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April 29, 2014

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Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report

by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com

Related: National Top 25 | NortheastMid-Atlantic | Midwest | West

Player of the Week 

Brandon Davis, Milton (Ga.)

The senior attacker helped his team win both of its games in the Legacy Cup over the weekend. He led Milton to a 13-9 win over Memphis University School, tallying four goals, including two late in the game, and he had three goals and an assist in a 15-13 win over Charlotte Latin (N.C.). Davis was a first team all-state selection last year and was one of six starters who were on the Eagles' state title team in 2012.

Also notable: Kyle Richbourg, Lake Highland (Fla.); Dillon LaGamma, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.); Jack Beare, Episcopal Dallas (Texas); Mitch Russell, Fort Mill (S.C.)

Game of the Week

The Woodlands (Texas) vs. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), May 3, Friendswood High School, Houston

This a matchup many would have liked to have seen during the regular season, but meeting in the state semifinals only makes it more interesting. The teams last played in 2010, a 10-9 win for Dallas Jesuit in the first round of Super Regionals. Both were expected to be among the top four teams in Texas going into this season, thanks to Dallas Jesuit's history of success and The Woodlands returning the bulk of a lineup that experienced a perfect record in the 2013 regular season. The Highlanders lost their first playoff game last year, falling 11-10 to state runner-up Episcopal Dallas in a Super Regional final. The Rangers lost to Episcopal in the state semifinals last year, and they have lost in this round the past two seasons since finishing as state runners up in 2011.

South Region Top 10

1. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 17-3
The Highlanders outscored Orlando-Boone (Fla.) and Lake Brantley (Fla.) 33-4 in their first two state tournament play-in games, and they are now one win away from a sixth straight Final Four. Kyle Richbourg finished with five goals and two assists against Brantley and had one goal and four assists against Boone.

2. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 16-0
The Crusaders breezed to a 17-1 win over J.F. Webb (N.C.) on April 23 and now heads into their conference tournament this week. Gibbons has been led by Gannon Morrison, a Marist recruit who averages 3.1 goals per game after racking up 42 goals and 37 assists last year.

3. Barron Collier (Fla.), 18-1
The Cougars cruised to a 15-5 win over Cardinal Mooney (Fla.) in a second-round state tournament play-in game after surviving a tough test in the first round earlier last week. They ended Gulf Coast's season with an 8-6 loss – just the team's third loss of the season, second to Barron Collier. Michael O'Dea led the Cougars with four goals in each of the wins last week.

4. The Woodlands (Texas), 17-4
The Highlanders advanced to the THSLL Division I state semifinals with an 8-5 win over Southlake (Texas) on Sunday. Gus Pinsoneault led with one goal, two assists and three ground balls, and Sean McCanna had two goals and three ground balls. Woodlands has now won 11 in a row since suffering back-to-back losses to Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) – in overtime – and St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) in early March.

5. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 15-5
A five-game losing streak in March was all it took to wake the Raiders up for a strong finish to the regular season and dominant postseason run. They've outscored four playoff opponents 75-15, including the most recent 17-4 victory against rival Columbus Catholic (Fla.) in a second-round state tournament play-in game Friday. Aquinas, which lost to Columbus in that same round last year, held the Explorers scoreless for 25 minutes during a 9-0 run, and Dillon LaGamma led the Raiders with five goals.

6. Milton (Ga.), 15-2
The Eagles are on the rise with an impressive showing since a 19-13 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas on April 5. They've won five straight, including beating previously-ranked Jupiter (Fla.), three-loss Lovett (Ga.) and most recently, in the Legacy Lacrosse Cup, handing Charlotte Latin (N.C.) its first loss, 15-13, and topping a quality Memphis University School (Tenn.), 13-9.

7. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 14-2
The Rangers eased to their fifth straight THSLL state Final Four with a convincing 20-2 win over Kingwood in a Super Regional final Sunday. Jesuit's losses came against Memphis University (Tenn.) and fellow Final Four team Highland Park (Texas), a game the Rangers bounced back from with a win over state semifinalist Episcopal Dallas in the regular-season finale.

8. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 20-2
With the help of Miles Silva's three goals and several recovered ground balls from Evan Weiner, the Sharks overcame a halftime deficit to beat Lake Mary (Fla.) 8-6 in a second-round state tournament play-in game on Friday. Ponte Vedra, which beat Bolles (Fla.) 11-6 in the first round April 22, is one win away from a third straight Final Four appearance.

9. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 16-2
The Eagles had no trouble rebounding from their April 17 loss to Dallas Jesuit. They beat Austin (Texas) 17-3 in the first round of Super Regionals and topped Strake Jesuit (Texas) 19-7 in the second round Sunday to advance to the Final Four with the help of eight goals by Jack Beare over the two games. Episcopal meets Highland Park (Texas) – a team it beat 10-7 on March 21 – in the state semifinals May 3.

10. Charlotte Latin (N.C.), 14-1
The Hawks suffered their first loss of the season, 15-13, to Milton (Ga.) in the Legacy Lacrosse Cup over the weekend, but they bounced back to beat Decatur (Ga.) 12-6 the next day. They also had a 14-5 win over Charlotte Country Day earlier in the week.

NOTES

It was no surprise which teams made it to the Texas High School Lacrosse League Final Four this year. The Woodlands, Dallas Jesuit, Episcopal Dallas and Highland Park were projected among the state's top teams entering the season, while 2013 state champion St. Mark's graduated the bulk of its lineup and ended up losing to Southlake in a regional play-in game April 22.

Episcopal meets Highland Park in the first state semifinal at 2 p.m. Saturday, a rematch of a game the Eagles won 10-7 on March 21. Episcopal has played all three of the other Final Four teams, also beating The Woodlands 10-8 on March 1 but losing 11-7 to Dallas Jesuit on April 17 to spoil its perfect record against Texas competition.

The Woodlands and Dallas Jesuit are meeting for the first time this season. Jesuit has the previous win over Episcopal but lost to Highland Park 8-6 on April 11 for its only in-state loss, while the Highlanders beat the Fighting Scots 10-7 on April 5.

Highland Park and Episcopal Dallas both had to win two Super Regional games to make it to state. The Scots beat Kinkaid 11-3 and Westlake 6-2.

The state championship game is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

***

The Florida High School Athletic Association state tournament will take place this weekend in Bradenton, Fla. but the field will not be decided until the conclusion of the third round of play-in games Tuesday. Defending champion Lake Highland Prep and two others from last year's Final Four are still alive -- Ponte Vedra and Benjamin look for a return as well. St. Andrew's, the 2013 runner-up, already has been knocked out.

Lake Highland Prep has been to the state championship each of the past four seasons and hasn't missed the Final Four since 2008.

***

Fort Mill (S.C.) beat 2013 state champion Wando (S.C.), 15-13, last week to earn its second title in program history. It was a rematch of last year's state championship, which Wando won 8-5.

The Yellowjackets (13-3) let go of a 10-5 halftime advantage, surrendering five straight goals to tie the game seven minutes into the second half, but managed to regain a lead and hold on. Mitch Russell finished with a game-high six goals to lead Fort Mill, which had beaten the Warriors 14-9 earlier in the season.

***

Milton (Ga.) performed well at home during the seventh annual Legacy Lacrosse Cup over the weekend. The Eagles were solid on offense but owe a lot of credit to Hunter Sanna, who helped them gain a possession advantage by winning more than 60 percent of his faceoffs. Sanna won 61 percent of his faceoffs in a 15-13 win over Charlotte Latin (N.C.) and also had three goals in that game. He was even better at center circle in a 13-9 win over Memphis University (Tenn.), winning 67 percent of faceoffs. Offensively, six players had three points or more in at least one of those games, including Brandon Davis' eight points. Nick Newell had three goals and an assist and Jake Jenkins had one goal and three assists against Latin; Cole Houghton had three goals against MUS, while Chad Tolliver added four assists; and Justin Newell had three goals and five assists over the two games.

***

Memphis University (Tenn.) picked up two wins last week, including beating Lake Norman (N.C.) 11-10, but dropped out of the rankings after suffering its third loss to a South Region-ranked team. The Owls (12-3) fell 13-9 to Milton (Ga.) in the Legacy Cup, which ended an 11-game win streak that followed back-to-back losses to Woodlands (Texas) and Charlotte Latin (N.C.).

***

Northview (Ga.) also moved out of the rankings following its first loss, 14-11, to Johns Creek (Ga.), a Class 6A team that has five losses. The Titans (16-1) have a notable win over 15-2 Westminster (Ga.), but their two out-of-state wins were against Florida teams that finished around .500.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every Tuesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Boys' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.

2014 South Region Report Archive


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