Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/31/15
Salesianum School senior AJ Witherell had a hard time forgetting the pain of the 2014 state championship game defeat to Cape Henlopen – especially as his Sals prepared for Saturday’s title-game rematch with the same Vikings.
“We’ve been waiting all year for this game,” said Witherell, after Sallies routed Cape, 16-5 at Caravel Aacdemy for its fourth crown in five years. “It’s great to get a second chance; it’s not too often you get a second chance. Last year’s game was heartbreaking; and we knew it wouldn’t happen again.”
Last year Cape Henlopen won, 9-7, after getting off to a good start. This time, the Sals scored three goals in the first 90 seconds and dominated the entire way. Witherell had six goals and Mike Drake added five goals and three assists.
“Last year we didn’t get out to a hot start and this year we wanted to get to a good start and keep it going and deflate them in the beginning,” Witherell said. “Once we had it, we stuck with it.”
Salesianum School led, 9-2, at halftime, and also got outstanding goaltending from senior Ryan Kern, who had 11 saves and made it difficult for Cape to make any comeback attempts.
“Since the hours after the state championship last year the senior class this year collectively agreed we would only go out as state champions,” said Kern. “As senior leaders the underclassmen bought into our mentality and every one knew we had one goal for the whole season, to earn a state championship as brothers, as a family.”
“Our senior class has been playing together since 5th or 6th grade in youth ball and there was no other way we wanted to go out,” said Witherell. “We had a couple tough losses by one goal, against Malvern Prep and Bishop O’Connell and we fought hard against Hill Academy. We knew our schedule had prepared us and that there was going to be no letdown in the last game.”
The Sals won each of their state tourney games by 10 or more goals.
“The post season was such a success because of our indomitable will to win,” said Kern. “We wanted this more than anything and everyone a part of this family stepped up from practice to game time. Thus, by pushing each other near the end of the season ultimately led to accomplishing our goal.
“For the two days leading up to the championship we watch hours of film and discussed exactly what Cape was going to do. As a defense we knew how Cape was going to try and run its offense and we shut it down. I saw it happen during the game; I was incredibly prepared for whatever type of offense Cape would throw at us.”
Salesianum School 16, Cape Henlopen 5
Cape Henlopen 0 2 3 0 – 5
Salesianum 4 5 4 3 – 16
Erik-Stephane Stancofski 2g, 1a
Alex Marshall 1g
Matthew Lally 1g
Jacob C. Brown 1g
Kyle Orton 1a
James Ashby 1a
Chris Argo 5 saves
AJ Witherell 6g
Mike Drake 5g, 3a
Sam Fink 2g, 1a
Garrett Cannon 1g, 1a
Christian Baldi 1g
Terry Logue 1a
Jamie Hobbs 1a
Luke Bianchino 1g
Ryan Kern 11 saves