Even though the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team trailed Lawrenceville 17-6 last Monday with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter of the state Prep A championship game, Greg Flood was still battling.
The Hun senior star defender and team co-captain bulled his way through a group of Lawrenceville players to snatch a ground ball and give the Raiders one last possession.
While Hun ended up falling by that 17-6 margin, Raider head coach M.V. Whitlow had no qualms about the effort he got from Flood and his teammates.
“I was proud of all of our players; we never gave up,” said first-year head coach Whitlow, whose team dropped to 10-6 with the setback.
“It is a tough loss but I just told the players that we have a lot to be proud of. Our goals for the season have been accomplished. We slightly overachieved and we have a strong sense of who we are and we have a strong self-awareness.”
Whitlow credited the strong leadership from his seniors as a key factor in the team’s achievements this spring.
“The seniors really gave us great leadership,” asserted Whitlow.
“Zach Bicho going down with injury and he still remained as almost a coach. Flood and [Zach] Winterstein were great.”
In the game with Lawrenceville, which has now won 13 straight Prep A titles, Whitlow acknowledged that getting down by 11-3 at half put the Raiders behind the eight-ball.
“When it was 7-3, that’s what you want to do in a game like this against a team this talented, to stay close,” said Whitlow, whose team gave up four goals in the last 2:56 of the half.
“It was the clearing mistakes that undid us. You have to attribute Lawrenceville’s ability to ride. I thought that the riding and clearing game was where the game got away from us.”
In the second half, Hun played the Big Red tighter, as the teams played a 3-3 third quarter before Lawrenceville tallied the last three goals of the contest.
“The message at halftime was stay focused, keep doing the little things, clean up the clearing game a little bit, and keep shooting,” said Whitlow, who got two goals apiece from Owen Black and Winterstein with Alex Semler and Corey Reynolds each adding one.
“We didn’t want to regret the shots that we didn’t take today. We didn’t want to slow it down. When you play against a team as talented as Lawrenceville, you have to clear the ball and you have to possess the ball. Give their defense a lot of credit, they are very athletic and their defense was very well coached.”
Hun has some good athletes in such returning players as Owen and Brendan Black together with Semler and Cam Dudeck.
“Both Brendan and Owen are natural leaders; they set high standards for themselves and are very respected by their teammates,” said Whitlow.
“I thing Alex Semler did a real good job today. Cam Dudeck was a leader back there on defense. He is a junior.”
In Whitlow’s view, the Raiders have the potential to be really good in the future.
“The young foundation is in place and, most importantly, the work ethic is there,” asserted Whitlow.
“These players really want to work hard and the commitment level is there. I think our game IQ has gone up quite a bit. I think our stick skills have improved. We can get older, we can get bigger, we can get stronger. Those are all good things. We have a lot of things to build on.”
While the defeat to Lawrenceville stung, the experience should help Hun in its growth process.
“They can take that they are young, that they have room for growth and they can learn,” said Whitlow. “They just have to stick together.”