Boys Varsity Lacrosse Celebrates Mercer County Tournament Championship and Great Season at Team Dinner Tonight
Plus: Varsity Baseball Plays for NJISAA Prep State Championship Thursday 5/16, 7pm!
Congratulations to the Panther Varsity Boys Lacrosse team and Coach Joe Moore and his crew for a fantastic 13-3 season capped off with a thrilling 7-6 win last Thursday night over Notre Dame for the team's fourth consecutive Mercer County Tournament championship! The team will be honored this evening at a dinner celebration for players and coaches. We caught up with Coach Moore for a preview of remarks he'll be sharing about the team's winning season.
"This was a great year for PDS lacrosse, and I am thankful for the support of all of the staff, players and families for helping make my first season as head coach a great one," Coach Moore explains. "I've discovered a new level of passion for this game thanks to all of them. I'm particularly grateful to have found supportive and caring coaches (Josh Frechette, Varsity Assistant Coach; Tommy Davis, JV Head Coach; and Chris Izzard, JV Assistant Coach) who all bring something unique to the table and who played important roles in helping maintain a winning tradition at PDS this year."
Coach Moore reflected on the many high points and also the times of adversity that fueled growth and ultimately contributed to a journey of champions this season. The team suffered some early setbacks and a heartbreaking 12-11 loss two weeks ago to Lawrenceville in a run for the NJISAA Prep tournament.
"What I am most proud of our players for this year is how they've come together and supported one another on and off the field," says Coach Moore. The strong relationships the boys have with each other outside of team time has been an important factor in their success. "This year's 30 players have created and developed a brotherhood that they'll remember forever," he explains, working together as experienced upperclass peers and also taking responsibility for mentoring newer, younger players.
This fourth consecutive championship season, like the previous three, featured a great group of seniors who were instrumental in leading the team forward: goalie Connor Green, Coby Auslander, Sam Bernardi, Jimmy O'Connor, Matt Kuenne, Ben Blitz and Declan Rourke. All team members -- including juniors Jake Bennett, Cal Caputo, Andrew Ciccarone, Kevin Dougherty, Liam Jones, Josh Rafferty, Eyal Yakoby and Freddie Young; sophomores including stalwarts Drew McConaughy and Gibson Linnehan, along with Hector Capeilleres, Bruno Cucchi, Aleksei Darenkov, Alex Gardner, Eric Gellasch, Trevor Kunkle, Aidan McChesney and William Newman; and freshmen Trevor Mackles, Willem Albert, Walker Aprill and Max Johnson played important roles this season in keeping the team sharp, on the attack and supporting each other all along the way.
Coach Moore felt the weight of history to earn the Mercer County tournament crown as he succeeded the previous head coach Rich D'Andrea, who had brought home the MCT championship for the past three years. "It is a weight off my shoulders to get this win," Coach Moore told local reporter Bill Alden, who covers high school sports for Town Topics. "It really comes down to my coaching staff and these kids. They have played their butts off all year and they deserve every piece of this." We cheer with them as they celebrate their season, and each other, at their team dinner tonight! More team results, including athlete awards for lacrosse and all PDS spring athletic teams, will be forthcoming after the Spring Sports Awards Assembly on May 22.
Photos of Mercer County Tournament championship game action and celebration courtesy of Robin McConaughy.
Keep your Panther pride going! Support PDS Varsity Baseball's quest for the NJISAA Prep State Championship at the field or tune in tomorrow for what should be a great final! The Panthers play Rutgers Prep at 7pm at Diamond Nation field in Flemington. Watch it here, as it is live streamed by Play by Play Productions.
- Melanie Shaw