From the outside, it seemed like a setback.
Leo Shidler spent a few years laying the foundation for the Bishop Fenwick boys lacrosse program, eventually taking them to the state tournament for the first time last spring. He then elected to go back to school, however, and didn’t feel he’d have enough time to continue directing the Crusaders.
What could have been a major setback to the program has turned out to be a minor speed bump. Ralph Ruocco stepped into the job and has the Crusaders aiming for another tournament berth.
“We wanted to build on last year’s successes and go back to the tournament,” Ruocco said. “But we didn’t just want to go back. They played Hanover last year and lost, and we want to go there and win a game in the tournament. So, that’s still out there.”
Fenwick is now 8-8 after yesterday’s home loss to Austin Prep; it has to find two victories in games against St. Mary’s of Lynn, Manchester Essex, Dover (NH) and Pentucket over the season’s final week-and-a-half to earn a postseason bid, but Ruocco likes his team’s chances.
The beginning of the season was a bit of an adjustment for both the coaching staff and the players. Now, Fenwick is buying in to Ruocco’s style and the results are showing, especially on defense.
Fenwick gave up 21 goals against Archbishop Williams in mid-April, but since then thave surrendered just 67 goals in the last eight games (needs to be adjusted).
Ruocco has liked the play of senior Ben Kaupp, his freshman brother, Alex Kaupp, and junior Brandon DeBerardinis on defense.
Coleman Hebert has also been good on faceoffs, but the biggest reason for Fenwick’s improvement on defense has been the emergence of Nick Finan in goal.