Count Hamilton Southeastern boys lacrosse coach Scott Beesley is a believer in the adage that defense wins championships.
“The strength of our team has been our defense all season,” Beesley said. “Then our offense caught fire in the championship.”
The Royals repeated as Class 2A state champions with a 17-7 victory over No. 1 ranked Cathedral June 4 in the Indiana High School Lacrosse Association Class 2A state championship at Hamilton Southeastern High School. HSE also won the state title in 2018.
The victory avenged an earlier loss to Cathedral 13-10 in the regular season. That was the Royals’ (15-7) only loss to an in-state school. Beesley said the team had a more in-depth scouting report this time against the Irish.
“We had a better week of practice,” Beesley said. “Our seniors didn’t perform well the first time we played them. We got a little too hyped up in pregame. We were a little more poised, cool, calm and collected coming into this game.”
Beesley said the assistant coaches did an excellent job with the scouting report.
“We did a lot of scout team, film and shot clock (preparation),” Beesley said. “We packed them with a lot of knowledge before this game, so they felt over prepared.”
The Royals led Cathedral 7-6 at halftime and then blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Irish 6-1.
Garrett Smith, who has committed to Ohio Wesleyan University, led Hamilton Southeastern with seven goals and an assist and was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. Senior Blaine Wertz had three goals and senior Michael Mattaliano added two goals and three assists. Senior Brandon Sogocio chipped in with two goals for the Royals.
Junior goalie Colin Krekeler was named the game’s Defensive MVP.
“We had five seniors playing ahead of him who were pretty stout on defense,” Beesley said.
Beesley said senior Nolan Knies was the best defensive player in the state.
“I feel he was the best lockdown defender in the state of Indiana,” Beesley said.
Seniors Hayden Grace and Aiden Hoener played alongside Knies on defense.
Smith led HSE on the season with 48 goals, followed by Mattaliano with 45 goals and Connor Ruhnow with 42.
The Royals graduate 20 players and return 15 players.