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Lacrosse: Abdellatif can work magic with long stick

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
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No defensive player in Section II lacrosse was more offensive-minded over the past two seasons than Ballston Spa’s Kyle Abdellatif.

If the long-stick midfielder saw an opportunity, he took it, and those speed bursts and shots resulted in nine goals each year. One of the senior’s goals in late April was a double-overtime game-winner against Tully.

“As a junior and senior, when we were voting for all-stars, he received the most points for a long-stick midfielder,” said Ballston Spa coach Joe Pollicino. “The Suburban Council coaches saw him as something special.”

Abdellatif is certainly that, and was recently named Ballston Spa’s third US Lacrosse All-American based on his vast array of talents. He is quick to slide and adept at knocking down passes while defending, diligent on ground balls, fast and heady in transition and a faceoff playmaker whether taking draws or flying in from the wing.

The three-year varsity starter obviously has a nose for the cage, too. His junior output included a hat trick when the Scotties beat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on their senior night. In this year’s senior-night win against Saratoga Springs, Abdellatif scored again.

“A lot of times, he went top shelf,” said Pollicino. “A lot of times, the goalie will crash down when a long stick takes a shot, anticipating a low shot. Kyle is aware of that.”

Abdellatif collected 23 goals and 13 assists in his career. He also scored a goal last summer while competing at the Champion All-American Showcase in Florida.

“He’s so good with a long stick. We threw him in there [on offense] now and then just to see what the other team would do, and we could have played him on man-up. He was a kid who could create a lot,” Pollicino said. “We played box lacrosse the last two offseasons, and I believe that really helped his stick skills.”

Abdellatif scored two goals and had an assist when Ballston Spa topped Tully in a non-league game two months ago, 7-6. His second goal decided the contest.

“The faceoff kid from Tully is going to Syracuse. Kyle took it right off the whistle and scored the game-winning goal,” said Pollicino.

Abdellatif served as the backup this season to Ballston Spa faceoff specialist Pat Fennelly, who made the Suburban Council all-star second team.

“In certain games when our No. 1 wasn’t on, we put Kyle in there,” said Pollicino. “He’s so long. Even if he didn’t win it on his own, he caused trouble for the other faceoff guy.”

With his speed, willingness to mix it up and ability to scoop the ball, Abdellatif was among Section II’s best faceoff wings as a junior and senior. Many of his 247 career ground balls (he had 97 this year) came while filling that key but often overlooked role.

“He’s a very athletic player, and very versatile player,” said Pollicino. “His dad was a two-time Olympic wrestler for Egypt. He has athleticism in his family.”

Abdellatif’s work over the entire field helped Ballston Spa (13-5) enjoy its finest season since joining the Suburban Council. The Scotties beat Shenendehowa for the first time, tied for second in the North Division, reached the Section II Class A semifinals and gained an honorable mention spot in the final New York State Sportswriters Association rankings.

“A lot of positive things happened for the kids,” said Pollicino.

Two of them will be playing Division I lacrosse next season — Abdellatif at Stony Brook and midfielder John McDonald at Towson.

“I think he’ll do great things at Stony Brook,” Pollicino said of his 6-foot-2 team captain. “He’s got a shot to step on the field right away.”

Troy Gargiulo (2011, midfield) and Jordan Davis (2012, defense) were Ballston Spa’s first two US Lacrosse All-Americans. Pollicino said junior defenseman Peter Vadney has the potential to be the next. The Suburban Council second-teamer was recently named to the Upstate New York team that will compete at the Under Armour Underclass Lacrosse Tournament next month in Maryland.

 
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