By David A. Willauer
For Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/6/19, Updated 6/7/19
Cape Henlopen used a 6-0 run to break open a tight game as it defeated Salesianum School, 12-10, Thursday night for the Delaware boys’ lacrosse state championship at Caesar Rodney High.
It was the first state title for Cape (18-2) since it downed Sallies for the crown in 2014. Salesianum had won the past four crowns.
Jack Dennis scored three goals while Gabriel Best, Luke D’Ambrogi (five assists) and Greg Boyce each scored a pair. Baxter Travers registered 14 saves. Sallies dominated the faceoff X, winning 20 of 25 behind Matt Riley and Matteo Gariffo.
“It feels awesome,” said D’Ambrogi. “We worked really hard to get here. We’ve been together for years, some of the seniors since first grade.
“We’ve been through all the indoor and winter training, weightlifting, and off-season stuff in order to have that feeling of throwing our equipment in the air when the final game ends.”
“I believe it was our team chemistry,” Boyce added. “We always break down and say ‘family’ in the huddle and this team means it. There is love between every player and coach on this team. We wanted to win for one another and not just for ourselves. I believe that is what lead us to our successes.”
Best scored twice in the second period to give the Vikings a 4-3 lead in the second period. Boyce and D’Ambrogi followed with tallies in the third period to make it 6-3 and Adem Tekmen added another before another goal by Boyce made it 8-3. The Sals never got closer than two goals.
“We played fast and took care of the ball,” D’Ambrogo said. “We played hard and with a lot of energy. We also cleared the ball well; we knew they were good in transition and that they’d take the ball and put it down our throats if we didn’t clear the ball.”
Cape also won the regular season game, 12-8, at the Dave Reynolds Festival held at Wesley College. Sallies had defeated Cape Henlopen in the state semis last year and in the finals in 2017.
“When we came in on March 1 we knew this is what we wanted to do,” D’Ambrogi said. “We realized we could do it probably about the middle of season when we beat South River of Maryland. They are good and we realized we had the talent. We just needed to put it together. Then two weeks later we beat Salesianum and we just kept going.”
The Sals (11-8) were led by Christopher Wong with 3 goals. Logan Falconetti had two goals and two assists. Jake Machiafava registered 9 saves for the Sals.
This was Cape Henlopen’s sixth title overall.
“We had a lot of experience – big game experience,” said D’Ambrogi. “We played a lot of seniors that had been playing together a long time and we just have this camaraderie that I can’t really describe.
“This team is like a family, they are my brothers. I know it’s a cliche, but there is a different dynamic on this team. It’s not like other teams where we play lacrosse for three months and go our separate ways. We hang out all the time and we love each other. That’s our greatest strength.”
Boyce said Cape Henlopen never looked ahead, just at themselves.
“Our team respected every opponent we faced,” said Boyce. “We truly just wanted to be the best that we could be. We didn’t want focus who was in front of us, but rather who we were going to be.”
Cape Henlopen 12, Salesianum School 10
Salesianum 2 1 0 7 10
Cape Henlopen 1 3 4 4 12
Goals (Salesianum)-Wong 3, Falconetti 2, McGovern 1, Garrison 1, Cannon1, Mooney 1, C. Bushweller 1
Goals (Cape Hen) –J. Dennis 3,G. Best 2, L. D’Ambrogi 2, G. Boyce 2, A. Tekman 1, B. Gipko 1, J. Heid 1
Assists (Salesianum)- Falconetti 2, Santos’s 2, Cannon 1
Assists (Cape Hen) -L. D’Ambrogi 5, A. Tekman 1
Saves (Salesianum)- Marchiafava 9
Saves (Cape Hen) -Travers 14
Recent Delaware state champions
2019 – Cape Henlopen 12, Salesianum School 10
2018 – Salesianum School 14, Caesar Rodney 9
2017 – Salesianum School 13, Cape Henlopen 5
2016 – Salesianum School 16, Appoquinimink 7
2015 – Salesianum School 16, Cape Henlopen 5
2014 – Cape Henlopen 9, Salesianum School 7
2013 – Salesianum School 18, Caesar Rodney 4
2012 – Salesianum School 13, Caesar Rodney 2
2011 – Salesianum School 7, Tower Hill 5
2010 – Tower Hill 5, Salesianum School 4, 2 OT
2009 – Salesianum School 13, Tower Hill 4
2008 – Cape Henlopen 8, Salesianum School 7
2007 – Salesianum School 12, Wilmington Friends 5