Bishop Hendricken passed its first test of the season with flying colors on Thursday evening.
In the opener of the Injury Fund round robin at Warwick Vets Middle School, Hendricken cruised past Division I foe East Greenwich, 3-0, in an abbreviated, 30-minute game.
Luke Lockhart got things started when he finished off a left-footed shot out in front after a feed from Chukwudi Onyejose to make it 1-0 in the eighth minute. Onyejose then got in on the scoring himself three minutes later, as he rushed past a couple East Greenwich defenders before drilling a shot low right past the keeper. Finally, Andreus Bargblor capped the scoring off a nice pass from Kevin Torrico in the 22nd minute, with Hendricken taking the shortened contest in persuasive fashion.
“I was happy with that,” Hendricken head coach Michael Rooney said of his team’s effort. “[East Greenwich] is young and we’re not, so I think that showed.”
After a season in which the Hawks compiled the second-best regular-season record in Division I last fall, the team should be confident with a strong core of players returning.
“We have a good group coming back, and we’ve been able to fill some losses with some really good, young kids,” Rooney said. “I’m very comfortable with this team.”
Leading the charge up front will be seniors Chukwuma Onyejose and Chukwudi Onyejose, who have been key members of the team for the past two years. Chukwuma was second on Hendricken in both goals and points last fall, while Chukwudi registered four goals and three assists for seven points.
“We’re going to be looking to them (for offense), but we have some midfielders who can score, as well,” Rooney said of having Chukwudi and Chukwuma Onyejose returning up front.
Torrico and Ewan Noble will be two valuable midfielders returning, with Noble leading the team in assists last season and Torrico flashing his ability at both ends of the field. Noah Perry is another player at midfield who is set to make major contributions.
On defense, senior Andrew Pimental is back after starting in each of the last two seasons, and two other experienced players, Ian Crowe and Bailey Whittacker, will join Pimental to form a strong back line.
In net, junior Ryan Morel will start at keeper for the third straight season. He made 58 saves a season ago to help get the Hawks to the Division I semifinals.
“He’s experienced some of the ups and downs, and has learned by that,” Rooney said of Morel. “That will make him a better keeper and better player.”
Portsmouth, North Kingstown and La Salle should be strong once again in the state’s top division, but Rooney expects the league to be extremely competitive. He’s also confident that his team has the ability to make another deep playoff run this season.
“They can go as far as they want to go, this team,” Rooney said.