by CRAIG JORGENSON, for the Sun Gazette
Following the 2019 state-championship season, the Madison High School boys lacrosse team was poised to make another deep run during the 2020 state playoffs.
That campaign never occurred, canceled because of the pandemic, but many of those players are now contributing at the college level.
The 2020 Warhawks arguably had more depth than the 2019 team, returning seven starters and a deep roster full of talent with state tournament experience.
“I was looking forward to coaching that team so much. The chance for them to compete and win back-to-back [state] championships was driving them to work hard,” Madison coach Aaron Solomon said.
There were several seniors on the 2020 Warhawks’ squad also eyeing the opportunity to play college lacrosse. Those players remained focused on achieving that goal, and pushed through the various adversities of making a college team during the pandemic age.
Six 2020 Madison High graduates contributed in big ways for their college teams during the 2021 spring season.
“These young men could have given up on their dream to play at the next level, but they stuck to it,” Solomon said. “They serve as great role models for future Warhawks who want to play college lacrosse and what it takes physically and mentally to make the leap.”
Following is a list of some of those college players.
Josh Rhodes, Anderson College: Rhodes started 11 games for the Ravens and had 24 goals and a team-leading 16 assists. He set team single-season records for points (40) and assists.
Rhodes earned Conference Offensive Player of the Week once and earned second-team All-Conference honors.
Patrick Ruffolo, Community College Of Baltimore, Essex: Ruffolo played in every game for the Knights, who finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the National Junior College Athletic Association. The former all-state selection was among team leaders, netting 20 goals to go with his 17 assists, helping the team reach the national-tournament semifinals.
Joey Jorgenson, Merrimack College: The defender started all 10 games for Merrimack as the Warriors were in their first full season transitioning from Division II to Division I lacrosse. He gathered 11 ground balls and caused eight turnovers.
Jorgenson was an integral part of a squad that was ranked 12th in the country in caused turnovers per game (9.1). He was named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team.
Timmy Palamer, Belmont-Abbey College: Palmer started one game and played in seven for the Division II squad. The Crusaders (10-4) won the Conference Carolinas championship with a win over the University of Mount Olive. Palmer had a goal and an assist in the title match, giving him four points for the season.
Lucas Kohler, Elizabethtown College: Kohler saw action as a defender in several matches. Elizabethtown played a limited Landmark Conference schedule and finished with a 6-3 record.
Michael Leone, Hampden-Sydney College: Leone played in seven matches with four goals and five assists.