The Caesar Rodney Riders boys lacrosse team has become a force in the state lacrosse scene over the past few years. In 2013, the trend continued for the Riders as they posted a 12-3 record and returned to the State Championship Game, making them our “Team of the Year” in boys lacrosse.

The Riders 2013 squad picked up where they left off last season after going 14-1 and earning a trip to the State Championship. CR started the season off quickly, winning their first 3 contests of the year, outscoring their opponents 46-15.

However, the Riders were about to descend onto their first of many bouts with adversity during the 2013 season CR lost 2 straight to St. Mark’s and defending State Champions Salesianum, a set-back that would have made most teams crumble after falling to two of the state’s best, especially after a lopsided 16-2 loss to Sallies in what amounted to a revenge game for CR.

Though, the Riders were no ordinary team and they bounced back in a big way the rest of the season.

The Riders went on to win 9 of their remaining 10 games earning yet another berth into the DIAA State Tournament. However, before the tournament could start, the Riders were faced with yet another dose of adversity.

After winning 9 of 10 to finish the season, the Riders drew Delmar in the opening round of the DIAA State Tournament. Just a week removed from falling to Delmar 5-4 in their regular season finale.

Like they had done earlier in the season, the Riders responded with huge victory in the opening round, cruising past Delmar 14-5.

Once again, the pressure would be on the Riders as they entered a Quarterfinal matchup with rival Polytech to be played on the road. In a nasty game both literally and figuratively, the Riders were able to prevail over their rivals underneath dreary skies, winning 9-7 to move onto the Semifinals where they faced a Cape Henlopen team that nearly pulled off a victory over CR earlier in the month. However, as they had done all season, they were able to overcome another obstacle on their way to the State Championship with an 11-8 win over Cape.

For the second season in a row, the Riders found themselves face-to-face with Salesianum in the State Championship Game. And while they came up just short of their goal of becoming State Champions again this season, the Riders can hold their heads high when reflecting back to the 2013 campaign.

And with a young core still intact, the Riders can expect a repeat performance next season.

“I don’t think that this season is much different than in the past, “said CR Head Coach Drew Hughes. “Each team is different in their own way and the challenge is figuring out how the pieces fit together the best way. This is a very young team in terms of grade level but a team with a lot of varsity experience.”

With a large portion of last year’s team returning, including Austin Hayward, Eric Schaeffer, Kevin Patrick Sheahan, Nick Gruwell and Sean MacLeish, the Riders should remain among the state’s elite come next year.

The returnees hope to take the experience they’ve gained over the past few seasons to return to the State Championship Game next season, with eyes on winning it this time around. With a young core still intact and the motivation that comes from getting so close to the ultimate goal, one would be hard pressed to bet against the Riders next season.