May 4, 2022

Sparked By Croddick’s Stellar Play at Goalie, Hun Boys’ Lax Catching Fire Heading Into May

SAVING GRACE: Hun School boys’ lacrosse goalie Ryan Croddick makes a save in a game earlier this season. Post-graduate and Princeton University commit Croddick made nine saves to help Hun defeat Haddonfield Memorial 12-4 last Thursday. Hun, which fell 10-9 to the Westtown School (Pa.) last Saturday to move to 7-4, will be starting play in the Mercer County Tournament this week. The Raiders are seeded first in the MCT and will host a quarterfinal contest on May 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After starring at goalie for the Rumson-Fair Haven boys’ lacrosse team and then committing to play at Princeton University, Ryan Croddick decided he needed some more experience before heading to the next level.

Coming to the Hun School for a post-graduate year and joining the school’s boys’ lax program, Croddick is thriving.

“It has really helped me, I missed my junior year because of COVID,” said Croddick. “It is getting an extra year to play, honing my skills before college next year.”

For Croddick, Hun has proved to be a good fit on and off the field.

“The level of lacrosse is pretty similar; Rumson is one of the top public schools in the state,” said Croddick, who also played for the Hun boys’ hockey team this winter. “I am bringing my leadership from the last four years to here and am looking to help the team out. It is a great group of guys, I live on campus with a lot of them.”

Last Thursday, Croddick helped Hun out with some superb play in goal, making nine saves in a 12-4 win over Haddonfield Memorial as the Raider defense stifled the Bulldogs.

“We have really been keying on a zone defense; we have been working on it, running out pretty well in practice and just executing really well in the games,” said Croddick. “Ty Jameson has been talking a lot helping back there, it has been working well. It helps when you have a nice zone around you, I have been seeing the ball pretty well recently.”

The win over Haddonfield marked the Raiders’ fifth victory in its last six games.

“We have a lot of younger guys on our team,” said Croddick. “We are just growing as a team and it is really going well.”

Hun head coach Jim Stagnitta likes what he is seeing from his players as the team heads into the homestretch.

“We are getting better, we really are,” said Stagnitta, who is in his second season at the helm of the Hun program.

“We are starting to execute more consistently. We have gotten better every game in these last three weeks.”

With his extensive background coaching in the college and pro coaching, Stagnitta has thrown a lot at his players.

“It has has been challenging, they had a lot to learn and we knew that from the start,” said Stagnitta, who was the head coach at Rutgers from 2003-2011 and is currently guiding the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club in the Premier Lacrosse League.

“Now they are starting to get it and they are more consistent in what they are doing.”

The Raiders have been giving Stagnitta a consistent effort.

“They are playing hard, they are doing what we ask them to do,” said Stagnitta. “My goal was to make us competitive again and we are getting there.”

The squad’s tough defense has helped make Hun very competitive this spring.

“We play zone because we don’t have a lot of guys,” said Stagnitta. “We are actually really good at it. Ryan Donahue is terrific, he has been great. Ty and our middies play good defense and they are comfortable with it. It causes teams trouble.”

Croddick’s excellence at goalie has helped the Raiders avoid trouble.

“When you have Croddick in the goal, you can give up 12-14 yards shots all day,” said Stagnitta. “I love the kid; he has got such a great demeanor and way about him. He has gotten so much better. He is a good goalie, he just flat out stops shots. I think the extra year has put him in a position where he is a leader and he has a little different experience with these guys and the coaching. My sense is that on a daily basis, we probably rely on him more than Rumson had to every single day. There is a little more pressure on him this year, he covers up a lot of our mistakes.”

With Hun starting play in the Mercer County Tournament this week where it is seeded first and will host a quarterfinal contest on May 7, Stagnitta will be looking for his squad to keep getting better.

“We are going to play with our younger guys in the Mercer County,” said Stagnitta, whose team fell 10-9 to the Westtown School (Pa.) last Saturday to move to 7-4. “I think it is a good experience for my young kids. We only have three PGs.”

In addition to the MCT, the Raiders will be playing in the state Prep A tourney and the National Prep Tournament at the Hill School (Pa.) and Croddick believes they will be ready for those challenges.

“The season is winding down, we have got to key in on some small things to fix up,” said Croddick. “That is pretty much it, we are looking forward to the playoffs.”