The Bishop Hendricken lacrosse team’s goal is simple to describe, but far from simple to accomplish. The Hawks want to be in the finals, every year, with a chance to win the state championship.
Two years ago, they did just that, riding some late-season momentum to an upset over top-seeded La Salle for the title. Last season, they battled into the semifinals, but lost by a goal to Moses Brown.
That hurt, but Hendricken has turned the page. Now it’s focused on reaching its goal again.
“That’s always the goal, to be honest with you,” Hendricken head coach Kevin Murray said. “It’s always nice to say, well you just play the game or whatever, but we’re playing to win.”
In the six-team Division I, everyone makes the playoffs, but there is added incentive to finish in the top two spots. Those teams get byes into the semifinals. Last season, the Hawks didn’t do that, and they’re hoping they can come together a little earlier this time to make a strong regular season showing a reality.
“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back, but we’ve also got a little inexperience,” Murray said. “We’re trying to fight through that right now.”
Most of the inexperience comes on the defensive end, where Hendricken graduated its top three players for the second consecutive year.
The Hawks will have to replace guys like second-team All-Staters James MacKenzie and Mike Pecchia.
“That’s been the problem,” Murray said. “Similar to last year, we lost all three defenseman. We’re really trying to come together a little bit on that end.”
On the flip side, goal-scoring should be a major strength. Hendricken has some of its top players in the midfield and on attack, and is looking to have a strong season offensively.
Up front, junior second-team All-State attackman Conor Garrahy is back in the mix and serving as a captain.
“Goal-scorer, but a little more dimensional this year as far as carrying the ball,” Murray said of Garrahy.
Alongside him is senior captain C.J. Marrinan.
“He played some last year, started some games,” Murray said. “I think he’s come around and his game has gotten a little stronger, he’s gotten a little stronger.”
Joining those two are junior Andrew Fera and senior Dakota Hersey.
Anchoring the midfield is senior captain Alex Perreault, who is one of the most dynamic players in the state. A returning first-team All-State selection, Perreault is slated to attend Johns Hopkins University next year.
Sophomore Tyler Williams, who played attack last year as a freshman, is going to slide back into the midfield, and others like juniors Jonathan Finelli and Andrew Grady and senior Billy DiGiuseppe will fill in around them. Junior Toll Gate transfer Kyle Ellis should also factor in, but he’ll have to sit out the first half of the year per transfer rules.
“He’ll probably help us later on in the second half stretch,” Murray said.
Junior Tucker Alberigo is another versatile player, and he can play both attack and midfield.
Defensively, while the team is rebuilding a little bit, it’s not starting over in net. Senior Jonathan Petteruti is back after making second-team all-division last season, and his play should be a major strength. Senior Chris Cesario is the No. 2 goaltender.
In front of the goal, though, a lot is still being worked out. Junior Nick Mariano and seniors Tyler Perry and Jimmy Iacoi are a few who will get a look.
“We’ve got to see who steps in and takes the role,” Murray said. “That’s where we’re at right now. Between now and next Friday is big in terms of clarifying roles.”
Next Friday, April 12, is the opening league game of the season, where the Hawks will take on defending state champion La Salle at 5 p.m. at Brown University. That game is part of a doubleheader, as Moses Brown and North Kingstown will play afterwards at 7 p.m.
Hendricken has already had a number of scrimmages, as it went up against multiple teams from out of state and East Greenwich. It’s been fairly up and down so far.
“We did alright,” Murray said. “We mixed some guys, matched some guys. We wanted to at least get an initial feel for it.”
It’s all in an effort to put the best possible team on the field and see if it’s good enough to help Hendricken get back to the finals.
They’ve been there in nine of the last 12 seasons. The Hawks want it to be 10 out of 13.
“That’s really always the goal for us,” Murray said. “We want to get to the finals, and we want to win the finals. I’m sure everyone is going to say the same thing, but that’s our goal. Plain and simple, if we don’t get there we’re disappointed.”