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Coach Fitzgerald Earns First Win with O’Connell

Yorktown focused on winning National District title.

First-year Bishop O’Connell boys lacrosse head coach Justin Fitzgerald is in the early stages of leaving his mark on the program. While wins and losses aren’t Fitzgerald’s main focus at the moment, senior Josh Trimble’s four-goal performance on Saturday helped the coach earn his first victory with the Knights.

Trimble scored his fourth goal with 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, giving O’Connell a five-goal advantage en route to an 11-8 victory over Yorktown at OHS. The win came two days after the Knights lost their opener against Potomac School, 15-11.

While Fitzgerald is focused on the bigger picture, beating the Patriots was a step toward establishing higher expectations in the future.

"My goal more than anything else is putting a system in place and establishing a program that kids will want to come and play in," he said. "I haven’t set any goals in terms of wins or making it to the tournament."

Fitzgerald came to O’Connell from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, where he led the Rams to state championships in 2006 and 2007 was and twice named Concorde District Coach of the Year. As a player, Fitzgerald was an All-American at Robinson and played at Roanoke College.

Trimble said Fitzgerald’s credentials earned him respect with the Knights.

"Everything’s new, everything’s looking good," Trimble said. "I like the way he coaches. We’re practicing a lot better and everyone’s getting better. … We respect him more [because of what he’s accomplished]. We respect what he says."

Fitzgerald said seniors Trimble (midfielder/attackman), Gray Posey (attackman), Anthony Spellman (midfielder) and Scott Rapuano (defenseman) have stood out for the Knights. On Saturday, Posey and juniors Sean Ohlhaver and Mikey Ripa each scored two goals for O’Connell and Spellman added one.

The Knights will host Episcopal at 4:15 p.m. on March 23.

<sh>Yorktown Eyes District Title

<bt>The Patriots carry the feeling of losing to Washington-Lee in the 2010 National District championship game as motivation. While Yorktown fell short against O’Connell on Saturday, the Patriots return the talent necessary to make some noise during district competition.

"It’s just one of those things that we beat [W-L] in the regular season and they came in the playoffs and they just wanted it more than we did," Yorktown head coach Greg Beer said. "They came in focused and we weren’t focused enough to compete with them. … We hope to compete with W-L and Edison and the rest of the district [and] to get a National District title. It’s been a couple years since we won it and it’s definitely our first goal."

Yorktown is an experienced group, led by defensemen Rory Devine, Cully Netting and Josh Fleetwood, who are each three-year starters. The 6-foot-5 Devine is a two-time first-team all-district selection and was the 2010 district Defensive Player of the Year.

"He’s definitely our No. 1 defensemen," Beer said of Devine. "He’s real good. He’s guarded the No. 1 attackman on the other team since his sophomore year every game and he’s always accepted the challenge."

Offensively, senior and four-year starter Michael Crowe is one of Yorktown’s main threats. Through two games, sophomore attackman Joe Crawford led the Patriots with seven goals, including three against O’Connell. Senior midfielder Stephen Kang is the program’s first Division I commit, Beer said. Kang is headed to the University of Denver.

Yorktown will travel to face Chantilly at 7:15 p.m. on March 25. The Patriots will host Washington-Lee at 7:15 p.m. on March 31.