It’s already carved out a reputation for itself as one of the top events in the country, and this fall’s edition of the North American Lacrosse Invitational was no exception.
Featuring a who’s who of many of the top programs in the country, NAL put on a show on the second weekend of November. NLFRankings.com contributor Chris Garland was on the scene coaching the Juiced Cherries 2024 team, but the Detroit Country Day (Mich.) head coach also took notes on some class of 2023 standouts.
Without further ado, here are some of the players that caught his eye. CLICK HERE to follow him on Twitter.
NAL 2023 Standouts
Cade Oxley, midfield, Kent Denver (Colo.) / Denver Elite
The midfielder from Denver showcased his diverse skill set and ability to draw a double-team throughout the afternoon. Moreover, he has a number of different release points on his shot that resulted in several goals. He is a hard dodger who put pressure on the defense all over the field. Oxley was one of the most skilled players at the event.
Matthew Han, attack/midfield, Paul VI (Va.) / Michigan
Han usually plies his trade in the midfield, but he was tremendous at attack for the DC Dogs at NAL. He was the first commitment in the Wolverines’ ’23 class, and it’s not hard to see why Michigan wanted him so badly. His quickness and change of direction were on full display on Sunday, as he made it difficult for defenders to initiate contact because he was so effective at winning his matchup.
Sean Berrigan, attack, Tappan Zee (N.Y.) / Prime Time
Sean’s versatility and lacrosse IQ were readily apparent in host Prime Time’s wins over Long Island Express, the Annapolis Hawks, and DC Express. He was able to find open teammates and get them the ball when they were in a position to score. Berrigan also has the ability to create opportunities for himself and finish in front of the goal. He’s a fluid player who takes advantage of the mistakes of his opponents.
Schwitzenberg was one of the most technically-sound defenseman at the event, a title that may stretch to encompass the entire 2023 class. Blessed with prototypical size at 6-2, 190 pounds, he’s an exceptional communicator with his teammates and he’s skilled with the ball in his stick. Schwitzenberg is part of the foundation of arguably the best ’23 defensive class in the country.
Walsh is hard-dodging midfielder who is well-coached and very skilled. He has the ability to carry a double team and make an accurate pass to a teammate that puts him in a position to score. The lefty, who helped the Lakers to an MIAA title this spring, also offers some positional versatility with his ability to make an impact at attack.
John Tomshack, midfield, Forest Hills Central (Mich.) / Juiced Cherries
Tomshack was a force to be reckoned with on the offensive and defensive ends of the field on Sunday. A dynamic dodger who won his matchup consistently, John scored key goals in games against FCA, Denver Elite, and West Coast Starz. On defense and the wing, John was able to pick up contested ground balls and turn them into additional possessions for the Cherries throughout the afternoon. He’s a highly skilled player and a gifted athlete who certainly garnered the attention of a number of schools.
Ben Concepcion, 3D New England, faceoff midfield, Dexter Southfield (Mass.) / Bucknell
Concepcion’s competitive spirit and ability to handle the ball stood out the most. Clean wins are hard to come by at events featuring some of the most talented faceoff athletes in the country. When Concepcion didn’t win the initial draw, he worked incredibly hard to gain possession for his team. When he was able to win the ball, he has the ability to carry the ball into the offensive box and help his team retain possession.
Spencer Liston, faceoff midfield, Wilton (Conn.) / Prime Time / Providence
A technically sound and incredibly skilled faceoff athlete who committed to the Friars after the event, Liston impressed with his ability to handle the ball in traffic and put pressure on opposing defenses when the ball was in his stick. Liston had a dominant spring for Wilton and was tearing it up before he got hurt in the Naptown final this summer. It was great to see him back and health, and he was exceptional at the stripe throughout the day.
Kabiri has a carefree way about the manner in which he plays the game that makes him a joy to watch. His change of direction behind the goal is effortless and effective. He wreaks havoc on support-based defenses when he has the ball in his stick because of his ability to read defenses. If you collapse on the crease, he’ll find a skip lane, and if you surround it, he’ll be able to get the ball inside. Kabiri is creative and fluid, and his style reminds many of former Georgetown standout Jake Carraway.
Casey Sodolski, defense, Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) / True Illinois
Casey’s addition to the True Illinois program makes this a team to continue to watch. The Trinity Pawling defenseman is aggressive on his opponent’s hands, in addition to being judicious in his use of double teams. His greatest attribute may be his ability to collect, and clear, contested ground balls. It’s unlikely he’ll remain uncommitted much longer.
The most impressive aspect of Delgado’s play is his consistency. It could be bitterly cold or stifling hot, but Delgado will outwork his opponents from end-to-end of the field. The playing surface could be pristine or sullied, but he’ll find a way to beat his man and score. It’s incredibly difficult to project how well anyone will perform in college based on their play at a fall lacrosse tournament in one’s junior year, but it’s clear that Delgado will find a way to make Duke just a little bit better. It’s always a joy to watch someone play who brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the field.
Sam Barton, defense, Downingtown East (Pa.) / Brotherly Love / Colgate
Barton is a disciplined and physical defender who caught my attention this summer and followed it up with a strong day at NAL. The middle linebacker from Downingtown East has great posture and presence, in addition to an excellent stick work. An honorable mention All Ches-Mont League as a sophomore, Barton brings plenty of nastiness to the back end, too.
Peyton Tallo, attack, McKinney Boyd (Texas) / Mad Dog National
Tallo was one of the most effective offensive players for Mad Dog Lax at the NAL. He’s a highly skilled player who took charge of this team’s offense, helping them to earn three hard-fought victories. He’s an unselfish attackman who paired up very nicely with Gabe Sorichetti. His ability to make first contact with his defender stood out throughout the day. Tallo doesn’t shy away from contact and he can soak checks.
Kelly possesses the deadly combination of being highly skilled, intelligent, and well-coached. Coming off a 47-point sophomore campaign for the Cardinals, he can see through a play to an open teammate and get him the ball when it matters, but he can also read how a defense is defending a pick and make the right decision. It was great to see his high lacrosse IQ throughout the day.