06/14/2019 10:30 AM
Follow Team 91 on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For more information on the Team 91 Blaze players, email Brian Spallina. Click here for more information on Team 91's 2019-20 evaluation camp on July 29-31.
It's a huge summer for the Class of 2021.
Service academies will be able to reach out to players as soon as July 1, while other schools have to wait until Sept. 1. With that in mind, few teams will be as competitive, particularly from top to bottom, as the Team 91 2021 Blaze team, led by Team 91 founder Brian Spallina, who holds the record for most MLL championships by one player.
"We have a very talented team, but I also really like how hard these guys work," Spallina said. "A lot of them have started to emerge as major contributors for their high school teams, and you can see a difference in a lot of them because of that. I'm excited to see what the guys have in store this summer."
2021 Blaze Summer Schedule
NLF Opening Weekend - Champions
Big 4 Champions League, Pottstown, Pa. - June 15-16
Naptown Challenge, Annapolis, Md. - July 8-10
NLF Club National Championships, Amherst, Mass. - July 19-21
Get to know the squad below.
3 Chris Barry, midfield, East Meadow
Barry thrives for the Blaze as an exceptional defensive midfielder who's dominant in the clearing game, but he's also coming off of a 35-goal, 48-point season for East Meadow. He's an excellent athlete, as evidenced by him also being a running back in football, and that athleticism makes him a major transition threat.
4 Chris Zara, defense, St. Anthony's - Highlights
A smooth cover defenseman, Zara also has toughness and intensity for days, and he also has a knack for creating chaos and turnovers while guarding his man. He's got an exceptional stick, and he exhibits a ton of leadership qualities on the back end.
10 Ryan Baudo, midfield, St. Anthony's
Another excellent between-the-lines midfielder, Baudo has a terrific stick to go with elite athleticism. He does a great job of holding things down defensively and transitioning to offense.
15 Kyle O'Donoghue, midfield, St. John The Baptist - Highlights
O'Donoghue pocketed 18 goals as a sophomore for St. John The Baptist, and he was excellent for the Blaze at the NLF Opening Weekend by doing damage all over the field. He has next-level speed that's hard for defenders to stay with. All he needs is a quick hitch and he's gone, and good luck keeping pace with him in the open field.
16 Matt Keegan, attack, Sachem North
A 25-goal scorer this spring for Sachem North, Keegan is a smooth lefty attackman with great hands and a very unselfish style. He can score in bunches, and he doesn't back down from anyone, routinely heading to high-traffic areas and absorbing contact to make a play.
18 Chris Cappelmann, faceoff midfield/midfield/attack, St. Anthony's - Highlights
Cappelmann destroys any notion that he's a FOGO every time he's on the field. He's trusted enough to get iso calls for him and he's nearly automatic when he takes on middies out of the box. When he has the ball in his stick, he has a bit of a Canadian style to his game, particularly when he slots in at lefty attack. He's also one of the class of 2021's top faceoff men, combining excellent hand speed with an array of moves and a certain tenaciousness to his game, and he won around 70 percent of 100 or so faceoffs on St. Anthony's loaded varsity team this spring.
20 Brandon Ventarola, midfield, Mount Sinai - Highlights
A converted attackman, Ventarola is coming off a breakout year for the Mustangs, where he tallied 35 goals to go with 12 assists. A quarterback-of-the-offense type, he boasts incredible vision, two-handed shooting ability and the requisite tenacity for a midfielder.
21 Danny Caddigan, attack, Smithtown West
In the time it took you to read this, Caddigan ripped home another goal. His 75 goals were tops on all of Long Island, to go along with 12 assists. He's a terrific shooter who stings corners with regularity, but it's his work ethic and commitment to other aspects of his game that separates him.
"He rides like (Team 91 2016 alum and Virginia national champion) Ian Laviano," Spallina said. "He's a blue-collar grinder who sells out every time and he's a lethal wing scorer."
22 Trey Sacus, attack, Delbarton (N.J.) - Highlights
A "little bulldog" with a high-level skillset who can shoot with the best of 'em, Sacus is hard-nosed type of player who shoots well. He saw a little playing time at the New Jersey powerhouse this spring, and with his talent, it won't be long before he makes a bigger impact there. He had a productive opening weekend.
27 Aiden McCaffrey, defense/LSM, Comsewogue
A sound lefty cover defender, McCaffrey is the type of quiet defenseman that won't jump off the page with flashy checks, but gets beat so rarely that his matchup won't show up on the stat sheet after the game.
31 Chris Simonton, attack, Ward Melville - Highlights
Pound-for-pound, Simonton is one of the toughest players on the team. He's at his best inside, catching and finishing everything in sight, and he's constantly moving off ball and is good for multiple goals per game.
33 Mac Rodriguez, faceoff midfield/midfield, Chaminade
Another faceoff man for which the FOGO need not apply, Rodriguez never relents. Ever.
"He's a machine," Spallina said. "He leaves it all on the field. He's exceptional at whatever he puts his mind to."
Rodriguez has great quickness and speed off the faceoff help create offense, and you can usually pencil him in for a goal a game. You can often find Rodriguez taking a wing when Cappelmann is at X, and his versatility is rivaled by few. He's also considered to be one of the elite 2021 faceoff men, thanks in large part to his lightning-fast hands.
35 Tyler Schwarz, LSM, Shoreham-Wading River - Highlights
The starting LSM for the Class C state champs, Schwarz has the rare type of elite skillset for the position.
"He's a freak," Spallina said. "He's got to be the best pole in the grade. I can't see anyone being like him."
Schwarz is exceptional off the ground, covers well and pushes the tempo like an offensive midfielder, and he even snapped home nine goals for the Wildcats.
36 Johnny Schwarz, midfield, Shoreham-Wading River - Highlights
Tyler's twin brother is just as good, if not better, from his midfield spot. A big athlete, he buried 53 goals and added 13 assists, including a pair of goals in the state title game, and he is a dominant all-around threat with the ball in his stick as both a shooter and a terrific passer. He's no slouch defensively, either, often blanketing his man.
37 Liam McCormick, defense, Chaminade
McCormick is a big-bodied defenseman who does a great job of getting the ball off the ground and out. He's at his best guarding X attackmen, where he can leverage his man out of the way.
42 Tyler Gatz, midfield, Mount Sinai - Highlights
Gatz had another strong campaign for the Mustangs, pairing 24 goals with 25 assists, and he's another elite scorer out of the midfield. He can sting corners down the alley either lefty or righty, tosses out some absolute dimes and really emerged as a leader last weekend with a great performance throughout both days.
44 Jake Wilson, defense, Shoreham-Wading River
"A man child," Spallina said. Wilson carries the mean, nasty, aggressive disposition that everyone loves out of a defensemna, and he throws absolute hammers, especially early in the game. He combines great size with terrific footwork and an elite stick, and you'd be best served to keep your head up around him, because he's all too happy to lay a big hit.
77 Jimmy Osorio, attack, St. Anthony's
A productive righty finisher, Osorio is great off the ball and can absolutely hammer the rock when he gets his hands free. His stickwork allows him to quickly throw fakes to get goalies off balance, and he'll rarely miss if given an opportunity in tight.
96 Robbie Troyano, goalie, Shoreham-Wading River
A fiery type in the cage, Troyano is a great stopper who quickly gets the ball out in transition. He communicates and leads the defense well, too.
99 AJ Volkmann, defense/LSM, Mount Sinai - Highlights
Another well put-together defenseman, Volkmann vacuums ground balls up off the carpet and excels in transition, where he shows great decision-making ability. He's a very active defenseman who throws good checks, and he has the versatility to play up top or down low.
00 Mason Oak, goalie, Comsewogue - Highlights
Oak is very similar to his running mate in Troyano. He has the ability to make some show-stopping saves, and he's another good stopper who can effectively start the break.