By David A. Willauer & Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/1/14
Blake Mann scored the game-winner and had five in all while Grant Gillan made 12 stops to lead Cape Henlopen to a stunning 9-7 victory over Salesianum School Saturday night in the Delaware boys’ lacrosse state championship at Caravel Academy.
Cape Henlopen (17-3) won its first state crown since 2008 and snapped a 47-game in-state win streak by the three-time defending champion Sals, who are ranked No. 3 by Phillylacrosse.com.
Gillan, a senior signed with Monmouth, made several key saves in the closing minutes as the Vikings avenged a 14-7 loss to the Sals 19 days earlier.
“I feel awesome,” said Gillan. “No one really believed we were going to win besides us and the community, who all came to the game wanting us to take it to them. After the game we felt a huge weight off our shoulders; we wanted to prove the state (powers are) not strictly Salesianum.”
The game was tied, 7-7, when Mann took a feed from Michael Hopkins to make it 8-8 with 10:46 to play. Mann then added an insurance goal with 8:47 left and the Cape Henlopen defense along with Gillan did the rest.
“We battled the entire game and kept pushing and pushing,” Gillan said. “When Blake Mann scored those two goals, we thought, ‘Wow, we are going to win this.
“Throughout the game coach (Jack Lingo) said to give a full 48 minutes. It got into our heads to go full out for four quarters. We just wanted to play 100 percent. We made no mental mistakes; it was a perfect night.
“Everyone played phenomenal. When Sallies went up, no one would panic. We kept on trucking and everyone kept their heads up.”
The game went back and forth all night. Luke Bianchino put the Sals up 4-3 with 10:50 left in the second quarter, but Mann tied it and Hopkins put his team up, 5-4, with 17 seconds left in the half.
Salesianum tied it, 6-6, in the third period on a goal by Andrew Witherell and Todd Keen (two goals) made it 7-6 with 9:13 left in the quarter before Sam Fink (two goals) tied it for Salesianum with 1:19 to play in the period.
Jason Kelly led the Sals with three goals and two assists.
How did Cape Henlopen respond from the 14-7 loss to Salesianum on May 12?
“Just from watching the film of the game we knew we could play better,” Gillan said. “We had 15 turnovers in the first half and they capitalized on a lot of them.
“We knew if each person did his certain job, together we could win this game. Maybe them beating us by quite a bit could be in our favor going into the game. Everyone knew their job and we fixed everything we needed to fix and then some.”
Cape Henlopen ties Salesianum School for the most states titles with six. The title is similar to the 2008 championship when Cape defeated Salesianum, 8-7, for the crown. The Sals entered that game at 17-0 having whipped Cape, 10-2, in the season’s first game.
“Most of the private schools upstate have players that came from different middle schools,” said Gillan. “But we have been playing together with the same exact guys since third and fourth grade.
“Being together and ending like this, with my best friends in our last game a Cape Henlopen is unbelievable. It’s magical. It couldn’t turn out better, winning our first state title since 2008 with my best friends.”
This article will be updated with comments from Cape Henlopen.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Cook/Cape Gazette – http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/
Cape Henlopen 9, Salesianum School 7
Cape Henlopen 3-2-2-2- 9
Salesianum 3-1-3-0- 7
Blake Mann 5g
Todd Keen 2g
Michael Hopkins 1g, 1a
Kyle Orton 1g
Grant Gillen 12 saves
Jason Kelly 3g, 2a
Sam Fink 2g
Andrew Witherell 1g
Luke Bianchino 1g