St. John the Baptist's Shane McCauley celebrates Nicholas Limberg's fourth goal...

St. John the Baptist's Shane McCauley celebrates Nicholas Limberg's fourth goal of the game during a non-league boys lacrosse game against host Seaford on Thursday. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

In St. John the Baptist's first year under the direction of boys lacrosse coach Matthew Schomburg and offensive coordinator Josh Rotolo, the team squeezed out a 6–14 record in 2022. 

Since then, the switch has flipped.

St. John the Baptist (16-4) completed its major turnaround this year by winning the state Class A title — the team’s first in program history.

“The kids bought into the program,” Rotolo said. “We couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. Everything we did, everything we wanted to do, they accepted. All eyes were always on the end prize.”

Seniors Ryan Banaciski and Nicholas Limberg both transferred from Long Island Lutheran in 2023. The pair not only led their team in points this season, but also the NSCHSAA with 96 and 71, respectively.

Because of transfer rules, Banaciski, Limberg and two other LuHi newcomers were not allowed to compete in conference games last season. This year, the group stepped on the field with no restrictions.

Last year, St. John the Baptist lost, 8–0, to St. Dominic in the state title game.

“The championship game was rough especially because we had to watch the game instead of actually playing in it,” Limberg said. “To be out there playing with my boys this year, it was just a blast.”

During this year’s regular season, the Cougars slipped past the Bayhawks, 9–8, in an overtime thriller. When they faced them again in the Class A semifinal, the Cougars won, 12-7. 

“Even in the tough games, I never saw our team get down or defeated,” Banaciski said. “We’re always fighting back; there’s just no quit in this team.”

Banaciski and Limberg each scored a hat trick in the Cougars' 14–2 state title victory over Monsignor Farrell. Banaciski, a Dickinson commit, dished out five assists to finish with an eight-point performance. Senior goalkeeper Will Shaw notched 10 saves and finished with 188 for the season. 

“The goal was always to bring home that state championship,” Rotolo said. “A lot of guys talk the talk, but these guys put their money where their mouth is. They did it together and they never wavered.”

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