A season removed from reaching the DIAA Boys Lacrosse state championship game, the Cape Henlopen Vikings have already proven it was no fluke.
Winners of six of their first eight games, the Vikings have asserted themselves early. Since splitting their first two games of the season, they've won five of their last six games, including an 18-3 win over Smyrna in their most recent contest.
Cape opened the year splitting two games against Maryland schools, sneaking past Stephen Decatur 13-12 in their season opener, before falling to Bullis School, 16-3.
They bounced back, winning their next four games, earning double-digit victories over conference opponents Sussex Tech, Dover and Sussex Central to go along with a six-goal win over Archmere Academy.
At the beginning of the year, head coach Mark D’Ambrogi spoke about which players his team would lean on most, including Luke D’Ambrogi, Jake Brown, Tim Kelley, Liam Zolper and Brooks Buck.
“Luke was our leading scorer last season and will be expected to lead again, Jake has played all four years,” D’Ambrogi said. “Tim, Liam and Brooks, those players played a lot for us last
season and step into leadership roles.”
So far, all have done their part in a hot start.
D’Ambrogi leads the team with 21 goals through eight games, while Brown has scored seven at midfield.
Their presence on the field has opened things up for others, as the Vikings have seen a number of players find the back of the net -- 18 different players have scored goals.
Kelley, Zolper and Buck have dominated the back end, holding all but two opponents to single-digit outputs, including a 21-0 shutout against Sussex Central.
Starting the season well is important for any team that hopes to find themselves among the tournament picks at the end of the year and the same goes for Cape Henlopen. They’re keeping their approach simple.
“We start each season with the same goal, to play in the last game of the season and do our best each day,” D’Ambrogi said. “We have a goal in mind, but focus on improving each day.”