May 13, 2008

In a recent game against highly-touted St. Paul's of Baltimore, McDonough School (Owing Mills, Md.) goalie Tyler Fiorito showed why he is considered the best high school lacrosse player in the country.

With his team clinging to a one-goal lead in the third quarter, a St. Paul's attacker broke free in front of the crease and wound up for what looked like a certain game-tying goal. But Fiorito -- who his coach Scott Corrigan calls "the best goalie he has ever seen at this level" -- raised his stick and his team with an amazing save, preserving the lead for the Tigers, and shifting the momentum. The Eagles went on to win 9-6.

"It's a scary thought to think of where'd we be right now without him," Corrigan said. "There's just no way to measure how much he means to this program."

But Fiorito, a Princeton commit who is the nation's top lacrosse player in the Sports Illustrated/Takkle Top 100 rankings, shies away from individual accolades. Corrigan, who coached current University of Virginia goalie Bud Petit when he was in high school, calls Fiorito's instincts "unmatched," but what has really impressed him is the way he has become a vocal leader for the defense.

"It's to the point where I don't even have to worry about the defense that much anymore because I know Tyler's got it," Corrigan said.

Blue Chip Lacrosse head scout Jake Reed saysthat Fiorito guided a team that had at best average talent last year through the toughest lacrosse league in the country -- the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference -- and into the playoffs. With last week's win against St. Paul's, the Eagles appear to be on the verge of making the playoffs again.

"Last year, we had a lot of young guys on the team, especially on defense, that really lacked experience, but I think they've improved greatly this season," Fiorito said. "I think that I am as proud of their development as I am of anything I've done this year."

Princeton is next for Fiorito, and Corrigan knows that he is going to leave a void -- and not only on the field.

"I'm definitely going to miss him when he's gone," Corrigan said. "I trust and respect him, so much so that I let him babysit my kids."

Steve Rastivo,Ward Melville (East Setauket, N.Y.) High

The Penn State signee is widely considered to be the second-best goalie in the country. A bit flashier in the cage, Rastivo is quick and constantly in motion. An excellent vocal leader as well, Rastivo has made Ward Melville into a power in New York's Suffolk County's Division I.

A.J. Fiore, Ithaca (N.Y.) High

Fiore, a Cornell commit, seems a little awkward in goal at times, but he is effective. He is not nearly as athletic as Fiorito or Rastivo, but he is fearless and makes all the saves that he should make.

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