Oliveri Named Tri-Captain For 2012 U.S. U-19 National Team
July 10, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - Rising redshirt freshman Zach Oliveri has been named one of three captains for the U.S. Under 19 Men's Lacrosse National Team which will begin competition this week at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships in Finland. Oliveri was named to Team USA last summer and is paired with fellow goalie Kyle Turri in trying to backstop the U.S. to its seventh straight gold medal.
Along with Oliveri, defenseman Stephen Jahelka and midfielder Rob Zoppo were also named team captains according to Team USA head coach Tim Flynn.
The tri-captains were selected by player vote on Saturday at the team's training camp at Bryant University in Rhode Island, where the 23-player group has been since Friday. The team will continue to train through Monday, when it leaves from New York for Finland, site of the FIL Under-19 World Championships.
The tournament begins Thursday in Turku, Finland, with opening ceremonies and runs until July 21 with the championship game. The U.S.'s first game is against Australia at 7 p.m. local time Friday, noon Eastern Standard Time.
Oliveri is part of a Team USA goalie tandem that also includes Kyle Turri. Oliveri is a vocal goaltender who "commands and controls the defense and makes sure people are where they need to be," said U.S. assistant coach Jack Crawford. The Connetquot (N.Y.) High product redshirted the season at UMass this spring while sitting behind fifth-year senior goalie Tim McCormack as the Minutemen went undefeated in the regular season and won the Colonial Athletic Association Championship Title.
The U.S. has won six straight gold medals since sanctioned U19 world competition began in 1988. In the most recent championship game in 2008, Team USA defeated Canada 19-12 behind 19 saves from Adam Ghitelman and three goals and two assists from then-captain Craig Dowd.
The native of Ronkonkoma, N.Y. earned a spot on Team USA last summer as one of 12 goalies who participated in a four-day tryout at UMBC.
A standout at Connetquot High School, Oliveri was a member of team Long Island at the Empire State Games during the 2010 summer and backstopped his squad to a Gold medal in the annual event. He was also named a 2011 U.S. Lacrosse All-American, was a 2011 All-Long Island selection and earned All-County honors three times during his prep career.
GETTING TO KNOW TEAM USA UNDER-19 GOALTENDERS - LAXMAGAZINE.COM
We've already looked at the midfield, attack and defense. Last but not least: Team USA's goalies. Check back to LaxMagazine.com and LaxMagazine.com/teamusa/u19men over the next two weeks for live coverage from Finland.
To overlook Zach Oliveri would require some effort. The 5-foot-8, 200-pound high-energy righty has a great sense of his own athletic ability and is the type of goalkeeper that sometimes grunts when making saves. He's not afraid to talk to himself and is certainly never hesitant to direct the defense in front of him.
"I've never once seen him hesitate, on anything," said U.S. U19 assistant coach and Loyola Blakefield (Md.) head coach Jack Crawford. "He commands and controls the defense and makes sure people are where they need to be. That's what often differentiates guys who are average goalies from guys who are great goalies."
The Long Island native redshirted his freshman year at UMass and sat behind redshirt senior Tim McCormick on the Minutemen's goalie depth chart. But you'll hear more about Oliveri -- and from him -- going forward. He's also Team USA's designated DJ, providing pre-game and travel music for the team.
Fellow Long Islander Kyle Turri is less active in the goal than Oliveri, but he's not afraid to make his mark.
"He's a good communicator too, understands the position, and is very good at tracking the ball," Crawford said of the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Turri. "When he makes saves, he has sound positioning, although I've also seen him make some spectacular saves."
One of Turri's additional strengths is starting and controlling clears. He's comfortable with the ball in his stick. In one instance, during his senior season at West Islip (N.Y.) High, he went coast-to-coast to score a thrilling overtime winner against rival Ward Melville in a highlight clip that made YouTube rounds.
In Turri's freshman season at Duke this spring, he started three games and saw time in eight, finishing with a 2-1 record.
Oliveri and Turri have split time in each of Team USA's three exhibition games leading up to the world championships.