By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/8/11
Matt Rambo scored five goals and Kevin Forster added three as La Salle defeated DeMatha (Md.), 9-4, today in the Travis Manion-Brendan Looney Memorial Lacrosse Game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium at Annapolis, Md.
The Explorers improved to 3-3 with the victory, while DeMatha fell to 2-7.
The game, which benefited the Travis Manion Foundation, was played to honor the memories and contributions of 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC, a 1999 La Salle alum; and his close friend LT (SEAL) Brendan Looney, a DeMatha grad.
Manion, a standout lacrosse player and wrestler at La Salle, was killed by a sniper while serving in Iraq on April 29, 2007. Looney was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Sept. 25, 2010. Looney and Manion, roommates at the US Naval Academy, were laid to rest side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Explorers went down to Annapolis early in the day and were given a tour of the Academy, and also got to visit Memorial Hall where they learned more about Mr. Manion and Mr. Looney.
Then La Salle proceeded to play perhaps its best game of the year in a steady downpour. The Explorers took a 4-2 lead at halftime and controlled much of the play in the second half.
“It was really cool; I had never been down to the Naval Academy,” said La Salle senior defenseman and assistant captain Mark DiFrangia. “It’s a nice campus and we went to see the Memorial of Travis and Brendan.
“They said Travis was very competitive and hard-working; the type of kid who never gave excuses for anything. He was passionate about playing lacrosse.”
The Explorers showed their own passion in the game.
“This meant a lot to us as a team and for the all-around perspective of the Foundation,” said DiFrangia, whose team has won three straight games. “We were playing for a soldier that lost his life in Iraq.
“It also was a chance for us to get our team back on track and headed where we need to go. We took a step in the right direction.”
“The whole experience was awesome,” added Forster, the team’s captain. “Playing in this game got everyone fired up. We’re getting back on track a little and hopefully this is a step for us next week.”
Before the game Forster presented flowers to the mothers of Manion and Looney during a brief presentation.
“It was a amazing to see the Naval Academy and play in that stadium,” said La Salle senior midfielder and assistant captain Jack Bogorowski. “It’s a great stadium to play lacrosse in and it was great to play for Travis Manion and Brendan Looney, and to honor their families.
“It also was great to play against a great team like DeMatha. I think we played our best game of the year.”
Bogorowski said the Explorers – the PA state champions in 2008 and 2009 and the runner-up in 2010 – have a lot of new regulars this year.
“I think so have lot of different guys, especially on the defensive end and it took a little time to adjust,” he said. “We are starting to click and we’ll only get better form this point.”
Forster said Manion’s legacy is clear.
“We heard about how tough of a kid he was and that he’d do anything for anyone else,” he said. “That was the main point.”
DiFrangia said the Explorers’ defense is beginning to jell.
“We gave up 11, 12 and 8 goals in our first three games and we only gave up four today,” he said. “And two or three were on man-down situations or unsettled plays. We’re playing all-around defense a lot better.”
Tags: La Salle