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Hampton boys lacrosse team bows out of playoffs

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:12 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Without several of its top players like Max Happel, above, the Hampton lacorsse team was eliminated from the playoffs.

Sometimes when it comes to a great team, the only thing that can derail it is the injury bug. For the Hampton boys lacrosse team, the injury situation hit hard and at a terrible time: on the eve of the playoffs.

Although the team entered the season with a new coach and playing up in Division I, aspirations of a championship still were reasonable.

Five section wins and a third-pace finish in the section resulted in a playoff berth, but that's where the good news stopped for Hampton.

Star attacker Andy DeMichiei tore a ligament in his hand and was unavailable to play in the playoffs, and Nick Dudenes was slowed by an illness. Defensive stud Max Happel also missed the playoff game, putting Hampton at a disadvantage before the opening faceoff even took place.

“After our win at Franklin Regional, we had high hopes, but we took some hits and limped in,” Hampton coach Randy Burns said. “Nick really led the midfield and was our second leading scorer. Andy was really the leader of the team and will go on to have a good Division I career at Marquette. Max will play at St. Mary's, and Luke Happel, who really stepped up when Andy went down, will play at Baldwin Wallace next year.”

Burns said he will miss these seniors and appreciates all they have done but said the remaining players as well as those slated to move up are an exciting bunch.

Players like junior middie Joe Holleran, sophomore attacker/midfielder Nick Grabowski and goalies Chris Geraud and Jake Bayha will carry the torch.

“We got off to a great start, but the end was tough,” Burns said. “The big thing we can take away is the discipline and the lacrosse IQ that helped us compete at the top division.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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