Hampton boys lacrosse adds to winning culture with playoff season
Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 11:01 AM
When Andy DeMichiei took over the Hampton boys lacrosse program, he wanted to build the culture that would restore the Talbots program to the success it had for over a decade.
The Talbots have continued to build that culture as Hampton finished third in the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs this season in DeMichiei’s second year. The finish earned the Talbots a spot in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs.
No. 4 Hampton (15-8) beat No. 3 Penn-Trafford, 14-8, in the third-place consolation game at Robert Morris on May 24.
“I think anytime you find yourself in a third-place game, it gives you a good sense of what your team’s culture is. Obviously with not playing in the championship game, there’s not a whole lot on the line,” DeMichiei said. “Going into the game, our focus as a team was just to buy more time together. It was a testament to our team’s culture that those guys were able to get up and play together. I think we got 10-13 more days by playing that game.”
The Talbots earned a spot in the matchup after defeating No. 13 Seton LaSalle, 20-4, in the opening round and beating No. 12 North Catholic, 9-3 in the quarterfinals. However, Hampton ran into No. 1 Mars, the eventual WPIAL champion, and lost, 18-4, on May 22.
Hampton has reached the postseason 13 times in the past 14 years. Hampton advanced to the WPIAL Class 2A finals eight times from 2009-19, winning four championships.
The Talbots’ run came to an end in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs after a 16-0 loss to Lampeter Strasburg, the District 3 champion, on June 6.
“I want our guys to get that state playoff game experience,” DeMichiei said. “Our senior class was tremendously good in the regular season, and they’ve fallen short a couple times in the playoffs. This year was the first time for that senior class they made it out of the quarterfinal round at WPIALs.
“Now, the younger guys have that experience of playing in a semifinal WPIAL game, playing in a third-place game, going to state playoffs and seeing what that’s like to travel across the state to play a team that’s really good.”
Hampton improved on their 8-8 record and a quarterfinal loss to South Fayette in the WPIAL playoffs in 2022.
This season, the Talbots earned big wins over West Chester Henderson and Seneca Valley as they scheduled challenging nonsection games with Class 3A schools.
The Talbots were led offensively by freshman attacker Eli Schwarzbach, a second-team all-section selection, who finished with 70 points (30 goals, 40 assists). Senior midfielder Maddox Lohr, a first-team all-section selection, finished with a team-high 45 goals and was second with 57 points.
Freshman attacker Levi Whitfield finished with 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists). Senior attacker Jake Krempasky was fourth on the team with 44 points and second with 33 goals.
On the back end, the Talbots were led by senior goalie Kaden Hoolahan, long stick midfielder Sean Donlan, junior defender Gabe Gannelli and sophomore defender Nolan Harris. Hoolahan, Donlan and Gannelli were first-team all-section selections, while Harris received second-team honors. In addition to his all-section selection, Donlan was also an All-WPIAL selection.
“I give the senior class a tremendous amount of credit with what they’ve done with buying into the new culture. They did a good job in pushing that culture down to the younger guys,” DeMichiei said. “They are leaving a legacy behind them, and they are giving the younger guys the tools they need to step into a leadership role or playing a couple more minutes as we lose some guys.”
As DeMichiei starts to turn the page to next season, he will look for continued growth from his underclassmen who will return next year, including midfielders Daniel Leyes and Joey Nelson.
“I think we are going to get a hungry group back next year who’s eager to compete and hopefully win a couple more games against 3A teams,” DeMichiei said.
“I think we got caught when we played 3A teams. When our guys stepped on the field, they were a little bit wide-eyed. I think the guys will get used to playing that more difficult schedule, but we may take some licks. That’s the next step in our program, to be competing against those 3A teams like you see Mars and South Fayette doing.”
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