TOWSON, Md. — Virginia-bound midfielder Ryan Conrad took home MVP honors in the South team’s 25-17 win against the North in the Under Armour All-America lacrosse game Friday night at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Loyola-Blakefield (Timonium, Md.) star tallied three goals and three assists, picked up five ground balls and won six of the 11 faceoffs he took.
Twice when the South trailed by three in the first half, Conrad found the back of the net to draw his side within two. The South found itself in a four-goal deficit at the half, but came out guns blazing in the next 15 minutes. Conrad recorded all three of his assists in a third quarter that saw the South outscore the North, 9-0.
“Our coach actually kind of got into us (at halftime), to be honest,” Conrad said. “He was saying we were messing around, we should get serious. … I think it lit a fire.”
It was the second-highest scoring total for a single quarter in the game’s 10-year history and gave Conrad’s side a comfortable lead it wouldn’t come close to relinquishing.
He scored once more in the fourth, and his hat trick contributed to the second-highest goal total for a team in event history.
“Just shooting,” Conrad said simply of what worked for him. “I’ve been working with a shooting coach…and it’s really helped my game a lot.”
Trickery and fanfare reign supreme
Ryder Garnsey of Brewster Academy in New Hampshire found himself one-on-one with the goalie just minutes into the game. Instead of a fake or two and a finish, the Notre Dame-bound attack stutter-stepped, juked and fired a one-handed, between-the-legs shot that was saved. Coaches on both sidelines laughed and it set the tone for a seemingly common trend of trickery and elaborate celebrations on Friday night.
After the North’s Hugh Crance (Corona Del Mar in California) scored in the first quarter, he swept the turf in a hockey-style celebration. Then after Henry Grass (Bronxville, N.Y.) put one home, a nearby teammate struck the Usain Bolt point to the sky.
Some of the fanfare wasn’t as fruitful, though. The South’s Patrick Spencer (Boys’ Latin in Maryland) tossed a between-the-legs cross-field pass that sailed away. IMG Academy defender Marc-Antoine Pion took two stutter-steps before sending a behind-the-backer wide right. And Dylan Johnson, a defender from Cherry Creek in Colorado, barreled downfield before his behind-the-back attempt had the same outcome.
“We practiced that yesterday in practice,” joked South attack Nathan Solomon (Centennial in Georgia). “A couple didn’t work, but it’s pretty hard to. But trickery, yeah, we love the trickery.”
After scoring one of his three goals on a jumping left-handed rip, Solomon got his shoe shined by a teammate.
“We got to do celebrations,” he said. “We threw a little WWE in there, cellies are awesome.”
And though they were briefly rehearsed in the locker room beforehand, they were executed to perfection in a game the South was able to let loose in as it pulled away.