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2016 True Commitments Roundup - PART 1

By True Lacrosse, 01/06/17, 10:00AM CST


Catching up on the True Lacrosse players who committed since Summer '16!

Now that 2016 has come to a close, we have rounded up the True Commitments from across the country to share with you, as we had a number of players make plans to continue their lacrosse careers in college since Summer '16. Congratulations to our True Lacrosse players who made their commitments in 2016!

Trent Abeln (goalie, Olathe South High School, KS ’17) commits to Monmouth College

Trent Abeln has committed to Monmouth College. Trent has been playing lacrosse for five years, three of those with True Kansas. He has accrued several honors throughout his playing career: 2016 Fountain City Lax Bash All Star Team; 2015 Twin Cities Showcase All Star Team; 2015 Chicago Showcase All Star Team; Kansas All Metro All State Team, 2014-2016; Defensive MVP, 2014-2016; and he is team captain at Olathe South. Trent also participates in Frisbee golf, ping-pong, and basketball. He is a member of the French National Honor Society; he received the Presidents Award and the Freshman History Award. Trent plans to study international business and French at Monmouth while continuing his lacrosse career. “I chose Monmouth College because of the great business program and wonderful campus. The facilities are very nice and one of the best I have seen.” In regards to lacrosse, Trent said, “I am looking forward to helping Coach Routt and the team have a successful program.” His three years with True Kansas helped develop his game to reach this next step in his playing career. “It helped me hone my skills and expose me to college coaches,” he said of True, adding that his favorite part was “the opportunities to play every day to get better at my craft.” Before committing to Monmouth College, Trent strongly considered Aurora, St. Mary’s University, and Augustana College.


Gionna Alessandro (midfield/attack, Norwin High School, PA ’17) commits to Wheeling Jesuit University

Gionna Alessandro has committed to Wheeling Jesuit University. She has played for True Pittsburgh Girls for the last two years of her three-year playing career. She was also named MVP and served as captain of her team for two years. Gionna played basketball from 3rd grade to freshman year of high school before focusing solely on lacrosse, the sport she’ll get to continue to play for four more years. “I love the campus, it is the perfect size for me,” Gionna said of Wheeling Jesuit. “I enjoyed being with the team during my overnight. Coach Florence is an awesome coach. I can’t wait to be on the field as a Cardinal next year. I am looking forward to meeting new people and competing at the next level.” Gionna credits the True Pittsburgh Girls coaches with helping her get recruited. “True Lacrosse helped me tremendously with the whole process. Since I started playing my freshman year, playing/practicing against girls who have played longer than me, helped me with improving my skills and the learning aspect of the game. Coach Jen did a lot throughout my recruiting process.” Gionna continued by saying, “I loved all the girls on my team. We pushed each other in practices and in games. The coaches were amazing, with their being so many players from each year, Coach Jen knew each player other than on the field. She pushed you and was always trying to help you improve your game. Coach Kayla was an awesome coach as well.”


Elizabeth Baeder (goalie, Hampshire High School, IL ’17) commits to Siena Heights University

Elizabeth Baeder has committed to Siena Heights University. In addition to playing lacrosse for seven years – three of those with True Illinois Girls – Elizabeth also plays volleyball and participates in marching band. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, and she is an Illinois State Scholar. She trusted her instincts when she decided on Siena Heights. “It’s that feeling you get when you step on campus and you think to yourself, ‘This is where I want to spend the next four years of my life.’” She continued, “I am looking forward to pursuing my dream in college of majoring in nursing and playing lacrosse.” After three years with True Illinois Girls, Elizabeth feels prepared for the next level. “True Lacrosse exposed me to amazing coaches that only wanted me to be the best I can be. They helped me improve my game in many ways and were there for me at every step of the recruiting process.” She added, “I loved the family type bond that my team had!” Before committing to Siena Heights, Elizabeth strongly considered the College of Mount Saint Vincent and Loras College.


Ethan Barangan (face-off/midfield, Culver Academies, IN ’18) commits to the United States Military Academy at West Point

Ethan Barangan has committed to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Originally from Illinois, Ethan currently attends the Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana, but started playing lacrosse five years ago with True Illinois. Ethan was his team captain at Plainfield High School in 2013-2014, and was named team MVP that same year. The honors student also plays soccer. Ethan will get to continue his playing career with the Division 1 Black Knights. “West Point offered everything, from an outstanding academic institution, the utmost premier leadership training in the country, and a great lacrosse program,” he said. “Also, West Point provides the best opportunity to serve the best nation in the world. I plan to study in the medical field with a focus on surgical oncology.” Ethan is looking forward to playing lacrosse at the next level. “I look forward to being coached from a great coaching staff, having excellent lacrosse facilities, and to help Army to a Division 1 championship title.” His five years with True Lacrosse not only helped Ethan grow his game, but gave him the tools to navigate the recruiting process. “I remember constantly being pushed to play my hardest at practices from coaches like Deane, Gabel, Healy, and Story. They also taught me the recruiting process, which made me more comfortable and organized with recruiting. I can’t thank the coaching staff enough for their hard work to make me a better lacrosse player.” Ethan added, “My favorite part is how much the coaches care for their players. I remember Coach Deane staying after practices with me and helping me get extra face-off reps.” Before committing to West Point, Ethan strongly considered Loyola, Fairfield, and Boston University


Aleezandra Barrera (goalie, William Fremd High School, IL ’17) commits to Colorado State University-Pueblo

Aleezandra Barrera has committed to Colorado State University-Pueblo. Aleezandra has been playing lacrosse for four years, two of those with the True Illinois Girls Program, and was named a Brine All American in that time. She is excited to continue her playing career this fall at CSU-Pueblo. “I chose CSU because I love the coach and the girls on the team,” she said. “I loved my visit and feel at home there. I plan to major in liberal studies and minor in elementary education and Spanish.” Of the next four years of lacrosse, Aleezandra said, “I’m most looking forward to playing with so many great, talented people and learning even more.” Her True Lacrosse coaches helped Aleezandra get to the next level. “True helped me so much. My coach is the one that got me interested in my school.” She added that she is most grateful to “all the amazing coaches and how they all really cared about their players, even if they were not on their teams.”

Owen Bruinius (LSM, Forest Hills Northern, MI ’19) commits to Towson University

Owen Bruinius has committed to Towson University. Owen has been playing lacrosse for six years, and two with True Michigan. The honor roll student also plays football for his high school, but it’s lacrosse he’ll get to play at the D1 level. “I chose Towson University because I loved the campus and the coaching staff,” he said. “I am looking forward most to the competition and competing for a national championship.” Owen’s two years with True Michigan improved his game and helped throughout the recruiting process. “True Lacrosse has helped in so many ways. The practices are intense with a high amount of reps and lots of information. True also helped me through the recruiting process by helping me get in touch with coaches and set up visits.” He added, “My favorite part about playing True is the friendships you make and you get to play with the best kids in the state.” Before committing to Towson, Owen strongly considered Rutgers University.

Maria Cefola (goalie, Franklin Regional High School, PA ’17) commits to Chatham University

Maria Cefola has committed to Chatham University. Maria has been playing lacrosse for seven years, six of those with True Pittsburgh Girls. She is a two-time National Team goalie; two-time All Section goalie; and she was named an Academic All American in 2016. She is Key Club President, Film and Media Club President, and involved in Rotary Club and Interact. Maria is also a member of the National Honor Society, earning highest honors with distinction. She is excited for the next step in her lacrosse career at Chatham. “I was looking for a college that offered a lacrosse program that would help me to continue the sport I love. Chatham reminded me a lot of what I loved about my playing time at True: the coach is amazing, the college fits everything I wanted, and the team will be brand new in 2017, similar to the team I started with at True.” She continued, “I am most looking forward to starting with a brand new team and simply playing at a college level. I am also looking forward to the bond that is created when you have a common goal within a team.” Maria has grown her game immensely with True Pittsburgh. “Before I started playing for True, I was a low defenseman who could barely hold a stick. I am now an All American as well as an All Section goalie. The coaches have built up my physical and mental game every step of the way. I was honestly a very difficult player in their recruiting process. The coaches offered me a lot of college scholarship opportunities, but my parameters for my college were very specific. They committed to helping me work through this process and with True, I was able to find the perfect school.” Maria added, “My favorite part about playing for True was creating a bond with my teammates and coaches that I know will last me a lifetime.” Before committing to Chatham, Maria strongly considered Pitt and Allegheny.


Zac Ciupka (goalie, Barlett High School, IL ’17) commits to Aurora University

Zac Ciupka has committed to Aurora University. Zac has played for True Lacrosse for four years of his five-year playing career. He has been a starter on the Bartlett varsity team since his sophomore year, and served as team captain his junior year. The honor roll student also played football and wrestled for most of his life up until sophomore year. This fall, he’ll continue his education and playing career at Aurora. “I chose my college due to the academic opportunities with my major of sports management, and also the successfulness of the lacrosse program. I am looking forward to making new relationships with new teammates.” His time with True Lacrosse helped with every aspect of Zac’s development. “True Lacrosse has strongly enhanced who I am as a lacrosse player, and as a person. I have been given the opportunity to play for True Lacrosse and also coach the youth teams for True Lacrosse. They have helped immensely in the recruiting process by offering showcases that have helped me get exposed to college coaches.” He continued by saying, “My favorite part of playing for True Lacrosse is the relationships I have developed with all of the coaches, also having the ability to coach the youth teams.” Before committing to Aurora University, Zac strongly considered North Central College, Carthage College, and Monmouth College.


Belle Coffey (defense, Hinsdale South High School, IL ’17) commits to Bard College

Belle Coffey has committed to Bard College. Belle has been playing lacrosse for seven years, four of those with the True Illinois Girls Program. She currently plays for the 2017 Elite Team. In addition to playing lacrosse, Belle also earned All Conference honors in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track. Belle chose Bard to help her achieve her long-term goals. “I chose Bard because, out of all the schools I considered, Bard was the right fit for me academically and will put me in the best spot to get into medical school,” she said. “I love its location, campus, and international connections and opportunities. And also the lacrosse program’s understanding of the difficulty of going pre-med.” Belle is looking forward to helping revive the Bard lacrosse program. “I’m excited about the Coach’s vision to re-start the lacrosse program and bring in a lot of academically and athletically motivated and talented students. Building up a program won’t be easy, but I’m ready for the challenge and the competition at playing the collegiate level. I never had a high school team so having a whole half of my year dedicated to the sport I love most is the aspect I’m looking forward to the most.” Since she didn’t play for her high school team, her True Lacrosse experience was vital in developing her skills and love of the game. “True Lacrosse shaped me into the player I am today. What’s so special about the program is the staff and coaches look at the potential of athletes and help everyone with what they need the most. My coaches were so involved in helping me decide what would fit me in the division, size, location, and more of a school. Things I would have never even thought of. They helped me realize what I needed, and helped me contact coaches and programs that would be the right fit. Even with all the exposure we got from the tournaments we attend, it’s the learning experience that came along with them, like learning how to talk to coaches and such that makes all the difference. “ She added, “My favorite part about True Lacrosse was my team. The program values the ‘family’ feel of a team so much, and it truly makes all the difference on and off the field. Especially over the summer, my teammates are my best friends.” Before committing to Bard, Belle strongly considered Skidmore, Rhodes, Haverford, and the College of Charleston.

Riley Doyle-Odenbach (midfield, Sandburg High School, IL ’17) commits to the Florida Institute of Technology

Riley Doyle-Odenbach has committed to the Florida Institute of Technology. Riley has played lacrosse for four years, and the last two with the True Lacrosse Illinois Girls Program. She was named the Most Improved Player on the varsity team as a freshman. In addition to playing lacrosse, Riley has played basketball for 10 years, and played boys lacrosse for three years; she is an excellent student and ranks in the top 5% of her class, and is a state scholar. She plans to study either pre-med or marine biology as she continues her lacrosse career at the Florida Institute of Technology this fall. “The campus was very modern and beautiful,” she said of her decision to commit to FIT. “The coach and the team were extremely warm and kind. As soon as I walked on campus, I knew this was the school for me.” Riley added that she is most looking forward to “the level of competition, not only with other schools, but within the team as well. I want to be pushed to my limit and play against my older teammates to constantly improve my game.” True Illinois Girls helped Riley learn the game and develop her skills. “I started playing women’s lacrosse freshman year, and I did not know much about the game. True has improved my lacrosse IQ and skill set immensely, and I continue to grow every time I step onto the turf.” She concluded by saying, “I absolutely love my teammates. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They’ve become some of my best friends and I have no doubt we will continue to stay in touch.”

Griffin Fries (attack, Shawnee Mission East, KS ’19) commits to the United States Air Force Academy

Griffin Fries has committed to the United States Air Force Academy. Griffin has been playing lacrosse for eight years – seven of those with True Kansas – and earned such honors and awards as All Metro Midfield his freshman year, and Under Armour Underclassman All American. He also helped his team win the state championship. In addition to lacrosse, Griffin is also running back for his high school’s varsity football team. He chose the Air Force Academy to continue his education and lacrosse career “for the unbelievable academic and athletic opportunity,” adding that he is most looking forward to “being a part of a team and competing for a national championship.” His many years with True Kansas “helped me not only improve my lacrosse skills but also taught me what it means to be a part of a team.” His favorite part of playing for True was “the tournaments with awesome coaches and great teammates.” Before committing to the Air Force Academy, Griffin strongly considered Denver and Virginia.