2023 Annapolis Hawks club lacrosse team comes out in style winning Naptown National Challenge championship – Baltimore Sun


Members of the 2023 Annapolis Hawks club lacrosse team have been playing together since third year. Dr. Michael Ruland coached the team for most of that time and watched these players grow into college hopefuls.

There has been considerable success over the past nine years, many major tournaments have been won. There were lots of fun times and friendships formed on the trip, all of which culminated in one last hurrah this week.

Forward Nick Golini led a balanced offense, while goaltender Kasey Heath anchored a stingy defense as the Annapolis Hawks defeated Next Level Blue, 9-8, in the Naptown National Challenge Class of 2023 Championship Game, held at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.

Golini, a rising senior at St. Mary’s, scored three goals and assisted another as the Hawks took a 9-5 lead and then held off a late Next Level rally. Heath, who plays at Kent Island, was spectacular with 11 saves and energized his teammates by running end to end to score a goal.

This marked the final club tournament for Annapolis Hawks 2023, as players will enjoy the rest of the summer before beginning their senior year of high school.

“It was truly an incredible run with a special group of kids,” said Ruland, who announced his retirement after 20 years of coaching after the game. “What a great way for these guys to come out. It’s the end of their club lacrosse tour and the last memory will be of winning their hometown tournament.

Midfielder Gavin Burlace enjoyed a breakout tournament with 12 goals as the Hawks went 5-0 in round robin play, then beat the Thunder national team, 11-6, in the semifinals .

Forward Jacob Todd (Severn School) scored one goal and provided three assists for the Hawks in the championship game. Princeton’s commitment provided back-to-back assists for midfielders Jake Bullen and Erik Chick to give the Hawks a four-goal lead early in the fourth quarter.

This was the second Naptown National Challenge championship for Annapolis Hawks 2023, who had reached the final four years in a row. After winning the title in 2019, the Hawks fell in the championship game in 2020 and 2021, being beaten by Long Island’s Prime Time in overtime last summer.

“The chemistry, determination and pride that these guys show at all times is tremendous,” Ruland said. “They get together, play smart lacrosse and get the job done.”

Golini, Burlace, Bullen, Chick, Justin Webber, Jake Kucinski and Dylan Torggler are among a large contingent of St. Mary’s players on the roster. Others include midfielders Bobby Keane, Ty Ruland and Sean Berzins as well as close defender Sam Palmisano.

Eight Hawks have been selected Capital Gazette All-County – Golini, Todd, Torggler, Chick, Keane, Palmisano, midfielder Benny Carter (Indian Creek) and midfielder Nic Sotiropoulos.

Heath made one-on-one and close range saves to thwart Next Level. He created the play of the game by stopping a shot, running all the way up the pitch and firing an overhand shot that bounced past the opposing keeper.

“Kasey is just a wall there and he energizes the defense by making so many great saves,” Ruland said.

Ruland said Todd and Golini were the offensive catalysts throughout the three-day tournament.

“Nick is a real marksman with an incredible ability to put the ball in the back of the net, while Jacob is a real playmaker with great vision who does a great job of finding the open man,” said Ruland about the Navy and Princeton enlists. .

Burlace, one of only five members of the 23-player uncommitted college roster, made a strong statement with his goalscoring prowess.

“Gavin definitely caught the eye of some college coaches this week. It’s the best lacrosse I’ve ever seen him play,” Ruland said.

An Annapolis Hawks starter also won the Class of 2028 Naptown National Challenge championship. Forward Blake Burgess (St. Mary’s) scored four goals and provided two assists as the 2028 Hawks repeated as champions in beating BBL National, 9-7.

Forward Wyatt Hicks (Broadneck) scored three goals, while midfielder Brooks Meushaw (St. Mary’s) contributed a goal and an assist for the Hawks, who went 7-0 in the tournament. Chestertown resident midfielder Cooper Reid scored the other goal.

Evan Wilhote and Alonso Wallace combined to dominate the draws throughout the tournament, which coach Scott Meushaw cited as the key to success.

“These guys probably won 75% of the faceoffs every game. We play impromptu lacrosse a lot,” Meushaw said.

Goaltender Luke Robinson, who lives in Middletown, Delaware, recorded 10 saves in the championship game and was rock solid throughout the tournament.

“Luke is by far our most valuable player,” Meushaw said. “Not only does Luke stop everything, he throws incredible out passes. The kid puts 30 and 40 yard passes on a line to the midfielders.

Brooks Meushaw is the catalyst for a midfielder who pushes the ball hard in transition as the Hawks score a massive number of goals from fast breaks. Braylon Jones, Ethan Fish and Carter Moden are other key midfielders.

“No team has a better group between the lines,” said Scott Meushaw. “We don’t use a long-stick midfielder because we want to go out and run.”

Severna Park resident Vincent Berger is the Hawks’ best defenseman, always covering the opponent’s best forward. Abe Barbrick and Mason Williams (St. Mary’s) complete the close defense.

A pair of Annapolis Hawks starters lost in their respective divisions’ championship game.

Forward Joey Matassa (Spalding) scored one goal and provided four assists as the Hawks were beaten, 8-7, by the MadLax Nationals in the 2025 Promotion Finals. Matthew Beachley scored three goals, while fellow striker Timmy Sullivan (Severna Park) had two goals and an assist.

Meanwhile, Dominic Markovich scored three goals and assisted another as Hawks 2026 fell, 9-6, to SweetLax Navy. Striker Brady Mollot, entering his first year at Archbishop Spalding, had a goal and an assist in the loss.


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