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High School Boys Lacrosse: Hamburg with another enjoyable, eventful trip, Canandaigua looms

Hamburg once again came back from its annual spring break trip to Virginia with plenty of stories to tell — some memorable, some exciting, some moving and others not as pleasant.

Through the good and the bad, the Bulldogs experienced a great deal together during am all-day excursion and playing in two games against what has become even better competition in the Virginia area since the team’s first trip down several seasons ago.

Hamburg was 1-1, winning a nail-biter in the first game and then falling victim to a slow start and a scary injury to a key player in losing two days later. All told, the experiences remained priceless. Even the losing effort was something head coach Jerry Severino hopes this group takes as a lesson.

“We gained an awful lot from this trip with team interaction and bonding,” Severino said. “We had a ball, it’s always a fun trip.”

Also on the trip, players and coaches took advantage of the day in-between games to head to Washington D.C. for a visit to Arlington cemetery, which is the final resting place of lacrosse legend Ed Van Tine, the Pan-Am memorial, the Kennedy family memorial and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Severino said it was a moving experience, especially for those who knew Van Tine and knew of his contributions to the WNY lacrosse community. He also mentioned before the trip to J.P. Fitzgerald’s owner Bob Brunner of his team’s intention to visit the Pan-Am memorial where his sister, Hamburg native Colleen Brunner, is memorialized among the many who lost their lives on that flight. Severino said Brunner was appreciative. That night, the team also went to a University of Maryland at Navy lacrosse game.

In Hamburg’s first game, senior middie Max Maxwell scored the game-winner with 29 seconds left to pull out an 8-7 win over Madison on Thursday (April 4) at Shenandoah College. Maxwell, who’s UMBC-bound, added three assists. Austin Bishop added three goals and one assist and Luke Shafer notched two goals and one assist in the see-saw affair.

However, Severino said his team did not show up in the first half of Saturday’s game at Chantilly in a 15-10 loss. Hamburg had a difficult time defending the Virginia state power and fell behind 12-2 at halftime.

To make things worse, the game was stopped for 45 minutes early in the second half when Bishop was cross-checked from behind in his upper back/neck area and had to be immobilized and taken off the field on a stretcher as emergency services were called. Bishop wasn’t moving much but could feel his extremities. Since, Bishop’s CT scan revealed no spinal damage or concussion, just whiplash and back trauma.

“That was frightening, it felt like an emotional catastrophe for us,” said Severino, who was happy to hear that Bishop was OK. Bishop was also cleared to practice this week.

Severino said his team played inspired after the injury and slow start, but it was too little, too late on the scoreboard. Maxwell finished with four goals in the loss, while Shafer notched three goals and three assists. Freshman sensation Evan Hollfelder, who’s seeing action both on attack and as a middie, recorded a goal and four assists.

“I guess it is a lesson to learn, but it’s one I would like to avoid when it’s something that we can control,” Severino said.

Sophomore Jordan Kuss has taken over in net after Josh Gibson went down with a broken thumb, which occurred during a practice upon the team’s return to Western New York. Kuss got his first varsity start and win in Hamburg’s 19-1 victory over North Tonawanda.

Severino also noted that sophomore Jim Duffy has done a standout job of stepping into a bigger role as both an attackman and middie in his first year with the varsity.

He’s also been impressed with versatile defender Chris Hoover, who can play long pole defense or middie and short stick defensive middie. Hoover’s complimented a strong defensive core of fellow seniors Adam Gawlak, Evan Kuss, Luke Kramer and Christian Hollfelder.

Hamburg, which is now 3-1 overall and 2-0 against Class B, plays a pair of Williamsville teams in North and East this week before readying for what’s become annually one of the top Buffalo vs. Rochester games when Canandaigua visits Howe Field on Friday, April 19.

During last year’s fifth Section VI title winning campaign in the past six seasons, Hamburg defeated Canandaigua for the first time. Severino was in Section VI territory Saturday scouting Canandaigua to help prepare his team for the showdown.

“It’s always a really challenge to play them,” said Severino, who expects a large crowd, including a large contingent from Canandaigua, a team that travels well. “It’s one of the games I schedule every year to get us the best competition possible.”
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