Cape seeks to end Sallies’ boys lacrosse state title streak

Cape’s Luke D’Ambrogi playing against Milford this season. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

LEWES — Cape Henlopen High already ended one of Salesianum School’s streaks earlier this season.

The top-seeded Vikings have set their sights on ending another one in tonight’s boys’ lacrosse state title game.

When the Cape boys defeated Salesianum, 12-8, on April 12 at Wesley College, it ended the program’s 31-game in-state win streak (including state tournaments).

It was the first in-state loss for Sallies since a 9-7 state title defeat to Cape Henlopen on May 31, 2014.

When the two teams face off at 8 p.m. at Caesar Rodney High for the DIAA state championship, the Vikings (13-2) hope to put an end to Salesianum’s four-year state title streak.

“We weren’t intimidated in that game (in April), and we’re not going to be intimidated in this game,” said senior Luke D’Ambrogi. “Whoever’s in front of us, that’s who we have to beat. We have to come out ready to play.”

Third-seeded Sallies (8-7) has won seven of the last eight titles and 10 since 1995.

Between Cape’s title win in 2014 and the regular season win this past April, the Vikings lost seven in a row to Sallies — including last year’s semifinals and a pair of title games in 2015 and 2017.

“The game is going to start 0-0, so any old game won’t have much bearing on this game,” said Cape coach Mark D’Ambrogi. “They’re a good opponent and we just have to be prepared to play well. No matter who the opponent is, you just have to be prepared to play well.”

After finishing the regular season with a 13-2 record and grabbing their second consecutive Henlopen Conference title, the Vikings earned convincing tourney wins over Appoquinimink High, Delaware Military Academy and Archmere Academy to clinch their second finals appearance in three years.

Cape defeated those three opponents by a combined 49-21.

Following a 16-9 semifinal win over Archmere, the Cape boys were forced to sit around and wait to find out who they’d be playing in the title game, as the Salesianum-Caesar Rodney semifinal game was postponed twice due to thunderstorms before finally being played June 2.
Salesianum defeated CR, 12-5, a full four days after Cape’s win in the semis.

“I think it actually helped us, because we got more work in, we got better,” said Luke D’Ambrogi. “I was actually kind of excited because the more it got delayed, the more high-pace our practices got.”

During the break in playoff action, coach D’Ambrogi made sure his boys worked on the basics of the game to stay sharp and focused on the task ahead.

“We’ve just kind of been brushing up on the fundamentals more than anything,” he said. “If you don’t get away from them, you can kind of stay consistent, so we’ve just played hard and kept our pace.”

“It’s given us more time to sharpen up and get ready to play,” said Greg Boyce. “We’ve just been trying to stay focused and worry about us, we don’t really want to worry about who we play. It doesn’t matter to us; we just want to be the best we can be.”

Cape’s strong senior class, led by Boyce, D’Ambrogi, Billy Ott, Jack Dennis, Brody McMahon, Ben Weathersby, Matt Prestipino, among others, will suit up for one final game together.

Cayden Steele, Sean Griffith, Adem Tekmen, James Heid, Michael Martz, Ed Saez and Seth Graves round out Cape’s group of 14 seniors. The group made at least a semifinals appearance or better in three of its four seasons.

“They’ve been really working hard for the last few years,” said coach D’Ambrogi. “They’re a great group of kids, and I’ve known most of them a very long time. They’ve been a great team to coach.”

“I lost my last wrestling match to a Salesianum kid, so I really don’t want to lose my last lacrosse game – especially with this group of boys,” said Ott, the team’s faceoff guy. “We’re just thinking win, win, win.”

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