The Annapolis Hawks 2022 squad has made the Naptown National Challenge its personal playground.
Coach Tom Ripley has brought the Hawks to the elite club lacrosse tournament five times and come away with four championships with a runner-up result.
“It’s our hometown tournament and I think the boys feel like they need to defend their turf,” Ripley said Wednesday night after the Hawks added this year’s title to those captured in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Attackman Gavin Kelly scored three goals, while running mate Race Ripley contributed a goal and three assists as the Annapolis Hawks ripped San Francisco-based ADVNC, 14-2, in the 2022 final that was held Wednesday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Kelly plays at St. John’s in Washington, D.C., while Ripley is an Annapolis resident who attends Archbishop Spalding.
“We have two rock-solid attackmen who are very tough to defend. Gavin is a pure finisher, while Race is a lefty feeder,” said coach Ripley, who also praised the off-ball work of third attackman Ryan Schrier [Crofton, Spalding].
Annapolis also got good production from its first midfield. Dom Pietramala (Boys’ Latin) scored a goal and dished off three assists to lead the unit. Jordan Wray (Calvert Hall) scored two goals, while Paul Garza (St. John’s) added a goal and an assist.
“We have some big-time threats up top. Those guys can really sling it. They’re all strong, physical dodgers that shoot with range,” Ripley said.
Crofton resident Blake Malamphy (Spalding) dominated the faceoffs to help the Hawks control possession. Goalie Caleb Fyock, a Crofton native who plays at St. John’s, recorded 12 saves to anchor a suffocating defensive effort. Fyock moved to attack toward the end and scored a goal.
Close defender Alex Ross (Riva, Spalding) covered ADVNC high-scoring attackman Quinn Krammer and shut him out. Krammer, out of Redmond, Washington, scored four goals in the semifinals.
“Alex has the best hands of any 2022 defender in the country and is a real takeaway specialist,” Ripley said of Ross, the youngster player on the team at 16 years old.
Ripley described Riley Figueiras (St. John’s) as a close defender who plays mistake-free and is always in ideal position. Annapolis boasts a talented long stick midfielder in George Acton, a St. Mary’s High player who scored a goal and was a huge factor on ground balls and in transition.
Five members of the Hawks have been playing together since third grade, while 14 have been on the roster since fourth grade.
“When you play together for such a long time, you develop a special bond,” Ripley said. “These guys truly care about each other and play for each other. They’re all extremely selfless and have an amazing amount of trust in each other. It’s just a very, very coachable group.”
Annapolis went 5-0 in the Naptown National Challenge with the closest contest coming during round-robin play against the Richmond Hawks. The Hawks squeaked out a 7-6 victory in that matchup, but easily handled Iron Horse, 11-6, in the semifinals.
Ripley estimates the Annapolis Hawks 2022 roster features 15 Division I prospects, most of whom will receive scholarship offers from the top programs in the country. “We’re just loaded from top to bottom with elite talented,” he said.
Ripley has an impressive group of assistants, including a pair of Hall of Famers in Dave Cottle and Brian Wood. Cottle won nearly 300 games as a collegiate coach at Loyola-Maryland and Maryland before concluding his career by leading the Chesapeake Bayhawks to three Major League Lacrosse championships. Wood was a four-time All-American at Johns Hopkins and one of the legendary players in the game.
“I’m the Nick Saban of club lacrosse. I’m surrounded by big-time assistants,” said Ripley, who also has former St. Mary’s High standouts and Maryland recruits B.J. Burlace and Ian Kramp on the staff along with Rob Fyock as goalkeeper coach.