By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/5/14
Practice begins in just slightly over 3 weeks for most high school teams in the region, but the championship game tonight at Maplezone Field House provided a sneak preview.
Savannah Strong, comprised mostly of players from Delaware power Salesianum School, claimed the High School “A” title with an 18-10 victory over Jags Lax. Savannah Strong defeated Ridley, 16-10, earlier today in the semifinals after breaking open an 8-8 game at halftime.
Jags Lax had toppled Penncrest, 15-14, in the semis.
“This helps us, just us getting together and having some fun before getting serious for the season,” said Savannah Strong goalie Ryan Kern, a 2015 Navy commit at Salesianum. “We were fine-tuning our skills. Only 24 days until the season.”
Kern said his teammates at Salesianum are indeed primed for the season. The three-time defending state champion Sals cracked the national rankings last year and again figure to be a national power.
“Our transition was a big boost tonight,” he said. “We were going up and down and staying with the ball, creating turnovers. That led to goals. And the defense was outstanding.”
Kern said the winter success can carry over into the season for Salesianum.
“We are putting in a lot of hard work,” he said. “That’s that’s what the program is built off of. We have been putting time in the weight room. We want to win another state championship and get nationally recognized again.”
Freddy Freibott, a 2014 defenseman headed to Ohio State, said the winter league was helpful in defining roles for the coming season.
“We started to really play as a team,” he said. “We got to see roles; who are going to be the scorers and who are making assists. The defense was clicking and we have a good feeling going into the season knowing our roles and how everyone plays together.”
Freibott noted that the team has a number of returning starters and also some new talent ready to step up.
“Going into the season we have a strong group returning,” he said. “Our entire defense is back and our entire offense returns. We lose a lot of midfielders, but we have young talent and with the group we have here we’ll definitely be a dominating force in the state and the country.”
In Wednesday’s games, Savannah Strong was solid on both attack and defense as well as transition. “Today we played as a team and the defense pushed the ball,” he said. “We played well in transition and capitalized on our opportunities.”
Matt Garrabrant, a 2014 attackman, said, “This is huge for our young guys to gain confidence coming into the season.
“It starts March 1 and we have a good taste in our mouths. Coming off last year when we were in the Top 25 in the nation, we plan to be a dominant force.”
Garravant was happy with his team’s effort in the championship tournament.
“We played two games against two great teams,” he said. “We capitalized on a lot of opportunities and the young guys got a lot of runs and tried to move the ball as much as possible.
“We were working as a single unit. There was no individual play, it was a team effort.”