BELMAR – It has been a difficult season for the St. Rose boys lacrosse program. The Purple Roses are currently 2-6 on the season. However, there are a few bright spots as the team continues to grow with many young players on the team. St. Rose has battled hard this season losing a few tough games to Ocean and division-rival Donovan Catholic.
One of the positives for this team is that both of their wins have come against divisional opponents. Unlike other sports, St. Rose lacrosse competes in Class B South, which consists of St. Rose, Shore Regional, Point Pleasant Boro, Barnegat, Mater Dei Prep, Donovan Catholic, and Lacey.
After losing to Red Bank Regional to start the season, St. Rose earned its first win over Barnegat on April 3 with a 17-5 win over the Bengals. The Roses did not earn another victory until they defeated Point Pleasant Boro, 11-8, on April 10. Those two wins showed the strength of St. Rose lacrosse. However, many challenges have led to the team’s tough losses throughout the season.
Junior Nolan Boehmcke credits his team for always playing hard despite having a very young group. “We have a very young team this year but we know that we have a lot of potential. We have 14-year-old freshmen that start and could be playing against 18- and 19-year-olds on the other teams. We are a very young team but through the past couple of games the young guys are getting their confidence,” Boehmcke explained.
He also spoke about his team’s tough win over Point Boro. “ We started off slow but once Spencer, PJ, and I put a couple in the net, everyone wanted a turn and we started playing hard giving it all we had as we went to the goal,” Boehmcke said.
Boehmcke currently leads the team with 19 goals on the season. While he is their leading scoring, Spencer Flynn and Patrick Dwyer have also contributed a great amount. Flynn and Dwyer have scored 14 and 10 goals this season, respectively. The upperclassmen know that it is up to them to provide leadership that hopefully will trickle down to the underclassmen as time goes on and experience is gained. “Usually, once we get a couple of goals under our belts the younger guys will become more confident. Guys like Spencer and I have to go into every game with confidence because we want the younger players to have the same mentality and work hard every game,” Boehmcke explained.
As one of the leaders on the team, Flynn explained how some of the challenges throughout this season have impacted the team. “We are really just looking to fine tune everything. We had injuries early in the season that set us back. This allowed us to get our younger players up to varsity speed. We have one senior so we are looking to get our team ready for next year. This season, we are looking to finish with some wins,” Flynn explained.
Flynn noted that having to replace the seniors from last year has been difficult for his team. “We have young players taking on roles of seniors from last year so it has been a challenge getting them up to speed. We have had a habit of spotting goals for other teams. We do have our moments when everyone is doing their part and we can produce points but it can fall apart quickly which can make us lose our focus,” he added.
“Every possession is vital. We have to come out hot in every game and be able to set the tone early,” said Boehmcke, reflecting on the loss against Ocean earlier this season, noting that every possession can make or break a game.
With a 2-6 record, the team has plenty of room for improvement. One of their goals for the remainder of the season is to get back to the .500 mark. “We are definitely trying to push to .500,” Boehmcke said. “It will be a challenge because we lost some close games during the beginning of the season.” If they can get to .500, then they will automatically qualify for the state tournament.
The goal for the Purple Roses is for the upperclassmen to lead the way for the younger players. As the younger players gain experience then they will try to lower the margin in games they lose and find a way to win the close games, such as the 14-12 loss to Donovan Catholic on April 17.
The team currently sits in third place in B South. While Saint Rose is 2-1 within the division, Lacey is 3-0 and Shore Regional is 4-0. It can make for an exciting finish to the season as St. Rose is still alive in the division race, just a game behind both Lacey and Shore.