Malvern Prep‘s established itself as one of the perennial powerhouses in the country. Year in and year out, you know that the Friars are not only a threat to win the Inter-Ac, but they’re likely to be in the discussion of the best teams in the nation.
The Friars’ list of impressive alumni plying their trade at the collegiate level can go toe-to-toe with anyone. Despite that, rare are the attackmen who find their way into the starting lineup as a freshman before being given the full reins to the offense as a sophomore.
Michael Ortlieb‘s not your typical attackman. The 6-foot, 160-pounder’s IQ, poise and vision are elite, and it’s really not much of a surprise to see him become the quarterback of the Friars’ offense, even at a young age. Last Saturday, he handed out three assists to go with a goal in a battle of two of the country’s top teams in a win over Bullis (Md.). In January, he earned a berth in the NLF at IMG All-Star Game and last summer, he helped Big 4 HHH reach the NLF National Championships quarterfinals.
It made him an easy choice to become the sixth five-star in the class of 2025. He joins lefty attackman Cam Kelley (Taft, Conn. / Prime Time), goalie Josh Marcus (Staples, Conn. / Eclipse), LSM Will Pedicano (Delbarton, N.J. / Leading Edge), LSM / defenseman Parker McDonald (St. Anthony’s, N.Y. / Team 91 LI) and attackman Khalif Hocker (St. Xavier, Ohio / Resolute) in the five-star ranks.
A Coach’s Dream at X
“His vision and unselfishness are off the charts,” HHH director Billy McKinney said. “He’s a pure point guard who’s more concerned with getting everyone else involved. He’s like a coach on the field and is able to do things with his mind that make him more dangerous than some kids who might be superior athletically.”
“Mike attracts the other team’s best player and takes the burden off of everyone else,” McKinney added. “He sets the pace. When we need to slow down, he slows it down. When we need to press and go quicker, he gets guys moving. He’s a coach’s dream for an X attackman because he puts guys in the right spot and basically takes over the coach’s role on the field. Mike can score if the defense isn’t quick to slide, and if they do slide, he distributes the ball.”
There’s plenty to support the belief that he’s just getting started, too.
“His quarterbacking ability as a sophomore is special,” Malvern head coach Matt Mackrides said. “He’s our quarterback from behind the cage. The ball kind of flows through Mike. Not many mistakes out of a young kid. There are some, but those are learning experiences. He can finish with the best of ’em, but his vision is what sets him apart from what most attackmen. We’ve been blessed to have some really exceptional attackmen throughout this program since I’ve coached here. Our entire offense senses that he can carry the ball and he’s confident with it. That confidence kind of radiates throughout our offense. We’re supremely confident with what he can do with the ball in his stick.”
The knock on Ortlieb will be that he’s not an elite athlete. It doesn’t matter. As McKinney and Mackrides pointed out, he’s a fantastic X attackman and those guys are always in very high demand. Ortlieb facilitates when he needs to get others involved and has diced up some of the best defensemen in the country in 1v1 situations. His vision is elite, he puts the ball where teammates can catch it loaded and ready to shoot, and he’s a great finisher around the cage.
Ortlieb will be very battle-tested by playing Big 4 HHH and Malvern’s ridiculously rigorous schedules. He’s incredibly smart, very competitive and stays even-keeled behind the cage. Ortlieb gets outstanding reviews as a teammate from both his teammates and coaches, and there’s little doubt that he’ll be atop many schools’ boards this fall.