Boys Lacrosse

‘This is kind of what we dreamt of’ — Fenwick boys lacrosse enjoys successful season

FRANKLIN — Cooper Mulligan hadn’t seen the type of camaraderie that unfolded for the Fenwick High School boys lacrosse team like he did the last couple of months.

The Falcons senior midfielder said he envisioned it, but just never thought it would come to be so special.

“I’ve got to give it to all of us,” Mulligan said. “We checked in, and we weren’t short of putting in the hard work.

“It was an atmosphere that I hadn’t been a part of yet here at Fenwick.”

Few have.

The Falcons started the 2024 season 8-0 for the first time in the current scheduling and playoff format and had several Sweet 16 finishes over the years.

Fenwick wrapped up its 20th year of boys lacrosse competition and finished a program-best 18-3 after losing to Bellbrook 16-14 last week in the Division II regional finals. The last time the Falcons reached the regional finals was in 2016, when it lost 12-5 to Summit Country Day.

“This was a great season, a very historic season,” Fenwick first-year coach Doug Gallant said. “The kids have really come leaps and bounds. We were hoping for the storybook ending, but we didn’t finish it.”

“It was awesome,” Mulligan added. “Most of these guys, we’ve all been playing together since second grade. This is kind of what we dreamt of. It was the coaching that had changed, and it was a different type of attitude that we came out with this season.”


The Falcons were tested with some early-season adversity. 

Gallant, who is from Massachusetts, lost his father in February — which momentarily separated him from the team.

And rightfully so.

“These guys stepped up,” Gallant said with emotion. “We had to cancel practice because I had to fly home.”

Gallant was reassured by his team’s leaders that things would be in good hands until he returned.

“The leadership of these captains and seniors,” Gallant noted. “They said, ‘Coach, we’ve got practice for you. Just stay home.’”

But Gallant didn’t stay away from the lacrosse field for too long.

“My dad was a coach for 25 years,” Gallant said. “I knew he would be kicking my ass if I didn’t get back on the field.

“They call lacrosse the medicine game. To me, that was my medicine — being with these boys. They fought through everything. Great leadership is what it is. It was great leadership from the top down.”


There were multiple players who stepped up for the Falcons during the 2024 campaign.

The top four goal scorers in the Greater Catholic League Coed were senior Mathew Swisher (73), junior Parker Beuerlein (69), Mulligan (60) and senior Bradley Sejas (46).

Senior John Tanaka led the league in assists with 33, while Swisher (31), Mulligan (24) and Beuerlein (23) were close behind. Senior goalie Vaughan Hawkins held it down at the net.

“Great leadership, all around, with some key wins,” Gallant said. “We had some tough losses that we learned from.

“One of the big mantras was that we have a hard work ethic. I want them to take in that blue collar mentality. I tell them, ‘The second you walk through that door, nothing matters except for lacrosse. You punch in, you punch out. When you have something else that’s on your mind, talk to me after, I’m here for you.’ They did a great job of just learning lacrosse at that moment.”

Mulligan said the bar has now been set high for the program, and that the younger players are invested in maintaining that standard.

“At the beginning of the season, we kind of had a get-together where we asked where our heads were at with the season and where our plans were to go,” Mulligan said. “Our main goal is to win the GCL, go undefeated, but we didn’t go undefeated. We lost two. We wanted a state run. We wanted the regionals here, too. We were two goals away.

“But it was awesome. Most of these guys, we’ve all been playing together since second grade. This is kind of what we dreamt of.”


Fenwick impressively climbed its way out of a hole in the regional final loss to Bellbrook.

The Eagles led 10-3 in the second quarter, 11-5 at the half and 14-8 in the third before the Falcons cut it to within 15-14 with five minutes left to play.

“We owned up to it. Defense straight up said, ‘We sucked there,’” Mulligan said. “We can’t give up 10-plus goals in the first half. We knew it was going to be tough to come back from that. … At halftime, we had a come to Jesus. We had to turn things around. We wanted to have a chance in this game. We did, we just came up short.

“Obviously, ending it like this isn’t what anybody is hoping for. That second half we fought hard. Obviously, first half, we didn’t come out hot, defense wasn’t clicking. Just not the outcome we wanted. But it was a hell of a season.”

Bellbrook added another goal and played ball control the rest of way to end Fenwick’s stellar season.

“Like I told the guys, ‘You could have felt sorry for yourselves and just packed it in,’” Gallant said. “But we knew we could fight, scratch. It started with one good ground ball, one face off, one clear, one save, one shot, one goal. And just start it all over again. They did that. The kept fighting to the end.”

“Definitely disappointed,” Mulligan chimed in. “But I’m beyond grateful for these guys. We’ve been playing together now for 10-plus years. These underclassmen, they bought in just as much as all of us seniors did. That’s about as much as you can ask for.”

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