Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
Sam Romano, Episcopal Dallas (Texas)
The junior midfielder led the Eagles to a big win over district rival Highland Park (Texas) on Friday in a matchup of arguably two of the top three teams in Texas. Romano, who is committed to Syracuse, registered three goals and two assists. Episcopal Dallas trailed most of the game but ended on a 6-0 run for the 10-7 win. Romano's final goal gave the Eagles a 9-7 lead with 5:36 left. He assisted the first two goals of the game.
Notable: Austin Skorb, Centennial (Ga.); Adam Sawicki, Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), Read Zigler, Westminster (Ga.).
Game of the Week
Ponte Vedra (Fla.) at Jupiter (Fla.), March 27
Jupiter already has beaten two of last year's FHSAA Final Four teams (2013 state champion Lake Highland Prep and runner-up St. Andrew's), but this week the Warriors play the other two semifinalists, starting with Benjamin on Wednesday, followed by this intriguing matchup with Ponte Vedra. The Sharks, coming off back-to-back state semifinal appearances, are on a roll after an 8-7 overtime loss to Boca Raton to open the season. They've won seven straight going into Tuesday's game against Gulliver Prep. Jupiter was undefeated entering a Monday game against Vero Beach. This is the first meeting between the two teams.
South Region Top 10
1. Jupiter (Fla.), 7-0
The Warriors were idle last week, a well-deserved break after playing many of the state's top teams early in their schedule. Their wins include defending state champion Lake Highland Prep, 2013 runner-up St. Andrew's and one-loss Barron Collier.
2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 7-1
The Eagles came back strong after spring break in Florida, routing Greenhill (Texas) 16-2 before beating rival Highland Park 10-7 on Friday. The latter should be a big confidence boost for the rest of the in-state schedule.
3. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 8-3
It's tough to penalize the Highlanders for their two losses last week. They lost to national No. 1 Boys' Latin (Md.) by three, and No. 2 McDonogh (Md.) downed them 9-8 with a last-second goal. They bounced back with wins over Bishop Moore (Fla.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.).
4. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 9-1
The Rangers added a 14-6 win over Westlake (Texas), as Gavin McClure led the scoring with four goals and an assist. Their only slip-up was a two-goal loss to Memphis University School (Tenn.).
5. Harrison (Ga.), 9-0
After a nine-day layoff, the Hoyas resumed play with two more wins last week, and they take the top spot from Georgia with the help of a Westminster win over defending state champ Centennial. Harrison is the only team to beat Westminster.
6. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 8-0
The Crusaders' 4-0 record against out-of-state opponents is hard to ignore, including 14-0 over St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.) last week and Norfolk Academy (Va.) and The Woodlands (Texas) earlier this month. Meanwhile, Gibbons also is dominating its in-state schedule.
7. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 7-1
The Sharks have won seven straight since their double-overtime loss to Boca Raton in the opener, including last week's 12-2 win over District 6 opponent Creekside. They next meet Gulliver Prep (Fla.) on Tuesday before a big game against Jupiter on Thursday.
8. Westminster (Ga.), 8-1
In a back-and-forth battle between Georgia's two state champions from last year, the Class 5A winner Wildcats came out on top, beating Class 6A champion Centennial 11-10 on Saturday in the AJ04Lax Fest. Tournament hosts named senior Read Zigler as the game's MVP.
9. Barron Collier (Fla.), 9-1
The Cougars' defense is leading the way, as they haven't given up more than six goals in any game and are allowing just 2.6 points per game. They picked up two wins last week, including handing up-and-coming Oxbridge Academy (Fla.) just its second loss.
10. Centennial (Ga.), 6-1
The Knights' Georgia schedule doesn't get any easier after Westminster. They have big games against one-loss Milton on Thursday and against Harrison on Saturday. Before giving up 11 goals to the Wildcats, Centennial had surrendered just 3.0 points per game.
Georgia lacrosse fans that watched last year's two division state champions battle it out on Saturday got their money's worth. Westminster, the defending Class 5A champions, led 7-3 at halftime before the 2013 Class 6A champion Knights battled back to within one in the last few minutes. Centennial coach Bryan Wallace said his team had three chances to tie it late but ended up being down a man with a minute left, and Westminster ran out the clock. Wildcats senior Read Zigler was named the tournament MVP, and junior attackman Blake Davis had the final goal for Westminster to seal the win. Austin Prescott led Centennial with four goals. Austin Skorb had a big game in goal for the Knights, finishing with 23 saves, and Cole Woodward added a team-high 14 groundballs.
Episcopal Dallas checked off another small goal for its season – beating rival Highland Park. The Eagles trailed 5-3 at the half and were down 7-6 going into the fourth quarter, but a 6-0 run to close the game gave them a 10-7 win. In addition to Sam Romano's three goals and two assists, Richie Loftus scored three goals, Jack Beare added two and Charlie Sikes had eight saves in goal. Grayson Miller led Highland Park offensively with two goals.
Cedar Park (Texas) coach Tom O'Grady recently became a member of the Century Club – for a second time. O'Grady earned his 100th win as a boys lacrosse coach on Feb. 12 when his Timberwolves edged Cedar Ridge (Texas) 6-5 in overtime. He had reached the 100-win mark in girls lacrosse while coaching first-year Vandegrift (Texas) last spring. The total of 200 varsity wins was achieved over nearly a 20-year span and across the states of Florida and Texas.
"I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has achieved this goal, but I know it's pretty rare, especially because these wins were achieved in non-traditional markets like Florida and Texas, and with new varsity teams," O'Grady said in a press release sent by TeamFLC, an organization he helped found to provide lacrosse instruction and development. "It feels great to have accomplished this achievement in the south with a variety of programs."
Cedar Park is currently 2-5, giving O'Grady 101 total wins in boys lacrosse
According to FloridaLacrosseNews.com, the Florida High School Athletic Association has ruled two unnamed Lake Brantley players ineligible for the season, and the school will have to forfeit the games they played in. Lake Brantley self-reported the violation. According to the site, the Patriots might have to forfeit up to six games. They currently are 11-1 on the field and it appears the ineligible players only participated in one district game before the violation was discovered.
Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) led national No. 2 McDonogh (Md.) for more than three quarters in their game last week but lost its advantage with 8:23 left and couldn't regain it. Reid Thedford scored his third and fourth goals back-to-back to tie the game up at 8 with 3:31 remaining, but a turnover led to a McDonogh goal with just over two minutes to play for the final score. Thedford also had a four-goal effort in a 14-11 loss to Boys' Latin. Adam Sawicki had 27 saves over those two games and added 15 more saves in a 12-6 win over St. Thomas Aquinas last week.
2014 South Region Report Archive
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