Club Sports News

Summer camp draws 27 prospective players to Liberty

July 10, 2014  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

Liberty graduate assistant coach Michael Zumpano (back left) observes the shooting technique of a participant in last month's lacrosse camp.

Several current and former members of Liberty University's men's lacrosse team served as counselors for the program's inaugural summer camp, held at the Liberty Lacrosse Fields the last week of June.

Under the direction of Head Coach Kyle McQuillan, the Flames trained and evaluated prospective players in a setting similar to the recruitment camps held by Liberty's ACHA Division I men's hockey team coinciding with College For A Weekend in April.

The camp attracted 27 players — 17 overnight and 10 commuters — between the ages of 9 and 17. Overnight campers enjoyed paintball games and trips to the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre among evening activities.

"Campers came from North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and California," said former long stick midfielder Michael Zumpano, who graduated this spring and will serve as a graduate assistant for the Flames next season. "We had a wide variety of kids who were able to gain experience and a national perspective on lacrosse. We also had a fair amount of local kids, which was important to us."

Those included students at nearby Liberty Christian Academy and Jefferson Forest High School as well as players from the Blue Ridge Lacrosse Club.

"There's definitely a pool of talent from the local area that was somewhat untapped," Zumpano said. "We were able to make them a part of our camp and familiar with what the program has to offer."

Campers received instruction from current Flames standouts Bryce Mrakovich, Ryan Miller, Brett Bernardo, and Ethan Kamholtz as well as alumni Kurt Tobias ('14), the team's all-time leading scorer, Joe Gargiulo ('13), and Zumpano.

"It was a good opportunity for the counselors, reconnecting current players with alumni and giving them the opportunity to be part of building the program, even over the summer," Zumpano said.

Flames Head Coach Kyle McQuillan directs drills at camp.

They sharpened campers' fundamental skills such as stickhandling, passing, and catching as well as developing one-on-one playmaking and shooting ability. They also conducted a "Campers vs. Counselors" scrimmage and helped instill offensive and defensive strategies, including working in man-up and man-down situations.

"Having a (3-to-1 player to coach) ratio allowed us to give the kids more individualized instruction and added to the quality of the camp," Zumpano said. "That was our focus this year, to put on a really well-run camp and to be able to build on it in future years as we continue to grow."

Liberty is coming off tremendously successful seasons in 2013, when it captured its first SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference (SELC) crown and advanced to the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Division II Final Four, and 2014, when it went 14-4 and finished ranked No. 21 in the nation in its first season playing at the MCLA DI level.

Next week, from July 13-18, Liberty's men's and women's hockey, ski and snowboard, and wrestling programs will host day and overnight camps on campus. After putting on a youth camp in late June, the wrestling staff will train middle to high school athletes between the ages of 12 and 18 from Sunday through Thursday. The first of two overnight ski and snowboard camps has sold out, as has the second set for July 20-25.

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