PLL Stars, Former U.S. Medalist Compete at U.S. Men's Sixes Training Camp

PHOTO BY MASON PERRICONE


SPARKS, Md. — Bryan Costabile got a taste of the U.S. men’s national team experience when he played alongside the likes of Michael Sowers and Jared Bernhardt on the U19 team, which won gold against Canada five years ago Friday.

The two-way middie had just finished a successful career at Mount Saint Joseph (Md.) and was headed for Notre Dame in the fall. Costabile was a gold medalist before he even stepped foot on campus at South Bend.

On July 15, 2016, the U.S. trailed Canada 8-2 at halftime in the gold medal match. Costabile and the U.S. offense mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, scoring the final four goals — including the game-winner from Ryan Conrad — with eight seconds left.

Five years later, Costabile was part of another U.S. national team scoring at an unprecedented rate. This week, he suited up for the first-ever U.S. Men’s Sixes national team for its inaugural training camp — one that featured multiple training sessions, a Blue-White exhibition and a co-ed scrimmage.

When Costabile was asked to join another U.S. national team process, he didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.

“I know the culture that USA has, and I just wanted to bring that over here,” Costabile said after Wednesday’s scrimmage. “Most importantly, just talking and bonding with the guys is one thing I really wanted to get out of this whole experience. That’s something I realized in 2016, you go through all of this together, but making friends with them off the field is the ultimate goal.”

Costabile, the Atlas LC midfielder, is no longer a rising college freshman looking for U19 gold. He’s a blossoming professional lacrosse star and former All-American at Notre Dame. He’s seen plenty of high-quality lacrosse in his five years since he last put on a national team jersey, but this week’s training camp gave him a glimpse at something entirely new.

In the first U.S. Sixes training camp for both men and women, players got a crash course in the speed of the new discipline, which will debut at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

Costabile is used to running up and down the field, but the Sixes experience was even more strenuous.

“I’m in good shape, but I didn’t expect it to be that tiring,” Costabile said. “I thought it was going to be more like box, but it’s a lot of fast breaks, getting back in the hole, managing your tiredness. It’s pretty similar to hockey and basketball, and it’s a good thing to watch to see how they sub. It was unlike anything I’ve done before.”

Costabile seemed to adapt to the game quickly. He was a threat on offense, and he could line up on defense to shut down opposing attackmen.

The highlight of his week came in Wednesday morning’s scrimmage, when he dodged out of a two-man game and found yards of space between him and the cage. With his body moving left, he ripped a right-handed shot top shelf past Brian Phipps.

“I came topside with my right hand and split back to my left,” he said. “No one came because it’s hard to slide with it being so quick, so the shot I got off was pretty nice.”

The highlight-reel goal was an exclamation point of training camp for Costabile, who sits in the top 10 among midfielders in points (15) during the PLL season. His profile is rising in the game, but he’ll always be energized by the U.S. national team experience.

“[The World Games are] pretty far away, but it was an honor to be picked and come here,” he said. “Right when I saw it, I knew I wanted to do it. It was such a fun process before.”







ANOTHER SHOT

Adam Osika and Cody Radziewicz hadn’t seen one another since the Major League Lacrosse bubbled season in July of last year. Before then, it was the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Vancouver in September 2019.

The two former pro field lacrosse players hoped to get a chance with the Premier Lacrosse League this season, but those prospects haven’t yet materialized. As of this summer, Osika trains while he’s not working as a sales support associate on Long Island, and Radziewicz does the same as a project manager in Manlius, N.Y.

When each got the invite to join the U.S. Sixes training camp, they knew it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

“It’s always in the back of your mind, and you want to lace up again and play with the boys,” Osika said. “I was at work and got the text and basically made the time work to make sure I could get down here.”

“I was at work and I got the text, talked to the man in charge, asked to get some days off of work and I was all fired up to be out there and see Osika again,” Radziewicz said.

The bounds created with the U.S. indoor team, which won bronze in 2019 after pressing the Iroquois on multiple occasions, continue to this day. Osika and Radziewicz wanted to bring some of that camaraderie to the U.S. Sixes training camp at USA Lacrosse headquarters.

In addition to their experience with the U.S. indoor team, both have suited up in the NLL. The prospect of playing another short-sided game, this time on the field and not the floor, was enticing.

“It’s a hybrid, but it probably leans more toward the box style,” Osika said. “It’s constant up and down and we sub on the fly. The guys that can go two ways are valuable because you have to play offense and defense.”

Radziewicz likened the fast breaks in the Sixes game to the transition opportunities available in the indoor game. Both players evoked memories of the “West Genesee” drill, which emphasizes transition offense and defense — a similar theme among the members of the U.S. sixes training camp.

“The field seemed a lot longer than box,” Radziewicz said. “Still, there were tight quarters and spacing was tough. It was very similar to box. Guys out here can use both hands very well, so you can’t push them one way.”

“No breaks,” Osika said. “It’s like a more organized backyard lacrosse.”

JUSTIN ANDERSON GETS SOME SLEEP

Justin Anderson went from new father to NCAA semifinalist in a matter of two weeks this spring. His story was shared throughout the lacrosse community — he witnessed the birth of his daughter, Scarlett Rose, and suited up for North Carolina the next day in an NCAA tournament win over Monmouth. He even scored the first goal of the game.

On the two-month anniversary of his daughter’s birth, Anderson was again playing on a big stage, this time at the U.S. Sixes training camp. With his wife, Priscilla, and the baby back at home in Chapel Hill, N.C., Anderson put on the red, white and blue for the first time.

“We’re just chugging right along,” Anderson joked. “When I come to these events, I get to sleep all through the night. I don’t have to wake up to change diapers or anything.”

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