Lacrosse: Loyola’s Mike Schiappa joins the nation’s best at showcaseMike Schiappa, an incoming senior at Loyola, is in Florida this week competing in the Champion All-American Showcase. | Photo courtesy of Mike Schiappa
Updated: July 24, 2012 2:41PM
Ever since he started playing lacrosse in grade school, Mike Schiappa always was a Loyola fan.
In the spring, the soon-to-be senior got a rare opportunity to help his favorite team to a championship.
A starter on the defense, alongside standout Dylan Harris, Schiappa was instrumental in Loyola’s 6-4 win over Lake Forest in the state final that ended a six-year streak of runner-up finishes for the Ramblers.
“It was really incredible,” said Schiappa, who lives in Lincolnwood. “We knew it was our year, but we knew we had to work for it. It really was a process for us, and it was great for it to pay off in the end.”
Schiappa is regarded as one of the best players in the country and was selected to the Champion All-American Showcase this week at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
One of three players from Illinois, along with recent New Trier graduate Jack Connelly, to earn the honor, Schiappa is among the nine non-seniors in the field of 95 players.
Connelly, who’s off to play at Providence, was a three-year starting goalkeeper for the Trevians.
“When I got the e-mail back, I was surprised,” Schiappa said of making the team. “It’s a real honor. Coach (Rob) Snyder helped me out a lot, and I definitely am thankful to him for that.”
Schiappa, a two-year starter at Loyola who already has committed to Bucknell, has been playing lacrosse year-round for some time. He competes for Illinois’ Team One, as well as Titanium Elite. It’s Schiappa’s first summer with the Midwestern all-star club, and he’s enjoying the experience of playing with others from different states.
“The lacrosse IQ of some of the kids is on another level,” Schiappa said. “These are the best kids from these states. You learn how to share the spotlight as well as learn other things about the game.”
Once he returns from Florida, Schiappa will continue training in the offseason to prepare for another bid at the state title with Loyola in the spring.
“There are barely any days I don’t go out and do something with lacrosse,” he said. “It definitely comes down to how much the seniors want it and want to push the younger guys, how much we are willing to give.
“We also have a lot of faith in our coaches. They showed us they can help us succeed. They now have higher expectations for us after we won the state championship.”