Hampton boys lacrosse team features new look

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Saturday, April 9, 2022 | 8:01 AM


The Hampton Athletic Hall of Fame inducted Andy DeMichiei this past summer for his exploits on the lacrosse field.

This spring, the 26-year-old will look to make his impact from the sidelines.

DeMichiei, a former All-American with the Talbots, is entering his first season as coach at his alma mater. He replaced Jim Vollberg, who stepped down after seven years to spend more time with his young family.

“I think they look good,” DeMichiei said after a late-March practice. “The guys are starting to buy in to what we are doing offensively and defensively. At this point, we know things aren’t going to be perfect. Just getting a little bit better each day.”

DeMichiei, who led Hampton to a pair of WPIAL lacrosse titles (2011-12) before becoming an All-Big East performer at Marquette, is facing some challenges in his debut season. The Talbots graduated 13 seniors, led by All-WPIAL attack Max Saltrelli, who scored 65 goals last season and 163 for his career.

Only three full-time starters return from a team that went 11-5 and reached the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. There are 30 players on the roster, down from 34 last season, as Hampton strives to reach the WPIAL playoffs for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons.

“Our numbers are very low,” said DeMichiei, who spent three seasons at Pine-Richland before returning to Hampton last spring as a volunteer assistant. “That’s definitely something we are going to be battling all year.”

The Talbots’ returning starters are senior midfielder Dylan Beranek and juniors Sean Donlan, a defenseman, and Luke Hartle, a midfielder.

The rest of the lineup will be filled by reserves from last season and an infusion of football players giving the sport a try for the first time.

“We’re a young team, but everyone here wants to be here,” Beranek said. “Everyone is hungry to compete and get a varsity spot. We’re going to be a great team again this year.”

Juniors Jake Krempasky and Maddox Lohr and sophomore Joey Nelson will also be part of the Talbots’ new-look offense, along with juniors Derek Tronetti and Gabe Harris. DeMichiei’s system will focus on ball movement and patience.

“I would say the majority of our offense is probably going to run through (Beranek and Hartle),” DeMichiei said. “They are two really talented players and great leaders.”

“Last year we had Max Saltrelli, and he’s a great player. A lot of the offense just naturally ran through him. This year we have some talented players, but our offense is more of a team offense.

“We’re really teaching these guys to be patient and share the ball. I think it’s just going to be whoever’s stick the ball is in before it ends up in the net is going to be who is scoring goals for us.”

Said Hartle, “It’s more of a team effort. A team will beat one guy any day.”

The defense will feature Donlan and a trio of football players joining the lacrosse program for the first time — seniors Logan Schwartz and Christian Liberto and sophomore Gabe Gannelli.

Schwartz (6-1, 200), who, along with Liberto (5-10, 180) was named first-team all-conference following last fall’s school-record 11-1 football season, has made a strong first impression.

“He just picked up a stick a month ago and he’s starting for us,” DeMichiei said. “He’s bringing a nice edge and intensity level and physicality to our defense.”

Goaltending duties will be turned over to junior Kaden Hoolahan, who takes over for graduated three-year starter Matt Huskey.

“He’s a great goalie,” Beranek said of Hoolahan. “He’s loud. He does everything right.”

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