FSLAX turns out plenty of stars
Frederick Stars Lacrosse Club provides elite training ground for area prep standouts
Doors open for the girls of the Frederick Stars Lacrosse Club.
The organization has a well-deserved reputation for producing highly-recruited, top- flight players. This summer, the tradition of FSLAX members reaching the collegiate ranks continued as six rising seniors on the club's elite Black squad have already verbally committed to play at NCAA Division I programs.
"If it wasn't for the club I wouldn't have been recruited at all," Linganore High rising senior attack and Ohio State commit Kelsey Ayers said.
Joining Ayers is Middletown midfielder, Brittain Altomare, who has committed to play at Hofstra University in New York, while Urbana attack Courtni Dadd and defender Mollie Smith have committed to play for Villanova (Pa.) and Delaware respectively.
"I don't think any of us would be playing Division I lacrosse without the club," said Altomare, who has played with the Stars since the summer following seventh grade.
Fellow Stars Black team members Cait McGinn (defense) and Andrea Mustacchio (attack) of Loudon Valley (Va.) have committed to George Mason.
The overall depth and talent of the organization led to FSLAX's first national tournament last month; the eighth annual Galaxy National Championships in New Castle, Del.
The Stars have a long tradition of club members moving on to the collegiate field. More than two dozen former players committed to schools in 2009 and 2010 alone. Since the club's inception in 2002, more than 80 players have gone on to play college lacrosse.
"It just shows you that a quality club program with really good coaching and all of the best kids in the area raises everyone's abilities, everyone's exposure and everyone's quality of lacrosse," Black head coach and club director of lacrosse Bill Sardella said.
Ayers, who has played with the Stars since she was a rising eighth-grader, registered 73 points during her junior season at Linganore. She was an All-Gazette first-team and Monocacy Valley Athletic League Piedmont Conference selection.
Altomare scored more than 90 points in helping Middletown to a program-best 13-2 mark and first region championship appearance. She also was an All-Gazette first-team and MVAL Piedmont selection. Dadd earned first-team All-Piedmont honors and was All-Gazette second-team, while Smith was honorable mention all conference.
The Frederick County foursome's accomplishments at their respective high schools speak for themselves. However, it's their time with FSLAX which has led to so much attention from college coaches. It's simply a higher level of competition.
"All of my recruiting was through the Stars and club tournaments," Altomare said. "It gets your name out there and gets you noticed."
FSLAX's primary method for showcasing its members is by participating in major club tournaments staged mainly throughout the summer. These hotly-contested events feature the nation's premier lacrosse clubs and are always buzzing with college recruiters and coaches.
Ayers, Altomare and the rest of their fellow club members have cut their teeth during tournament play. Week in and week out, they're forced to line up across from the best talent in each respective age bracket. By competing against, and often defeating players from lacrosse hotbeds such as Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties, FSLAX girls develop the confidence to take on all comers without concern for their opposition's pedigree.
"We don't look at it as if we're scared of them," Ayers said. "We want to go beat them. Any team we go against, we feel like we can beat them."
Much of FSLAX's success stems from Sardella. He was a founding member of the club and has coached at least one of the teams since its inception. Having spent a lifetime in lacrosse, his reputation for developing college ready, fundamentally sound players precedes himself.
"He's such a great coach," Ayers said. "He builds up our confidence and skills and makes us an elite player. He coaches us as if we're on a college team. With his name behind me, it helped out a lot in recruiting."