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Syracuse lacrosse: Joey Spallina wins MVP, Orange highlight All-American games

The future looked bright this weekend as highlight-reel plays and big numbers were all the rage for the ‘Cuse commits.

Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

We came into the weekend feeling great about the sheer number of future Syracuse Orange lacrosse players participating in the 2022 Under Armour All-American game.

We come out of the weekend feeling even better about the overall performance of those players.

No. 1 overall recruit Joey Spallina led the ‘Cuse charge by picking up MVP honors thanks to his four goal, two assist performance. His six points led all scorers.

Spallina was joined on the offensive barrage, in a game his North team won 22-16, by Canadian attacker Finn Thomson’s hat trick and fellow Long Islander Michael Leo’s goal and assist. Midfielder Luke Rhoa added a goal for the South squad.

Defensively, LSM Dylan Sageder had a strong performance for the North team picking up three ground balls and causing two turnovers. Billy Dwan (1GB, 1CT) and Riley Figueiras (1GB) both started at close defense for the South.

In goal, Jimmy McCool had an incredibly impressive showing, holding the South to only four goals in the second half while making seven saves to help the North pick up the victory. Four goals surrendered in 30 minutes of an all-star game? Damn impressive, if you ask me.

Highlight Reel U

The excitement coming out of this game goes well beyond the box score for SU. The future Orange turned this game into their own personal highlight-fest.

Finn Thomson got us started late in the first quarter when he picked up a loose ground ball out in front of cage and then, with a defender all over his left arm, threw home a one-handed twister shot to flash his incredible creativity and stick skills:

Finn Thomson is confirmed: good at lacrosse.

Just over a minute later, Joey Spallina looked at his future teammate and said (completely metaphorically as he is still a teenager): “Hold my beer”.

Spallina scored the goal of the game, pivoting and spinning into a backhanded shovel shot from 10 yards out that he rocketed home:

Just absolutely absurd stuff from Spallina. And if you’re thinking that he pulled that move simply because it was an all-star game, think again. It’s that level of shiftiness, craftiness, and unpredictability that makes Spallina so incredibly difficult to cover. As a defender, you can never quite be sure what he’s going to attempt next, and that’s just flat out dangerous.

And the future Orange were still just getting started, as midway through the second quarter, Spallina was operating from X when he fired a pass towards his buddy Michael Leo out in front of cage. Leo, all in one motion, caught the ball on his left side and swung it up and over his right shoulder for a gorgeous BTB goal that he dropped in the far right corner of the goal.

I unfortunately couldn’t find a clip of it online, but it was a pretty sweet way for Michael Leo to remind people not to forget about him. Leo also added a no-look, cross-cage pass where he found Finn right on the doorstep for an easy finish, so he definitely made the most of his two-point night in this game.

And just to make sure we were gender-balanced on the highlight reel plays, Gracie Britton was not to be outdone by the boys. Earlier in the evening, Gracie scored a phenomenal BTB goal on the run through the middle of the defense that might have been the goal of the women’s game:

So, yes, I think it’s safe to say that Syracuse definitely made their imprint on the 2022 high school All-American games.

But it’s much more than just a summertime all-star game that these future Orange want to make an impact on as they look towards their future in CNY, as Joey Spallina put it:

“I think the theme for our class is to bring ’Cuse back, and that’s what we’re going to do”.

From your lips, Joey. From your lips.