Junior Class Adds Seven Lacrosse Commits

Future universities include the University of Maryland, Duke University, University of North Carolina, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard College, and Pennsylvania State University.

Matt Powers, Reporter

Last season, the Malvern lacrosse team, led by Coach John McEvoy, impressed with a 16-5 record and, more importantly, an Inter-Ac championship over The Haverford School. 

During their 2019 season, the roster consisted of many talented sophomore players, who looked to continue their lacrosse careers at the next level. Since May of 2019, six players in the class of 2021 have announced their verbal commitment to play Division I lacrosse. There is one player, though, who had a special opportunity to decide what school he would be attending earlier than most.

Eric Spanos announced his verbal commitment to play at the University of Maryland in eighth grade. He believes Maryland will help him excel because of the “brotherhood and responsibilities that Maryland lacrosse embodies.”

Spanos is held in high regard by his peers and his coaches.

“A lot of kids can shoot the ball well, but scoring goals is an art. Eric can just put the ball in the back of the net in many ways which makes him difficult to stop as an attackman,” McEvoy said.

Nick Potemski is an attackman who expects the Friars to go undefeated during the 2020 season. Currently, he is ranked #59 in the class of 2021 according to Inside Lacrosse. 

Potemski committed to Duke University in November and chose it because it was “easy to talk to the coaches and players that showed me around. They made me feel welcomed and excited about Duke’s future.”

Before deciding on Duke, Potemski sought advice from two of his coaches who went to Malvern and Duke. After talking to them, Potemski “felt that choosing Duke would give me connections before I even arrived on campus.”

With Potemski planning to attend Duke following graduation, it’s only right the junior class also adds a talented player to the rival Tar Heel program. Cooper Frankenheimer believes the University of North Carolina will challenge him to improve his overall game, allowing him to make a smooth transition and ultimately fight for playing time during his freshman year.

As of now, the athletic midfielder is ranked #83 in the class of 2021 and is one of five Friars ranked in the top 100.

“[UNC] will help me grow as a player because of the great coaches and the level of excellence demanded from the players,” Frankenheimer said.

Frankenheimer is also highly praised by McEvoy, who acknowledged his talent both mentally and physically.

“[Frankenheimer is an] athletic kid who is extremely talented both physically and mentally,” McEvoy said.

The junior class also consists of attackman Will Peden. Peden, a shifty attackman, is headed to Johns Hopkins University once his time at Malvern comes to a close.

Peden the #56 ranked player in the class of 2021 according to Inside Lacrosse, looks to climb even higher throughout this upcoming season.

Peden believes Hopkins was the correct choice in the recruitment process because “the competition on the field will be better and the work in the classroom will be more difficult, both of which will push me to work to the best of my ability.”

Like his other peers, Peden is recognized by McEvoy for being an exceptional leader on attack.

“Will is a playmaker and while he isn’t always pretty doing it, he just seems to make things happen,” McEvoy said.

This class isn’t just built for success on offense, they have talent on the defensive side of the ball as well. Jake Brownley is Inside Lacrosse’s #67 ranked Junior who brings a strong frame, constant physicality, and high IQ to the table for the Friars.

Brownley says his first passion was football, in which he still participates, playing for varsity throughout the past two seasons for Malvern.

I believe playing football and the skills, techniques, and toughness I have learned from that have all translated into my lacrosse game and have benefited me as a player,” Brownley said.

Brownley decided on Harvard College and believes “it will challenge me to grow both on and off the field while also surrounding me with great minds from all around the world.”

Coach McEvoy describes Brownley as someone who is “reliable and consistent. He seems to always make the right play.”

Lining up in front of Brownley will be Michael “Pup” Buono, a long stick midfielder who has verbally committed to play at Pennsylvania State University. Buono is listed as the #71 ranked player according to Inside Lacrosse.

In October, Buono committed to attend Penn State because he felt it was the right fit, choosing it over nine other top schools.

“I feel the PSU coaches were at a lot of my games in the spring and summer and they thought my style of play fit how they liked to play defense,” Buono said.

“Pup is a disruptor,” says Coach McEvoy. “He wreaks havoc and, as a defender, it is one of the best traits a player can possess.”

Joining Buono at Penn State will be Matt Traynor. A skilled midfielder, Traynor is the most recent commit in the Junior class, announcing his decision in early December.

Staying on the field has been the biggest obstacle for Traynor so far after dealing with a couple of unlucky injuries, but he will be a key piece of the Friars’ midfield this season.

Coach McEvoy looks forward to what Traynor can do saying, “He’s got a lot of tools but hasn’t played the last two years because he’s been hurt. He’s dynamic and has potential, he just needs to get onto the field.”

With the 2020 season quickly approaching, the Friars are loaded with firepower, especially from their junior class.

“We want to win every game,” McEvoy said. “Even when we feel we may not be as talented as the other team, which isn’t always the case, I feel like we can always compete with them.”

McEvoy also believes the Friars will be able to achieve their ultimate team goal which is to “create a nice team setting. A team that relies on each other and can win while having fun. If we can do that, we will be successful.”