In 2007, Bishop Hendricken won its fourth lacrosse state championship in five years. The Hawks have won a title since – they shocked La Salle for the crown in 2011 – but they haven’t recaptured the dominance of that early-to-mid 2000s era, when they won 66 games in a five-year span and were the state’s premier program.
Whether they can get back there this year remains to be seen, but at least one thing is starting to look pretty similar.
“In terms of depth, we’re kind of back to what we were in the mid-2000s,” said Hendricken head coach Kevin Murray. “I’m not saying we’re as good as those teams, but we’re seeing the same kind of atmosphere. In practices, scrimmages, kids are really pushing each other, and that makes for a great environment.”
The Hawks hope it paves the way for something special. They went 6-4 last year and narrowly missed out on a spot in the state title game when they lost by a goal to Moses Brown in the semifinals. La Salle went on to win its second consecutive championship.
Hendricken lost 11 players to graduation, including All-Stater Alex Perreault and standouts C.J. Marrinan, Darius Jagminas, Dakota Hersey and Jim Iacoi.
But the Hawks have a few standouts back to go with their depth. They started to flex that depth last year, when Perreault went down with an injury and didn’t return. The Hawks regrouped and surged to the finish anyway.
They’re ready for the deep roster to take center stage this year.
“We lost some key guys,” Murray said. “But we’ve got a lot of guys competing really well right now.”
Up front, the Hawks have three experienced attacks back in the fold. Senior Conor Garrahy was a second-team All-State pick last season and one of the leading scorers in the state. Senior Andrew Fera and junior Tyler Williams are also back.
“That’s a good group,” Murray said. “And then we’ve got some young guys pushing those guys.”
Some of the young attacks may end up in the midfield, where the Hawks already have some good depth. Senior Jonathan Finelli is back in the fold after a big junior season, as is senior Andrew Grady. Seniors Tucker Alberigo and Kyle Ellis are looking to make a bigger mark this year, and young players like Bryce Dolan and Lucas Gesmundo are making a good early impression.
On defense, the Hawks have Nick Mariano back as a returning starter. Seniors Liam Watkinson and Brendan Smith return with some experience, as does junior Mike Murray, Kevin’s son.
At every spot on the field, there are plenty of players waiting in the wings behind the penciled-in starters, hence the Hawks’ depth.
“It’s a really deep group,” Kevin Murray said.
In net, the Hawks used two seniors last year and will have to replace them. Senior Eddie Gemma and freshmen Ryan Williams and Sam Milnes are competing for the job.
“We lost the two seniors, but the net is certainly not a problem spot for us,” Murray said. “All three of the goalies we have are good.”
The Hawks are by no means a finished product, but Murray likes what he’s seen so far. The team traveled to Pennsylvania for some preseason action this past weekend and went 2-1.
“We’ve got a lot of work we need to do, but I’m not complaining right now,” Murray said.
Hendricken is hoping that’s the start of something big.
“La Salle has won the most the last few years, but teams are right there,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of parity. We, for sure, are striving to get back to the finals and win it. That’s what we always strive for.”
With Division I teams playing only a 10-game schedule, Hendricken won’t start the season until April 16. It’ll be a quite a start, though, with the Hawks set to visit La Salle at 6:30 p.m.