Over the final 36 minutes of the state Prep A boys’ lacrosse title game last Monday, second-seeded Hun School battled the top-seeded and perennial champion Lawrenceville School to a 5-5 stalemate.
Unfortunately for Hun, though, it dug a 6-1 hole in the first quarter which proved insurmountable as host Lawrenceville prevailed 11-6 to win its 13th straight Prep A crown.
Hun head coach M.V. Whitlow acknowledged the his squad was doomed by its rough start.
“I definitely felt like we didn’t play our best lacrosse in the first half but a lot of that you have to attribute to Lawrenceville and how well their players came out and played,” said Whitlow, whose team posted a final record of 13-7.
“It was a tough way for us to end the season. I do think we got some good play from a few guys but collectively, whether it was the magnitude of the game or the youth of our team, we didn’t play our best lacrosse today. I have a lot of respect for the Lawrenceville program and certainly their players.”
In Whitlow’s view, his team is entitled to respect for the way it battled to the final whistle.
“We played better in the second half, I think we settled down,” said Whitlow, who got three goals from Drake Roy in the loss with Cole West, Corey Reynolds, and Owen Black chipping in one goal apiece.
“We started doing the little things and a lot of these guys haven’t been in a game of this magnitude so in a lot of ways, it was a good learning experience for them.”
With Hun having fallen 17-6 to Lawrenceville in the 2013 Prep A title contest, Whitlow believes his program is catching up to the Big Red.
“I think on the scoreboard it is narrowed a little bit,” said Whitlow.
“I think the level at which they graduate and the level at which we graduate indicates that we have closed the gap a little bit. They are a great program with great players and it is going to take a heroic effort by somebody to knock them off and not let them get 14 championships in a row.”
Hun received a heroic effort from its senior class this spring. “I am real proud of my senior class; Cam Dudeck was a real leader and Matt Bruno was an unsung hero for us all season long,” said Whitlow, whose Class of 2014 also included James Jannicelli, Chas Goulburn, Michael McKeon, and Reynolds.
The Raiders boast plenty of class in such returning players as Jon Levine Tucker Stevenson, Alex Semler, Michael McMenamin, Christopher Fake, Brendan Black, and Owen Black along with Roy and West.
“We have a lot of great young kids and they’ll come back stronger from this and they’ll go right back to work and get ready for next year,” said Whitlow.
“They are young men of character from great families and I know that they will bounce back from this. I think they are a little embarrassed right now because I think they know they can play a little bit better.”
In Whitlow’s view, his players need to fine-tune things just a little bit to become champions.
“It is just how hard you have to work and how high a level of composure you have to have to really compete at the highest level, not just in the offseason, but actually on the field,” said Whitlow.
“They need to learn the level of focus and execution that it takes to create victory in a game of this magnitude.”