Cape boys repeat as Henlopen lacrosse champions

MILFORD — Jack Dennis wasted very little time setting the tempo.

Cape sophomore Blake Gipko looks for an open teammate during Cape’s conference title win. He scored a hat trick for the Vikings. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

After Cape Henlopen High won the opening faceoff, it took just nine seconds for the senior to find the back of the net.

It was the first of many as the Cape boys cruised to a 26-5 victory over Milford High to grab the Henlopen Conference boys’ lacrosse title at Briggs Stadium Friday night.

“I’m glad for our kids,” said Cape coach Mark D’Ambrogi, who was named Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year following the game.
“They’ve won a lot of games in the conference and it’s been some good competition, so it’s good for them. I’m proud of them.”

Eleven different Vikings scored goals, led by a game-high five from senior Greg Boyce and four from sophomore Gabe Best. Senior Luke D’Ambrogi recorded six assists and netted one goal.

Cape’s Luke D’Ambrogi absorbs a check from Milford defenseman Zyair Toledo.

The title win gives the Vikings (14-2) their second consecutive conference championship and fifth in six years.

The Vikings and Henlopen Southern Division champion Buccaneers (11-5) will both await the release of the DIAA state tournament brackets, with the tourney set to get underway this Tuesday.

“It was great seeing some of my teammates get in there and just do their thing,” said Best. “Everyone was happy for everyone, there is no individual game there’s just everyone playing as a team and we came out on top. I’m happy for it.”

The 26 goals mark the most the Vikings have scored in a single game since putting up 27 against Sussex Central High on May 11, 2011.

Cape junior Robert Rickenbach takes a shot in the second half Friday night. He scored a pair of goals in the win.

Dennis and sophomores Blake Gipko and Jake Truitt each recorded hat tricks. Hank D’Ambrogi and Robert Rickenbach scored two goals apiece.

Senior Adem Tekman, junior Finbar Rishko and sophomore Nathan Loucks rounded out Cape’s scoring with one goal each.

Senior Baxter Travers recorded six saves in goal for Cape, while senior Sean Griffth and freshman Carson Kammerer made one each.

Sophomore Landan Hajek scored three goals, while senior Jonathan Gaglione and junior Alex Herka each scored one for the Bucs.

After building a 15-2 first quarter lead and a 19-3 lead at the halftime break, Cape was able to put some of its reserves in for the running clock during the second half. It provided some of its younger players some valuable playing time ahead of the state tourney, which is set to begin Tuesday.

“Everybody got opportunities tonight,” said coach D’Ambrogi. “The second half guys had a lot of touches and they played well. I think we did a pretty good job sharing the ball.”

Cape’s Adem Tekmen scans the field as he looks to escape Milford’s Ryan Johnson.

“It felt good because they’ve been working hard all year,” said Dennis. “Playing us (the starters) in scrimmages, they deserved it. They just came out ready and did what they needed to do when their name was called.”

The Vikings’ only two losses this season have come against out-of-state teams as the boys have put up a perfect 6-0 conference record and have held opponents to under 10 goals in 14 of its 16 games.

“We did our thing tonight and we just really want to focus on the state tournament now,” said Best. “We have a bigger picture in mind than just the conference championship, we really want to win the state championship this year.”

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