Home Local Sports Salesianum lacrosse, forced to wait two years to reclaim state championship, never...

Salesianum lacrosse, forced to wait two years to reclaim state championship, never lost focus

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The Sals rush over to celebrate with their schoolmates and other supporters following the win. Bud Keegan Images

DOVER — A loss in the DIAA boys lacrosse championship game two years ago remained fresh in the minds of Salesianum’s players when they met up with Cape Henlopen for the rematch on May 27 at Dover High School. Among those celebrating on the turf after the 12-10 victory were several young men who would were seniors in 2020 but never got the chance to avenge that defeat since the 2020 season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve waited a very long time for this game, and we did it. We did it,” said junior Caelan Driggs, who was a freshman on that 2019 squad. “It means a lot to these seniors who couldn’t be here last year.”

Senior goalkeeper Wyatt Skinner played a key role in both wins over Cape this season, one in the regular season at Abessinio Stadium and again in Dover. He made several key stops as the Sals clung to a fourth-quarter lead against the Vikings.

Skinner missed the title game two years ago, but he was as hungry as any of his teammates to get back on top. He said the Sals did not need any motivation to get through practice this season.

“We were beating each other up every day. We were trying to get back here. Took it one game at a time, and then as soon as the playoffs started, we locked in on state. That’s all we were focused on,” he said.

Matt Riley, the senior faceoff specialist, said the team had previous members of the lacrosse program in mind, and also Cpl. Keith Heacook, the Delmar police officer who was killed in the line of duty in late April.

“This has been the sole focus for two years now. I think everything I’ve done led up to this moment,” he said.

One other senior who celebrated despite not being able to play was Chris Wong. He missed much of the season with an injury, and after he finally got a few games under his belt, he broke his ankle against IMG Academy (Fla.) toward the end of the season. Wong watched the championship game from a scooter on the sideline and had a big smile on his face afterward.

“It was definitely hard getting hurt, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play, but I had complete confidence in everyone else on the team that they would step up and get the job done. I never doubted it for a second,” he said.

“It’s just what this program is built on, next man up. We took control and got the job done.”

Wong scored three goals to lead the Sals against Cape Henlopen in that 2019 final, but they were not enough. The memory bothered him.

“I thought about it every single day. Every single day,” he said. “It definitely feels good. It just feels good to bring the trophy home.”

Driggs and the other underclassmen will return in 2022 looking to add to Salesianum’s 11 state titles. For the seniors, they hold on to the bonds created through lacrosse.

“We all hang out together. That’s all we talk about. It’s awesome to be able to do it with this group, these seniors, some of my best friends,” he said.