Coach Tom Ripley has led the Annapolis Hawks Class of 2022 squad to a pair of runner-up results at major tournaments this summer.
The Hawks picked a perfect time to finally break through.
Midfielder Michael Weisshaar scored four goals to lead the Annapolis Hawks to a thrilling 11-10 victory over Duke’s Elite in the 2022 championship game of the Naptown National Challenge, held Wednesday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Ripley was thrilled to see his troops come out on top in a big-time showcase event held in their own backyard.
“It’s really pretty special to come here and win our hometown tournament,” Ripley said. “We took a lot of pride in representing Annapolis. I think that pride and determination really showed through today.”
Weisshaar, who will be a freshman at Archbishop Spalding in the fall, gobbled up a bunch of ground balls off faceoffs and also dished off an assist in being named the RBC Wealth Management Player of the Game.
“Michael is a very fast middie who is great in transition and very dangerous when dodging,” Ripley said. “Michael came up with some huge ground balls and went hard to the goal all game.”
Zack Oehlerking scored two goals for the Hawks while fellow attackman Race Ripley dished off three assists. Gavin Kelly, the other starter on attack, contributed a goal and an assist.
Blake Malamphy helped the Hawks turn the tide at the faceoff stripe and also totaled a goal and assist. “Our top faceoff specialist had an off day, but Blake really stepped up and closed the deal,” Ripley said. Blake Boyd did win a critical faceoff late in the game and took the ball to the cage himself for a huge unassisted goal.
Starting goalie Caleb Fyock recorded five saves in the first half while Cole Donaldson took over between the pipes in the second half and notched four. Donaldson stopped a crank shot to shut down an extra man situation then later made a spectacular one-on-one save. Fyock is the only rising eighth grader on the squad.
George Acton was named the Defensive Player of the Game and teamed with Alex Ross and Jackson Roberts to form a suffocating close unit for the Hawks. Long stick midfielder Riley Figueiras also scooped several ground balls and scored a goal off a faceoff while short stick defensive midfielder Patrick Wagner also played well.
“All week we’ve been talking about the brotherhood. I told the kids the culture of team and fighting for each other is the key to winning a tough tournament like this,” Ripley said. “Our kids go as hard as they can from start to finish and I think we wore down Duke’s. We knew we would have an advantage conditioning-wise in the fourth quarter and we did.”
Weisshaar scored two goals as the Hawks raced out to an early 4-1 lead. Dukes, a select squad consisting primarily of players from Baltimore and Philadelphia, scored four straight goals to briefly take a 5-4 lead late in the first half. Weisshaar snagged a grounder off the ensuing faceoff, raced into the offensive zone and fired a left-handed shot that tied the score at halftime.
Figueiras scored his goal early in the second half to put the Hawks ahead to stay. Attackman Ryan Schrier made a nice cut to the middle, took a feed from Malamphy and scored to give the host team its largest lead at 9-5 with 10:45 remaining in the game.
Oehlerking finished a beautiful fastbreak that featured tic-tac-toe passing with Kelly getting the assist as Annapolis maintained a four-goal lead at 10-6 with 8:20 to go. However, Duke’s rallied to get within one on a behind-the-back goal by Colby Bushweller with 1:09 left.
Malamphy won the ensuing faceoff and the Hawks were able to salt away the remaining time to claim the championship.
“A total of 21 boys on this team have been together since the fourth grade and that chemistry made a big difference,” Coach Ripley said. “An All-Star team is going to play as individuals when the game is on the line. I thought our boys played as a team and really battled for each other the whole way.”
Most members of the 2022 Annapolis Hawks will be freshmen in high school this coming fall.
Weisshaar, Malamphy, Schrier, Ripley, Ross, Acton and Wagner are among nine members of the team headed to Archbishop Spalding.