Over the next several weeks, the Rochester Knighthawks will be front and center on the local high school lacrosse scene as part of a new weekly series that will feature the latest news and notes, scores and stats of select games around the Greater Rochester Area.
This week’s High School Game of the Week features the battle of Webster as the unbeaten Thomas Titans go up against the cross-town Warriors from Schroeder in boy’s lacrosse action on Wednesday, May 5 at Webster Schroeder High School.
It’s the first and only meeting of the season between the two Webster teams and the first since April 11, 2019 when Thomas claimed a narrow 6-4 win over Schroeder.
The Titans, playing their second of a three-game week, come into the matchup having won two straight to open the 2021 season after a 14-5 victory over Irondequoit on Monday. The win, which improved Thomas to 11-10 against Irondequoit dating back to the 2003 season, was also the second straight game in which the Titans reached the 14-goal mark this season following its 15-6 win over Honeoye Falls-Lima on April 29.
Thomas returns five key components from the 2019 season, including leading point-getter and senior attackman Joe Russo, who leads the Titans with four goals and two assists for six points. Committed to attend SUNY Geneseo in the Fall, Russo is coming off a breakout year in 2019 that saw him produce a team-high 35 goals and 45 points in 10 games on his way to earning All-League Honorable Mention honors.
The Titans also return senior goaltender Ethan Ruller, who anchors the stingy Thomas defense that has allowed just 11 goals-against through its first two games while holding the opposition to two goals or less in all eight quarters of play thus far. As a sophomore, Ruller made 155 saves and boasted a .550 save percentage while appearing in all 10 games for Thomas. For his efforts, he was named a 2019 Democrat & Chronicle All-Greater Rochester Honorable Mention as well as an All-League First Team selection.
Ruller is the son of Titans head coach Rob Ruller, one of the all-time winningest coaches in Section V history. Ruller, who enters his 18th season with Thomas, carries a 215-103 career coaching record since joining the program prior to the start of the 2003 season. During his tenure, he’s led the Titans to two Section V championships, the most recent of which came in 2016.
Notable Thomas Alumni include Jacob Allen (Maryville) – CJ Battaglia (Penn State) – Kyle Bullard (Wheaton) – Ryan Canham (Clarkson) – Pierce Currie (Clarkson) – Travis Ford (Fairfield) – Trevor Ford (Fairfield) – David Gutman (MCC) – Matt Hill (UMass) – Brian Jantz (St John Fisher) – Stevie Katz (Mercyhurst) – Joe Luconte (Geneseo) – Nick Mabe (Mercyhurst) – Matt Yonko (Clarkson).
The program has also delivered eight US Lacrosse All-Americans since 1975, most notably Trevor Ford in 2018.
While the Titans look to improve to 3-0, tonight marks the season-opener for a Warriors team that has been idle for nearly two full years. An 18-2 loss to Brighton back on May 22, 2019 closed the books on an 8-10 season for Schroeder before the cancellation of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Warriors have dropped five of their last six dating back to the 2019 season with the lone win over that span coming in a 17-2 thrashing over Gates-Chili.
Junior midfielder Nick Hauman is among several returning players for Schroeder, but one of the most prolific scorers in recent years. As a freshman during the 2019 season, Hauman led the Warriors in goals (31) and points (51) while also finishing second on the team with 20 assists. He also added 28 ground balls and totaled 102 shots. Hauman, who is committed to attend Towson University in the Fall of 2022, was named to the All-League Second Team as a midfielder.
Led by fifth-year head coach Jason Mordaci, Schroeder plays twice in a three-night span before opening a two-game road trip next week.
The program has produced four US Lacrosse All-Americans since 1980, including the Catalino brothers in Mike (2005) and Grant (2007). Grant, a former two-time captain during his tenure at Webster, was named the Democrat and Chronicle’s first-ever All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year for boys’ lacrosse as a senior before moving onto the University of Maryland, where he was a three-time All-American. He finished his collegiate career with 119 goals, good for seventh all-time in program history) and 66 assists for 185 points, good for 10th all-time.
Catalino was drafted 21st overall by the Denver Outlaws in the 2011 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft, but he was quickly traded to his hometown Rochester Rattlers. He made his pro debut for the Rattlers after the Terrapins’ season ended in the NCAA championship game. In his second professional game, he tied an MLL record by scoring nine goals in one game, a Rattlers loss to the Hamilton Nationals.
He was then drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft by his hometown Rochester Knighthawks (the previous Knighthawks franchise that operated from 1995-2019).
Other notable Schroeder Alumni include Evan Alfano (Cortland) – Brennan Bitely (Elmira) – Cole Bollin (Geneseo) – Conor Bollin (RIT) – Joe Carra (Alfred) – Sean Cottrell (Wells) – Jack Ferruzza (Buffalo) – Noah Germano (Alfred) – Josh Hauman (Alfred) – Erik Jakobsze (RIT) – Jonathan Kay (Alfred) – Stephen Kay (Clarkson) – Hunter Olsen (Canton) – Joe Visconte (Alfred).