Prep Talk

Four lacrosse players select colleges (AC Press)

Posted August 19th, 2011

By KELLY ASHE For The Press | Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 12:56 am

Four more St. Augustine Prep lacrosse players verbally committed to play for Division I colleges.

Some would say that coming from a winning program has helped them reach such an accomplishment.

But all four of them, who each received some scholarship money, credit coach J.C. Valore for their achievements.

Rising senior Bryan Phillips from Somers Point verbally committed to Drexel University. Rising senior twins Bill and Pat McMenamin of Longport will attend Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. And rising junior Mike Sutton of Sewell will play for Penn State University.

“Coach Valore taught me everything I know,” Pat McMenamin said by phone Tuesday night. “(My brother and I) truly started playing freshman year. We started with him and he’s taught us a lot along the way. I have all good things to say about him.”

Bill McMenamin added, “He’s been my only coach, so I owe everything to him. We wouldn’t be close to the lacrosse players we’ve become without him.”

The St. Augustine lacrosse program began in 2003. Only Chad Flexon went on to play in college. Since Valore took over in 2005, 21 players have gone on to play in college, including the eight who have committed in the past year.

The McMenamins will join 2009 graduate David Phillips next year at Wagner. Phillips is the older brother of Bryan Phillips.

“We didn’t really expect both would be (playing in college), since we both started playing lacrosse late,” Bryan Phillips said in a phone interview Monday. “But once we knew we could compete with kids on the next level, we knew we could (go after the opportunity.) Valore has helped me a lot. He’s taught me to keep working hard, don’t get your head down, and to play the game and play it right.

Wagner is a growing program that was winless in 2011, and had only won one game the season before. The Seahawks have recently hired Matt Poskay, an all-star attackman for the Boston Cannons of the Major League Lacrosse, as their coach in an attempt to turn the program around.

Wagner also will acquire two solid players when the twins join the team in year. Bill McMenamin, a midfielder, made The Press first team this spring with 20 goals in 22 games. Pat McMenamin was an attackman with four goals and six assists.

The twin brothers are looking forward to playing under another prominent coach in Poskay in the Northeast Conference.

Sutton also will get to play for another top coach in Jeff Tambroni at Penn State. Tambroni won eight straight Ivy League titles with Cornell before taking the job with the Nittany Lions.

The 16-year old also considered the University of North Carolina, the University of Delaware and Loyola University in Maryland.

He plays midfield for the Hermits, where he’s tallied 50 goals and four assists.

“When I was younger, I met coach Valore at a camp up at Rowan, and when I heard he was coaching at St. Augustine I was thrilled,” Sutton said Monday night by phone. “I wanted to be a part of it because I knew he was a great coach and he had a lot to teach me.

“With eight D-I recruits, it’s a great feeling to say you’re a part of St. Augustine. It’s a great school with great athletics and with coach Valore there, it’s perfect.”

He added that he’s hoping to learn even more under Tambroni and learn to become more elusive on the field.

The Nittany Lions were 7-7 and 4-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association last season. Penn State finished fourth in the conference one spot ahead of Drexel, which was 3-3 in the CAA and 8-6 overall.

It won’t be long before Sutton and Phillips go from teammates to opponents. Rising senior Tommy O’Neill also verbally committed to play for Penn State.

“It’s an incredible feeling watching these guys develop from promising young student-athletes into well rounded lacrosse players,” Valore said in a text message Tuesday night. “They truly deserve everything they have worked so hard for.”

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