Thursday May 9, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
John Arnold, who committed to play at Walsh University, is surrounded by his parents, John and Donna Arnold, while his coach at Eden, Chris Archabald, stands behind. (Photos by Mike Petro)
Brady Bermingham, who committed to play at Roberts Wesleyan, is surrounded by his parents, John and Liz Bermingham, while his coach at Eden, Chris Archabald, stands behind.
When the final of the first significant wave of Eden lacrosse stars graduated in 2011, the Raiders, still a program less than a decade old, began looking for their new leaders last season.
And up stepped Brady Bermingham and John Arnold.
Bermingham on the offensive end as an attackman and Arnold primarily on defense as a long pole middie led Eden to a respectable season in 2012 when all of the signs pointed toward a major rebuilding season after a semifinal appearance the year prior and playing in a program-first sectional championship game in 2010.
Now, as seniors, the two have helped the Raiders remain right in the thick of things in a difficult and deeper than ever Class C field of 11 teams.
“We had that great group come through and they kind of peaked in 2010, but even as seniors they were big talents coming through,” said Eden head coach Chris Archabald, noting that the biggest of those talents, middie Kyle Zittel, is now contributing as a sophomore playing for Penn State.
“When you have kids that commit like Brady and John have, you don’t really take a huge step backwards. It’s just the next wave is coming through,” he added.
It’s that type of commitment that helped both earn the interest of college suitors and Wednesday (May 1) at Eden, the two signed their letter of intents to play lacrosse at the next level.
Brady Bermingham chose Roberts Wesleyan after having liked the atmosphere and size of the campus. He had only positive things to say following his visit and meeting with the team. Roberts Wesleyan also has his prospective major of engineering.
“I’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason and stay after games and practices to shoot,” Bermingham said in crediting what got him to this point.
John Arnold will be going to Walsh University in Ohio, which he liked based on its location and the comfort he felt with the program from the coaches to players.
“It’s a nice town and nice campus,” Arnold said. “ I spoke with the coach who made me feel welcome and told me I had a spot on the team if I wanted it.”
Bermingham, a two-year captain, became the team’s top scorer last season and has kept up a similar torrid pace in 2013. Archabald credits Bermingham with not only showing up on the stat sheet in a big way, but taking over the leadership role on and off the field for a team that at the time needed the guidance.
“Brady is the heart and soul of the team, he’s become invaluable,” Archabald said. “He’s the guy who leads the out of practice sessions. He’s always saying, ‘lets go shoot on a Sunday night, let’s go play a pick up game on a Thursday night.’ He will be a huge loss not only because he’s developed into a good little player, but also because he’s stepped into that leadership role.”
The experience Bermingham received as a sophomore varsity call-up was also invaluable as he became one of the last links to the teams that began to lift the program to a new level.
“I think Brady was fortunate to come up as a sophomore,” Archabald said. “He saw what guys like Kyle did and that experience helped show him what the next level looked like. And now he’s absolutely there. He’s brought his own game to that level.”
Arnold joined Bermingham as a captain this season after showing his own leadership qualities and ability as a junior. Archabald feels as though Arnold has made himself into one of the tougher players for opponents’ top offensive players to go against.
“John is a hard worker, too,” Archabald said. “ He’s a pesky defensive player. He’s always very busy. He’s the kind of defender that oppositions hate to play against because he’s always checking, he’s always active. He’s very fundamentally sound.”
It’s that level of compete which has put Arnold in a position to play at the college level.
“I’d like to think I worked hard all the time, never gave up on ground balls and have always given 100 percent,” he said.
The true sign of two leaders, both were quick to praise the other as Bermingham called the strength of the team the defense and Arnold credited the attack.
They both agreed that with 12 seniors on this squad there is an increased level of comfort which could result in a sectional run come playoff time later this month. Eden sits in the top half of the league with a 4-3 mark, having lost two of those games by only one goal.
And if they’re proof of anything, it’s that talented Eden lacrosse players seem to keep surfacing for a program that seems to be far from falling off anytime soon.
“We’d be lucky to have another wave come through that has the same commitment as these two,” Archabald noted.