The last time the players for Cape Henlopen’s boys lacrosse team stepped off the field at Legends Stadium, it was with a dejected feeling. One week ago, the Vikings suffered an overtime loss to Caesar Rodney in a game that gave the Riders the Henlopen Conference championship.
However, Cape junior Todd Keen insisted that game now has become a part of history as the DIAA Boys Lacrosse State Tournament began on Tuesday night. The postseason has provided the Vikings with a chance at a fresh start.
So Keen went out and scored four goals and junior Justin Lopez contributed three goals to help spark second-seeded Cape Henlopen to a 16-2 rout of No. 15-seeded Charter School of Wilmington in the opening-round game, giving the Vikings a much better walk-off feeling this time around.
“It was a good win against a playoff-caliber team,” Keen said. “They were a good team, and we just want to keep this rolling through the playoffs.”
Cape Henlopen, which improved to 12-4, advances to Saturday’s second round, where it will host the winner of tonight’s Archmere-Dover game.
Charter School of Wilmington (7-9) was dominated as the Force was outshot 34-6 and gave up the game’s first 16 goals.
Charter head coach Tony Marconi told his team to remain positive after the game.
“Cape’s always a solid team, they’ve always got good numbers and good athletes and they’re always very well-coached,” Marconi said. “We’re a team of about 15 [players], but they don’t quit, they don’t stop, and I couldn’t be more proud of them against the tall odds. They came out, and they played their hardest.”
Keen gave Cape Henlopen the early lead by scoring a pair of goals in the opening 3:19. He said the extra early focus was by plan.
“Coach [Jack Lingo] has been talking about starting fast, and that’s what we did,” Keen said. “We just need to keep doing that every day.”
Junior Blake Mann and sophomore Mike Hopkins scored two goals and had one assist apiece for Cape Henlopen, which held a commanding 13-0 lead at halftime. In all, nine players scored at least one goal for the Vikings.
Meanwhile, Cape’s defense didn’t surrender a goal until Charter’s Jeremiah Adams and Andrew Kearns scored in the fourth quarter.
“We work hard in practice, and we play hard,” said Cape senior defenseman Logan Mathews. “We have a solid defense this year with Thomas Ott, myself, Aaron [Mattioni] and Garrett [Becker]. We’re all upperclassmen, and we work hard. We’ve all been in the weight room all offseason, and that’s what we want.”
Now what it wants would be one more chance against its Henlopen Conference rivals Caesar Rodney – down the road.
“We’ve thought about [CR], but we’ve got other games to worry about before that,” Keen said. “If we see them, we see them.”