This week’s Around the Crease weekly notebook highlights junior Nick Cooper’s hot start, Bullis’ Nicky Petkevich’s big game, Marcellus’ junior goal Dan Cusick’s hot streak along with taking a look at Gowanda Central (N.Y.) and Corona Del Mar’s face off game.While LaxRecords.com was started as a place to house the history of boys’ high school lacrosse, there are a lot of performances that do not make the lists. But those performances deserved to be highlighted.
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Each Monday, I’ll highlight players, teams, coaches and games that caught my attention.
What’s In A Name
Every now and then I come across a school name that just makes me curious. Last week, it was Gowanda Central (Gowanda, N.Y.). Maybe it was the way it seemed to roll off my tongue when I said it (albeit I could be mispronouncing it), but it sent me down a rabbit hole.
Here’s a few things I learned while travelling through the looking-glass known as Google.
Head Coach Ray Logan lettered in wrestling at Gowanda. The lacrosse program started in the 1990s and Logan has been there since the beginning.
Zed Williams’ alma mater, Silver Creek (N.Y.) merged with Gowanda this spring due to low numbers at Silver Creek. Source
The population of Gowanda, New York is 2,709 as of the 2010 census and it borders the Cattaraugus Reservation, which is an Indian reservation with a population of 314 (as of 2010). The majority of the residents are of the Seneca Nation.
There may not be a junior in the country off to a hotter start than Nick Cooper. The Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) attackman has 62 points in five games this season. He posted a season-high 15 points in a 21-1 win over Parsippany Hills (N.J.) on April 12. Cooper has filled both sides of the scoring column, scoring 35 goals and dishing out 27 assists.
Cooper leads in the state in scoring and is tied for first in goals. Cooper plays club lacrosse with Building Blocks Elite.
At The X
Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.) is off to an 11-1 season and the stellar play of Jason Simaan has played a big part. In the Sea Kings 17-6 win over Tesoro (Calif.) on Tuesday, Simaan won 15 of 18 faceoffs to help his team control the offense against a 7-3 Tesoro squad. The future Brown Bear won 10-of-11 at the X back on March 30 against Serra-San Mateo (Calif.). He also won 10-of-11 against a Newport Harbor (Calif.) team on March 25.
Simaan was an Under Armour Underclass tournament participant in addition to attending Jake Reed’s Blue Chip camp and the Adrenaline Challenge.
Simaan is part of a trio of Sea Kings players that have dominated the X this season. Matt Saucedo and Nick Puglia have consistently won around 80 percent of the team’s faceoffs this season.
Between The Pipes
Marcellus (N.Y.) junior Dan Cusick posted his third-straight game of at least 20 saves on Tuesday. Cusick made 21 saves in a 14-13 win over Skaneateles (N.Y.). His streak started with a 22 save game in a 17-13 loss to Baldwinsville (N.Y.) on March 31. He helped the Mustangs to a 12-11 win over Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) on April 2 with a 20 save game.
As a sophomore last season, Cusick made 232 saves in 17 games, which gave him an average of just around 13.5 saves per game. Through five games this season he is averaging 17 saves per game.
His streak of 20 save games ended against Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) when he made 17 saves in a 10-7 win.
In just two seasons, Cusick has 334 career saves and if he continues the pace he is currently on, will be among the national leaders heading into his senior season. Source
Last week, I highlighted Bullis (Potomac, Md.) junior Alex Trippi, and this week another Bulldog earns a spot in the weekly round. Senior Nicky Petkevich scored six of Bullis’ 11 goals in an 11-7 win over defending IAC champion Landon (Bethesda, Md.).
It wasn’t just another win for the Bulldogs in what is turning into one of the program’s best seasons. The win was just the second time in program history Bullis has defeated Landon. Landon has ended Bullis’ season in each of the last two years, including in the IAC semifinals last season. Bullis has now won 10 straight games to improve to 12-2. Their only losses were a season-opening 11-4 loss to Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) and a 13-9 loss to Canadian power Hill Academy.
Petkevich has 39 goals and 10 assists this season, including three in a win over Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.) and one each against Gonzaga and McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.). He also scored two against Hill Academy.