This year had a normal feel for Cathedral High School boys lacrosse.
For the Irish, that was a good thing. Long one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the Midwest and in the state of Indiana, the Irish boys firmly reestablished that status in 2022 with strong performances in and out of state.
They entered the postseason among the favorites in Indiana.
“We’re back to where we want to be,” Cathedral boys lacrosse head coach Andy Gruber said. “This felt like a normal Cathedral lacrosse season.”
The Irish, the Indiana High School Lacrosse Association state champions in 2013, 2016-2017 and 2019, finished the 2022 regular season 15-5. They entered the postseason seeded No. 1 in the state tournament after losing just one regular-season game in Indiana.
The Irish finished the regular season in a three-way tie for first with Hamilton Southeastern and Carmel, with the teams splitting regular-season meetings. The Irish beat HSE, with HSE beating Carmel and Carmel beating Cathedral.
“We had a very good regular season,” Gruber said. “We always knew we would have to play one or both of those teams again.”
The Irish emerged again as one of the top teams in the region and state with what Gruber called a “grind-it-out, solid defense.” When the Irish were at their best, Gruber said they were “an exceptional offensive team.”
“Hopefully, we can continue in that direction,” he said.
Highlights for the Irish in ’22 included out-of-state victories over Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller, Mason (Ohio), Montgomery (Tenn.) Bell Academy, Brentwood (Tenn.), Springboro and Cleveland (Ohio) Kiski.
“We had some really quality wins, particularly out of state,” Gruber said. “We play competitively in a couple of really high-level games and that was great to see. We were ranked in the mid-teens throughout the season in a strong Midwest boys lacrosse season. We were really proud to see that.
“We did well in all of our out-of-state games and I feel like we competed well. We got back to a nice groove of playing some high-level lacrosse and being not just competitive but being able to beat any team we had on our schedule and that was a good feeling to have.”
The ’22 Irish were led by a strong, 19-player senior class that featured five senior captains. They were:
*Senior midfielder Jeffrey Utzinger. He finished the regular season with 35 goals and 14 assists.
*Defenseman Reid Betner.
*Midfielder Anthony Kwiatkowski. He finished the regular season with 23 goals and seven assists.
*Midfielder Johnny Kraege. He finished the regular season with 33 goals and 12 assists.
*Attacker Kevin Berutich. He finished the regular season with 40 goals and 41 assists.
“They’ve all just been great players for us this year,” Gruber said. “They’ve done really well and provided great leadership.”
Other frontline senior leaders for the ’22 Irish: goaltender Zach Fuzy, defenseman Jack Wajda, midfielder Nick Saba, attacker Ethan Pac, midfielder Beau Howard and midfielder John Sheddy.
Wajda and Berutich were named first-team All-Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association selections. Kraege, Utzinger and Betner were second-team All-MSLA selections. Kwiatowski and Howard were named honorable mention, as was sophomore defender Joe Konesco.
“They all played solid roles this year and we were really happy with them,” Gruber said. They all bought in and they did great. I can’t stress enough about these seniors. They’ve added to our culture and been phenomenal.”
Also key for the Irish in 2022 was a strong underclass that contributed to the season’s success in a big way – and should provide a strong base for a strong future.
Freshman defender Jake Mayer and Konesco “played fantastic” throughout the season, according to Gruber – and junior midfielder Jackson Edwards was one of the state’s top faceoff players all season.
Attacker Campbell Reid, a sophomore, transferred to Cathedral before the 2022 season and was one of the team’s leading scorers with 34 goals and nine assists.
“We have a lot of talented underclassmen and we have a talented jayvee team,” Gruber said. “Overall, we’re just very pleased with the program and getting back to playing well and doing things right on the field. We got ourselves back into good position both numberswise and wins on the field.”
For updates on the Irish in the postseason, please visit gocathedral.com.