It didn’t take long for the Prep Nationals to establish as a premier event on the high school championship circuit.
With four teams slotted into the NLF’s top 20, it’s a treacherous field to navigate. Host Brunswick (Conn.), last seen as the NLF’s No. 2 team in the land, hosted fellow powerhouses Lawrenceville (N.J.), Deerfield (Mass.) and Salisbury (Conn.).
After the Big Red and Bruins secured impressive wins in Friday night’s quarterfinals, there was a ton of anticipation for a rematch of their earlier game in the season. Early on, it looked like things might come down to the wire. Brunswick’s depth proved to be too much for overcome for Lawrenceville, and the Bruins took the Prep Nationals title, 12-6.
In The Blink of an Eye
The Bruins cracked the game open with a 10-1 run. It stretched from the second quarter stretching deep into the third, with Brunswick showing off depth, athleticism, and relentless pressure. The Brunswick ride was also excellent on the day, forcing multiple turnovers and giving Lawrenceville problems whenever there was time to set up.
The first quarter was a back and forth battle, as NLF No. 38 junior Andrew Greenspan (Prime Time / Notre Dame) and NLF No. 33 junior Robert Simone (Army) fought at the faceoff spot, with Simone having early success. Lawrenceville’s Brooks English (Johns Hopkins) and NLF No. 80 junior Chuck Rawson (Johns Hopkins) gave the Big Red a 2-1 lead. The teams traded goals from there, and then in the second quarter, Brunswick took the game over.
“We knew Brunswick was a phenomenal team. We knew they were tremendously athletic, they were well coached, and they’re deep everywhere. We knew to even have a chance we’d have to play well. And we had to try to stop them from crushing us between the lines. Playing a team like Brunswick, you can’t have any errors, and we didn’t play that way today,” Lawrenceville coach Jon Posner said.
“I’m always proud of our guys. I’ll never question their effort. I don’t know if we executed all that well, but as far as effort and attitude, I’m extremely proud of our guys,” Posner added.
Brunswick’s Depth Unmatched
Hunter Chauvette, the NLF’s No. 32 junior from SweetLax and a Yale commit, stopped the bleeding, and he added another soon after. As Brunswick’s possession time piled up, though, the Bruins began to wear the Big Red down. Brunswick got goals from seven different players, including a hat trick from NLF No. 7 ’23 Tomas Delgado (Prime Time / Duke). NLF No. 10 senior Henry Caponiti (Prime Time / Georgetown), NLF No. 11 sophomore Hudson Hausmann (Eclipse) and NLF No. 35 ’24 Payton Anderson (Prime Time) had two goals each. Senior Chris Gaine, NLF No. 35 junior Hunter Spiess (Princeton) and NLF No. 2 junior Leo Hoffman (Penn) each had one.
For Lawrenceville, English and Chauvette had two goals each, and Rawson along with Lucas Osborne (Yale) added a goal apiece.
Both coaches praised the Prep Nationals event as a great way to cap the seasons, and said that their players couldn’t wait for the opportunity.
“The guys were really fired up. But it’s two conversations, it’s that, and then there’s the ‘it’s after graduation and you have to practice all graduation week’ conversation. But our seniors were totally dialed in, we practiced 6 am one day this week, and they had their graduation and awards, and they were focused when it came time for the games,” said Brunswick coach David Bruce, who recently recorded his 200th career victory at the Bruins’ helm.
“It’s a great way to play at the end. It’s what most of these guys want. To give them an experience like this, with these games in front of college coaches, it’s something they’ll remember for a long time,” Bruce added.
“It was great. I thought we assembled four of the best schools in the country, the competition was phenomenal. Brunswick did an incredible job hosting and made it really special for all four teams. We want to play the best. To have the opportunity to play against three other top schools and programs in the country. We were excited about it at the start of the year,” Posner said.
Given the hot conditions, it was a day for Brunswick to show off its ridiculous depth. Payton Anderson had an outstanding day. It’s not even you see sophomores ith major roles on a roster as loaded with upperclass talent as Brunswick, but Anderson showed off the athleticism that makes keeping him off the field impossible. The lefty midfielder is excellent off the dodge, as he was used in sweeps from both the high and low wing. His massive 6-2, 200-pound frame makes him tough to guard once he gets a head of steam. His signature play came in the second half, when he split a double team below GLE, attacked the goal, and scored a diving goal through the crease avoiding the goal mouth in the process.
Another underclassman who got a lot of time. Hausmann is a lot like Anderson. He’s a bit smaller, but he dodged out of the invert and from wings with success. He was able to beat a shortstick from X, roll away from a help defender, and get back topside where he stung the far pipe from an extremely sharp angle. It was truly impressive to see guys like Hausmann and Anderson take the lead as dodgers when the usual suspects like Delgado and Hoffman played off ball or subbed off.
Brooks English ’22, midfield, Lawrenceville / Johns Hopkins
The Hopkins commit is an excellent dodger, and you can see the Canadian influence in his game. The Ontario native was at Culver and followed coach Jon Posner to Lawrenceville. English is comfortable dodging from anywhere on the field, and can seemingly always get to his right hand. He has multiple release points for his shot, even while on the run. English drew matchups against a stingy defense a few times in this game, and was able to free his hands off the dodge and get a quality shot off more than once.
Luke Schlank, goalie, Brunswick / Prime Time / Georgetown
The Brunswick goalie heading to Georgetown has been outstanding all year, but there were a few plays that separated him in this one. Early in the game, as it was still closely contested, Lawrenceville generated a transition opportunity that ended with a 1v1 chance alone on the doorstop. Schlank made a kick save on a high-to-low spot shot, and then won the run out to follow the shot and win possession back for Brunswick. Just minutes later, a carbon copy sequence happened, and Schlank once again stuffed a shooter on the doorstep and once again won the run out. Doing this once is impressive, twice is spectacular, and was a major reason Brunswick was able to go on the run that let them take over the game.
Chauvette was impressive, and he really didn’t even have his best day. At times, Brunswick shut him off with a shortstick. Some of this is out or respect for Chauvette as a shorter, and some was because he and whoever he partnered with in two-man games, usually English or Rawson, are so good at causing matchup switches. Once Chauvette has a shortstick on him, ball denial is required. He’s able to free his hands out of roll dodges, or can get his shot off with just a sliver of space. Early on, Chauvette got good looks but missed the net or was stopped by quality saves from Luke Schlank. He scored in the second quarter, and then with an absolute rocket off the pipe and in later in the third. When he has the ball, goalies need to be ready for shot regardless of where Chauvette is on the field.
Brunswick 12, Lawrenceville 6
Tomas Delgado ’23 (NLF No. 7 ’23 / Prime Time / Duke) 3 goals
Henry Caponiti ’22 (NLF No. 10 ’22 / Prime Time / Georgetown) 2 goals, 2 assists
Payton Anderson ’24 (NLF No. 35 ’24 / Prime Time) 2 goals, 1 assist
Hudson Hausmann ’24 (NLF No. 11 ’24 / Eclipse) 2 goals
Leo Hoffman ’23 (NLF No. 2 ’23 / Team 91 LI / Penn) 1 goal, 1 assist
Hunter Spiess ’23 (NLF No. 35 ’23 / Princeton) 1 goal
Chris Gaine ’22 1 goal
Will O’Connor ’22 (Michigan) 1 assist
Andrew Greenspan ’23 (NLF No. 38 ’23 / Prime Time / Notre Dame) 14-for-20 faceoffs
Graham Burchill ’24 0-for-1 faceoffs
Will Donovan ’22 0-for-1 faceoffs
Luke Schlank (Prime Time / Georgetown) 7 saves
Chuck Rawson ’23 (NLF No. 80 ’23 / Johns Hopkins) 2 goals, 3 assists
Hunter Chauvette ’23 (NLF No. 32 ’23 / SweetLax / Yale) 2 goals
Lucas Osborne ’22 (Yale) 1 goal
Brooks English ’22 (Johns Hopkins) 1 goal
Connor Gately ’24 (NLF No. 52 ’24) 1 assist
Robert Simone ’23 (NLF No. 33 ’23) 9-for-22 faceoffs
Timmy Piacentini ’24 5 saves