The Connecticut Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CTCBLL) named its First Team All-Stars on July 20 during an eventful night that also featured the Generals knocking off the defending champion Revolution in the title game. The Constitutional Cup was the Generals’ second in three seasons.
"We had a great group of guys, and a great goalie who stood on his head all year for us," said Generals forward Coulter Mackesy. "We were well balanced with Kobe (Ginder) winning tons of faceoffs, a couple of studs on defense, and then a bunch of unselfish guys on offense. We were all just having fun playing with everyone, and it was a good group."
Mackesy, who entered the season after being named a Second Team All-American at Princeton, headlined the CTCBLL First Team All-Stars. Joining him was his Princeton and Generals teammate, Koby Ginder; along with Colin Sharkey (Revolution), Kyle Morrison (Copperheads), and Patrick Mullen (Coyotes).
Mackesy returned to the box league in 2023 after a one-year hiatus while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In two seasons, the Bronxville, NY native has won two titles.
"He came back this year after a really strong season in the NCAA," said CTCBLL Commissioner and coach Oliver Marti. "He was just dominant, just a dominant player. He is fast, agile, and he can shoot. He was on the First Team, but he was essentially the MVP of the league."
Koby Ginder became the second member of his family to be recognized as a CTCBLL All-Star. In the past, his brother Jordan, who played at Duke, was named to the league's First Team.
"It's an honor. It's a great league. I never really expected it because people focus on guys who score the most goals," said Koby Ginder. "It was a nice surprise. My brother was a member of the league many years ago, and he got some awards (when he played). I finally get to put mine (award) up next to his and give him a little bit of grief because he's retired."
Mullen, who will play at Bucknell this upcoming season, was rewarded for his hard work and versatility by being named to the All-Star team. The Coyotes and Mullen were edged 19-18 in a seven-round shootout in the league semifinals.
"He's a true offensive guy, but he can play strong defense, is excellent in transition, and has a motor that doesn't stop. He gets the box game. His picks and rolls are nice. He has soft hands inside and can shoot," said Coyotes coach Oliver Marti. "Patrick was a unanimous choice, and he was one of the top point-getters. He's just got a great attitude. Anytime I needed him to go on the floor, he didn't even hesitate."
Mullen was a much sought-after recruit, having played field lacrosse for the Brunswick School (Conn.). He helped the Bruins to a 13-4 record, finishing the season Co-West 1 Champs and fifth in the nation. The midfielder was encouraged to play box by his dad before he went to play Division I lacrosse at Bucknell University.
"Well, my brother (Peter) played. He was a Coyote in the Connecticut box league, so I was going to play," he said. "Then my dad just wanted me to get roughed up a little bit and play the physical box game before I stepped on a college campus, so that was a big factor."
Colin Sharkey followed in his brother's footsteps as his brother Ryan plays for the Buffaloes and was a First Team All-Star in the Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League in 2022. Now they have both been honored as league All-Stars.
"I thought I had a good season and put myself in a scenario where my name could be called," said Colin Sharkey. "This is a real good league, and there are a lot of good defenders."
While playing at the University of Vermont, Sharkey learned all about the box game from teammates Thomas McConvey, Brock Haley, and Stone Jacobs. Sharkey, who will now take his graduate year at the University of Maryland, admitted that playing in the CTCBLL will help him improve as a defensive midfielder in the field game.
"It is an opportunity to work on my stick skills in a fun and creative way," said Sharkey. "I enjoy it a ton. In my transition position, it plays to my skill set, which is taking care of the defensive end first and helping put our goalie and team in a good spot. At the same time, I get the opportunity to take the ball and bring it up. I can set my teammates up or let the forwards do the work."
Kyle Morrison was another standout this season in the CTCBLL, playing for the Copperheads. The Essex Community College midfielder completed his first season in the CTCBLL as a First Team All-Star.
"I was totally in shock. I didn't even know that it was a thing," he said. "I was super grateful and very happy."
Morrison could not say enough about his inaugural season in the CTCBLL, as the Copperheads reached the Constitutional Cup semifinals but lost 11-5 to the eventual champion Generals.
"It's so much fun. I have a blast when I am out there," he said. "It just helps you get better. I missed three years of lacrosse. Two because of COVID and one because I transferred. It keeps you in shape, and it has so many pros."
The Generals and some of its top players will now get ready for the 2023 National Collegiate Box Series (NCBC) National Championships. The four-day event will take place from August 13-16 at the 1,200-seat Utica Nexus Center in Utica, NY. Now in its fourth year, the National Championships will have its largest field ever, with teams competing from San Diego, San Jose, Ohio, Colorado, Buffalo, Rochester, Connecticut, DC Area, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Louisville.
"It's going to be great competition. That's going to be exciting, for sure," said Ginder. "The more people you get in the leagues, the more people you see from all over the country. I know one of our teammates from school is Marquez White, who plays in the California Collegiate Box Lacrosse League. I'm pretty sure he's coming out. It's great seeing the box expanding all across the United States."