Home Local Sports Salesianum School lacrosse overcomes injuries for latest DIAA lacrosse triumph

Salesianum School lacrosse overcomes injuries for latest DIAA lacrosse triumph

The Sals hoist the state championship trophy, their 14th overall in boys lacrosse, after a win over Cape Henlopen on June 3 at Dover High School. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

DOVER — The latest DIAA boys lacrosse state championship for Salesianum was, in one way, very similar to the previous two. All have been by two-goal margins over Cape Henlopen. This year’s final score, 13-11, was identical to last year’s. But if you ask the Sals, much was different in 2023.

The team certainly had another superb season, to be sure. They went 10-4 in the regular season, with all four losses coming to out-of-state powers. They defeated Malvern Prep (Pa.) in overtime and all of their Delaware foes, including Cape Henlopen. But they did so while battling injuries that took out several pieces of their starting lineup.

One of the players who had to sit out the championship game was senior Jack Gormley. He hurt his knee during the semifinal win over Wilmington Friends, and he found out at halftime of the title game that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But he was confident in the Sals’ deep talent pool to come up big against the Vikings.

Gormley, who has committed to study and play lacrosse at Villanova University, said he saw the team come together as the injuries pile up.

“It’s insane,” he said of the situation. “We’ve been facing adversity all year.”

Salesianum seniors Aidan Lucey (right) and Jack Gormley embrace after the win over Cape Henlopen. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

He was in uniform for the Cape game on June 3 at Dover High School and was testing the knee at halftime. Although he was ultimately unable to play, Gormley was trying to get out there.

“I want to give everything I can to these guys and push myself. As much as I can do on the field, I can do off the field,” he said. The win, he added, was a testament to the “brotherhood” that exists in the lacrosse program.

Sals coach Bob Healy has had to deal with injuries before, but “never to this extent,” he said. “We had six starters that were finished for the season. Jack Gormley is one of the best leaders we’ve ever had, and for him just to be out here today pushing those guys. He’s a great kid. Does a lot for Salesianum.”

One of the juniors, Noah Driggs, made his first appearance of the season in the title tilt after missing the entire regular season and three tournament games because of a knee injury. Driggs had a key assist late in the game as the Sals scored five straight fourth-quarter goals in the comeback win.

He said the drumbeat of injuries can play with guys mentally, but they just have to trust the next guy who gets the nod. This was the worst he’s seen with people getting hurt in his three years in the program.

Salesianum coach Bob Healy addresses the team after their win at Dover High School. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

“Every other week, one more person being injured. It’s been crazy. We’ve been fighting through it all,” Driggs said.

He was cleared to play on May 31, the day of the semifinal against Friends. It was a goal he had the entire season.

“I circled this day on my calendar all year. This is the one game I just wanted to come back for,” he said.

Driggs’ teammate, Rowyn Nurry, was the beneficiary of the fourth-quarter assist that gave Salesianum a 12-10 lead. Nurry said the credit for the goal belonged to Driggs.

“They had the ball, and they were about to clear it, and the guy made a step and tripped,” he said after the game. “Noah picked it up — he just came off an ACL injury; it’s his first game back — picks up the ball, throws it to me.”

Nurry was impressed with the way the Sals responded to their situation, but it was something that did not surprise him.

Salesianum’s lacrosse team reacts after their third straight state championship, this one a 13-11 decision over Cape Henlopen on June 3. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

“We’ve been stressing all season in the huddle, next man up. We’ve had some sophomores step up. We have some offensive guys out, too, and I’ve got a banged up shoulder. But it’s all about next man up. And those guys out there today gave it 100 percent, huge plays,” he said.

For Salesianum, this was their 14th state championship. Healy has been the coach of 13 of them, and he will remember what this squad went through on the way to the championship.

“What they did, to have each other’s backs, the next-man-up mentality, was amazing.”