Bethel Park boys lacrosse team found plenty of bright spots despite roster challenges

Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Bethel Park’s boys lacrosse team had big designs for the 2022 season.

“Our ultimate goals (were) to bring a section championship back to Bethel and win our first WPIAL championship,” said senior midfielder Max Radcliffe in discussing the team earlier in the season.

The Black Hawks did qualify for the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, where they lost to Seneca Valley, 12-7, in the first round. Coincidentally, Bethel Park finished with a 12-7 record.

“The coaching staff and I are extremely proud of the way our seniors battled throughout the season,” coach Tim Schreiber said. “All 12 seniors had great final seasons. All of them exceeded our expectations. We had a very thin roster and all those guys played through injuries all year.

“It’s unfortunate we came up short at the end of the season.”

Radcliffe, who was lauded as an Academic All-American, ranked among the team leaders in scoring with 44 goals and 21 assists, good for 62 points. Radcliffe graduated with a 4.2 GPA and plans to continue his lacrosse career while majoring in business at Saint Vincent.

“My final thoughts of the season,” Radcliffe said, “are just how well we faced adversity with our small roster size and how much time and effort we put into games and especially practice. Although we didn’t reach our ultimate goal of the WPIAL championship, I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates that I’m lucky to call my friends.”

Two of the 2022 team leaders were Matt Kopp, a senior attacker, and Owen Peters, a senior goalkeeper. Both were All-WPIAL and all-section selections.

Kopp wrestled the Black Hawks’ top offensive role away from last year’s leading scorer, Troy Volpatti, a senior midfielder who was named all-section.

Kopp graduated with a 3.5 GPA and plans to study criminology at Ohio University. He finished with a team-high 64 goals and 16 assists.

“I think we had a really solid group of returning starters, but depth and injuries started to take a toll on us toward the end of the year,” Kopp said. “I’ve played lacrosse for 12 years. I played sports like football and basketball growing up but decided to take lacrosse more serious around seventh grade.

“I think I had a very good year. I played with the most confidence I’ve ever had, and I was just playing to have fun. I think that’s when I was most effective.”

BP’s senior class consisted of attackers Alex Greene and Weston Konopka, midfielder Kelton Kramer, defensemen Robbie Abraham, Parker Cardamone, Evan Crist, Dylan Wentz and Nathan Yoder, along with Kopp, Peters, Radcliffe and Volpatti.

Greene ranked second in scoring with 44 goals and 31 assists. Kopp (80 points), who played on the boys golf team last fall, and Greene (75 points) presented a formidable one-two punch on offense.

“I think we handled adversity well considering how small of a roster we had,” Greene said. “We had a lot of younger guys with little or no varsity experience step up and fill positions when necessary. I also believe we had one of the most efficient and lethal offenses in the WPIAL. We had six guys on the field who could dodge and score at any given time.

“Defensively, we had guys who could match up well with anyone, and having the best goalie in the WPIAL making huge saves every game was obviously a big help. It’s a shame we came up short of our goals, but I’m proud of how our team played this season.”

Kramer, Peters and Volpatti were fourth-year lettermen this season. Kramer ended up with 23 goals and 24 assists.

Peters, who will attend Mount St. Mary’s, actually netted one goal.

Volpatti, a two-sport standout, clicked for 32 goals and 31 assists (63 points). He will continue as a dual-sport athlete at Washington & Jefferson, competing in football and lacrosse.

Konopka also ranked among the team’s leading scorers with 22 goals and 13 assists.

Bethel Park’s starting lineup consisted of Kopp, Greene and Konopka at the attack position; Kramer, Volpatti and Radcliffe at offensive midfield; juniors Zack Bush and Mitchell Graham at defensive midfield; Yoder, Wentz and Abraham on defense; Cardamone at long stick midfielder and Peters at goalkeeper.

“I think we had a great season and accomplished great things as a team, even though we didn’t quite get to that promised land like we had hoped,” Abraham said. “Losing in the first round was a very sharp pain and I don’t think any of us saw it coming.

“Even with the loss, I’m proud of the performance we put together all season, and I’m happy I got to experience the growth and development as an individual and a team throughout the year.”


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