The quality of lacrosse around Warwick this season has been tremendous.
Pilgrim, Toll Gate and Hendricken have all been awfully tough to beat during the regular season this spring, as the three Warwick schools have combined for a 25-6 record.
The Pats and Titans certainly have title aspirations, with the crosstown rivals sitting in a tie for second in Division III with identical 9-1 records behind undefeated Chariho. The Chargers are the clear frontrunners as of right now after handing Pilgrim a 10-goal defeat less than two weeks ago, but both Toll Gate and Pilgrim have the firepower to potentially hand Chariho a loss in a deep playoff matchup.
Pilgrim has been paced by one of the top goal scorers in the state and one of the best playmakers. Seniors Steve Pezzullo and Pat Reilly have proven to complement each other well over the last two seasons, and they’ve continued their offensive prowess this season. Pezzullo is currently second in the state in goals with 56, and Reilly leads the state in assists with 34. Kyle St. Jean has also been a steady offensive contributor with 18 goals and 23 points.
At the defensive end, Pilgrim has been led by Tyler Balutowski, who is seventh in the state with 122 saves.
The Pats continue to improve year after year in just their third season in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, rapidly ascending into a top contender in Division III.
Toll Gate, on the other hand, has dominated D-III with a more balanced scoring attack, led by senior Kyle Palumbo and sophomore Jack Dean, who have each compiled 37 points. Ezra Cox (21 points), Tim Chaffee (20 points) and Connor Sullivan (18 points) have also added to the Titans’ offensive depth.
Pilgrim edged Toll Gate, 12-11, in the only meeting between the two teams on a Reilly game-winner in overtime. The Titans were set to take on Chariho at home on Monday, but results were unavailable at press time.
As for Hendricken, it is sitting in third place in Division I at 7-4. The Hawks have struggled against the two juggernauts in D-I, La Salle and Moses Brown, going 0-4 against the Rams and Quakers, while handling the rest of the division to the tune of a 7-0 record.
La Salle and Moses Brown certainly look as though they’re destined to meet for a state title matchup, but Hendricken is putting together a solid season of its own.
The Hawks had a four-game winning streak before falling to La Salle on Thursday evening, and they’ll have two winnable games to end the season against Barrington and Cumberland heading into the playoffs.
Senior attack Dylan McSparren is leading the Hawks with 28 goals and 34 points, and Griffin O’Farrell has chipped in with 22 points.
Hendricken should have no problem cruising into the state semifinals, and then it will have a chance to knock off La Salle or Moses Brown for a spot in the state final. The Rams have been flat out dominant, winning the last five state championships.
No matter how the playoffs end for Pilgrim, Toll Gate and Hendricken, whether it be with a championship trophy held high or a semifinal exit, it has been the most successful season for lacrosse Warwick has seen in quite some time. The positive results are good to see for a sport that continues to grow and gain popularity in the area.