Evan Sibson, less than a week removed from graduating from Absegami High School, enjoyed looking back on his senior season.
For four years, he was a starter on the boys lacrosse team, taking his share of bumps and bruises at the attack position along the way. Still, he was consistent each season and one of Absegami’s best players.
He finished his career as the Cape-Atlantic League’s all-time leading scorer.
Sibson is the 2017 Press Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“I don’t take it lightly,” said Sibson, 18, about his CAL record. “I went out and got better (each year). That continuous improvement was very important to me.”
Sibson led the CAL with 73 goals this season to go with 34 assists. He finished his career with 259 goals and 160 assists.
“He led by example,” Absegami coach Greg Goodwin said. “He’s very knowledgeable of the game, also. He’s a student of the game, and I think his game intelligence is high, and the kids were able to pick up on that.”(tncms-asset)6eae713e-54ff-11e7-aff4-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Sibson helped the Braves to a 12-5 record and the first home playoff game in program history. They achieved that all despite having graduate a lot of players from the previous year and having fewer players this season, Sibson said.
“The fact we lost so many people and still were able to get better surprised a lot of people,” Sibson said.
Sibson will continue his lacrosse career at NCAA Division II Chestnut Hill just outside of Philadelphia on a partial academic and athletic scholarship.
On April 11, he signed his letter of intent. That same day, he scored seven goals, including the 200th of his career, in a 15-11 win over Middle Township.
He called it the highlight of his season.
“That was definitely a big day for me,” he said. “A lot of people are happy to get 100 (career goals), and to get 200 was really special.”
Sibson earned the CAL’s scoring title May 1, breaking a record held by Middle Township’s Jack Denis since 2015.
“It shows the sport is growing, and the competition is getting better,” Sibson said. “It gives me pride how things have gotten better, and I’m on top in its prime. (The sport) is expanding. I hope to stay on that leader board for a while.”(tncms-asset)15031d50-0519-11e7-8869-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Coach of the Year
Ocean City coach Joe LaTore is The Press Coach of the Year.
For the third straight year, Ocean City won the CAL championship. It came in nail-biting fashion against rival Mainland Regional, winning 11-10 on May 1.
“It’s tough to sustain success for a long time, but I feel Mainland will always be at the top of the mix, and it’s nice because it makes our game that much better,” LaTorre said.
One of the biggest accomplishments LaTorre and his coaching staff had this season was the development of its key offensive players. The Red Raiders graduated much of its scoring power from last season and struggled early this spring to get goals.
The list of key players at the top of the field was long, featuring senior first-team All-Star Logan Bloomstead along with senior Garret Benvenuti, junior Chris Raniszewski and sophomores Marty Cattie, Christian Kuhn and Anthony Inserra.
“Where we started as an offense to where we finished, you couldn’t be more happy as a coach,” LaTorre said. “The job our assistants did with a young ground of guys is tremendous, seeing us go from averaging six goals a game to close to 12.”
The Red Raiders finished 13-6 and ranked seventh in The Press Elite 11.
Team of the Year
St. Augustine Prep owned wins against fellow Press Elite 11 teams Mainland Regional, Ocean City and Haddonfield.
The Hermits are The Press Team of the Year.(tncms-asset)84aced6a-27c5-11e7-acaf-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Their most impressive win of the year came May 2, a 6-5 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven, one of the best teams in the state. Rumson went on to win the South Jersey Group II championship and lose a one-goal game in the state final.
First-team Press All-Star Ethan Kazmierski led the Hermits with 31 goals. First-team goalie Luke Russomanno had .603 save percentage and will play at Division I Ohio State. Jake McCaughan, one of the best defenders in South Jersey, will play at Penn State.
They were among the 18 seniors St. Augustine had this season, most of whom will play lacrosse in college. It’s impressive, especially when coach J.C. Valore had to try finding places on the field for all of them.
“We truly believe there’s a place in college lacrosse for most hard-working young men of varying skill sets,” Valore said. “The challenge lies in finding the right fit academically, socially and athletically.”