April 3, 2019

With Goalie Craven Assuming Take Charge Role, Hun Boys’ Lacrosse Produces Promising 2-0 Start

CRAVING SUCCESS: Hun School boys’ lacrosse goalie Gabe Craven guards the cage last Thursday as Hun hosted Princeton Day School in its season opener. Junior star Craven made 11 saves to help Hun prevail 13-5. The Raiders, who improved to 2-0 with a 16-2 win at Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Saturday, host Lawrenceville on April 6 and then play at Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gabe Craven was looking to fit in last year as he joined the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team and took over the starting goalie role.

“As a younger player last year, I was learning it all, being new to the program,” said Craven.

Craven learned those lessons well, helping Hun win the state Prep A title, making 15 saves as Hun defeated Lawrenceville 9-6 in the championship game.

This spring, Craven has assumed a take charge attitude. “I think I have done a better job of being a leader on the field,” said Craven, who has committed to attend the Naval Academy and play for its men’s lax program. “If we are not loud and playing hard, I have got to help pick them up.”

Hosting PDS in its season opener, Hun played hard from the opening whistle, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the way to a 13-5 triumph.

“Whoever comes out and attacks first, that really sets the tone for the game and makes a big difference down the stretch,” said Craven. “They are always a real good team. It is always a fight and you have to come out here and play your best.”

The Hun defensive unit fought hard as it repeatedly stymied the Panther attack.

“I really can’t do anything without my defense, they are out there and balling out,” said Craven, who ended up with 11 saves in the victory.

“If they are not making stops with me, I am not going to play well. They help me feel comfortable out there because I know if [Jack] Ruddy or [Blake] Hansen is on a guy, they are probably going to make a stop. I thought I was seeing the ball really well; they are giving me the shots that I want. It is a unit.”

Hun head coach MV Whitlow liked what he saw at the defensive end. “I was most pleased with the defensive effort because PDS does have some good weapons and I thought we defended them pretty well,” said Whitlow.

“We gave Gabe the looks that we want to give him. He made the saves we needed and the defense played as a unit, which is good. They communicated well.”

The Raider attack also looked very sharp, outscoring PDS 5-1 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

“We are happy to get out out of the blocks early to a fast start; I thought the decision-making on the field was veteran,” said Whitlow, who got five goals from senior star Devon Cowan. Junior Trevor Deubner, junior Grant Hansen, and senior Jake Wright chipped in two apiece. “We spread things around which was good, we were dynamic which is what we wanted to be.”

Whitlow is happy with how his players have bonded. “The team chemistry is good, they believe in each other,” said Whitlow, whose team topped Mercersberg Academy (Pa.) 16-2 last Saturday to improve to 2-0 and will host archival Lawrenceville on April 6 and then play at Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on April 8.

“They respect each other; it is a consistency with these guys that they treat each other with a lot of respect.”

Craven, for his part, sees that chemistry as fueling success this spring. “As a team we are a unit, hanging out everyday after school, getting excited for practice,” said Craven. “I think we can do some really special things this year.”