Observer All-Metro First Team honors last season after amassing 116 points on 73 goals and 43 assists. He also earned First Team NCHSAA All-State first team honors. He has been an All-Metro selection in each of his two varsity seasons.
Tyler Carpenter, Durham Academy (Durham, N.C.), LSM, 2018, Duke
Carpenter was a NCISAA first team All-State selection in addition to earning, US Lacrosse All-American honors. In addition to his defensive prowess, Carpenter scored 38 points last season.
Christian Cechini, Apex, A, 2019, Penn State
As a freshman on a team that finished the year 17-2, Cechini was fifth on the team with 24 goals. The Penn State commit also had 27 assists, which placed him second on the team. His 51 points were second on the team and makes him the leading returning scorer as a sophomore.
Jack Delligatti, Greensboro Day (Greensboro, North Carolina), A, 2018
Delligatti totaled 120 points, scoring 69 goals and had 33 assists last season. The rising junior improved upon his 54 goals (36 assists) and 90 points as a freshman.
Cole Dinwiddie, Weddington (Matthews, North Carolina), A, 2017, Roanoke College
The rising senior scored 45 goals last season and added 13 assists. For his career, he has 93 points with 77 goals.
Matt Elder, Lake Norman (Mooresville, North Carolina), A/M, 2018, Hofstra
Elder was fifth on the team in scoring last year, totaling 24 goals on a balanced offense. The rising junior stepped it up as a sophomore, more than doubling his freshman year totals and playing in 10 more games.
Hunter Fasanaro, Weddington, A, 2017, Quinnipiac
Fasanaro was a Third Team All-State selection last season. He led the Warriors with 53 goals and also earned Charlotte Observer First Team attackman honors. In three seasons, the Quinnipiac commit has 188 career points on 110 goals and 78 assists.
Caleb Fitch, Southern Alamance (Graham, North Carolina), A, 2018
Fitch led the Patriots in both points (72) and goals (52) last season. The attackman also had 79 ground balls, which was second on the team. In two seasons, Fitch has 93 career points with 68 career goals and 25 assists.
Will Hasinger, Southwest Guilford (High Point, North Carolina), A, 2017
The attackman finished the year with an impressive 87 goals for a team that went 15-7. Heading into his senior year, Hasinger has 122 career points.
Donovan Jones, Hoggard, M, 2018
Jones led the Vikings with 40 assists. The midfielder added 27 goals en route to a First Team Wilmington Star-News All-Area selection. He also earned First Team All-Mideastern Conference honors.
Hunter Lynch, Fuquay-Varina (North Carolina), G, 2017
Lynch did yeoman’s work in goal for the Bengals last season. The rising senior made 257 saves, which placed him third among all known goalies in the state.
Jack Maginnes, Page (Greensboro, North Carolina), A, 2017
Maginnes tied for the state lead with 79 assists last season. The rising senior has 208 career points after more than doubling his totals from his sophomore season.
Michael Meley, Northern Guilford (Greensboro), A, 2017
Meley placed second in the state in points (120) and tied for the lead in assists (79) last year. He has 170 career points. The attack man was chosen by Inside Lacrosse as a standout performer at the 2015 IL Carolina Prospect Day.
Connor Moravec, Southern Alamance, A, 2018
Moravec had a breakout sophomore season, totaling 45 assists. That was up from four assists during his freshman year. He led the team in assists and was second in points.
Gunner Philipp, Hoggard, A, 2017, Army
The Army commit earned the Wilmington Star-News Player of the Year honors last year, leading the Vikings to a Class 4A Final Four appearance. Philipp had 95 points, scoring 65 goals and dishing out 30 assists.
Will Quinn, Bishop McGuinness (Kernersville, North Carolina), G, 2017
Quinn led all known underclass goalies with 262 saves last year. His total was good for second overall in the state. In three seasons, Quinn has 685 career saves, which places him third in the state all-time. With another season like last year, he could become the state’s all-time save leader.
Cameron Renner, Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, North Carolina), A, 2018
Rnner was named the MVP of the Class 1A/2A/3A state championship game after scoring five goals and four assists in the final. For the year, the rising junior had 48 goals and 38 assists. He earned Second Team All-State honors in addition to a Charlotte Observer First Team selection.
Riley Smith, Christ School (North Carolina), A, 2017, High Point
Smith became the Greenies all-time point leader last season with 243. Smith led the team with 101 points on 58 assists and 43 goals last season, earning NCISAA First Team All-State honors.