by Tom Utescher
The boys’ lacrosse team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy appears to be in a good position from a personnel standpoint heading into the 2020 season. Only four members of the 2019 squad graduated, and although a few of last year’s underclassmen transferred out or dropped off the team, this has been more than offset by the arrival of new talent.
The four senior captains for the Blue Devils are Ricky Amorim, Ethan Gyllenhaal, Rex Leininger, and Matt Ottilo. Amorim has signed with Providence College, while Gyllenhaal will play Bucknell University, Leininger for Washington College, and Ottilo for St. Joseph’s University.
The other 12th graders on the 2020 roster are Jake Carpenter, C.J. Lynch, Will Neverosky, and Ben Tishgart, who will play for Colorado College.
In addition to the seven freshman who’ve been added, older athletes who have joined the program are Gerry LeMole, Sam Pagon, and R.J. Moore. LeMole and Pagan relocated to this area from Arizona and Connecticut, respectively, while Moore is a football player and wrestler who played lacrosse back in middle school.
Gyllenhaal will be a key attackman, along with junior Fitz McLaughlin, sophomore Drew Bown, and freshman Brendan Dundas. Although the midfield lines are not set in stone at this early stage, freshmen Bill Freeman and Neil Hutchinson could be playing in the first line along with Leininger. Amorim and Ottilo are veteran defensemen, along with juniors Mason Clemens and Conot Kilfeather. Seniors Carpenter and Lynch are defensive middies.
Although the Blue Devils graduated a four-year varsity goalie in Bern Popky, current junior Tyler Guzik also began to see time in the cage as a freshman. He played a great deal last season and third-year head coach Brian Dougherty has confidence in his abilities.
The SCH mentor has assembled a formidable coaching staff for the Blue Devils. Dougherty himself played for Episcopal Academy and then went on to the University of Maryland, where he was a First Team All-American in 1995 and 1996, and was also recognized as the nation’s top collegiate goaltender.
He played for several professional teams including the Philadelphia Barrage. He was recently hired as an assistant coach for the Barrage, whose season in Major League Lacrosse runs from late May until October.
Dougherty was a member of two United States teams that won world championships, and he was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2012.
Assistant coach Matt Rambo went from La Salle High School to Maryland.
He left College Park as an NCAA national champion, and individually he received the two highest honors bestowed upon a college player, the Tewaarton Award and the Lt. Raymond Enners Award. He currently plays professionally for the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club in the Premier Lacrosse League, and was named league MVP in 2019.
Assistant Jay Pearcy is Dean of Middle School Boys at Springside Chestnut Hill. Originally from the Main Line, Pearcy played for Conestoga High School and then for the Citadel in South Carolina. He has coached at several other high school programs, and has been a summer lacrosse camp coach for many years.
Ken McEwan was a First Team All-American at Cortland State (N.Y.) and has coached at every level of lacrosse, including a seven-year stint as a college coach. Defensive specialist Jake McKeon went from Episcopal Academy to Middlebury College, where he appeared in the NCAA Division III championship game in 2003 and 2005. He is an instructor for Philadelphia-based NXT Lacrosse. Blaze Riorden, from upstate New York, split time as a goalie and an attackman for the University of Albany. Professionally, he played attack for the Philadelphia Wings and goalie for a franchise in the Premier League.