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May 20, 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 

Connor Redmond, Northview (Ga.)

On a day when the Titans' offense was struggling to keep up with its usual pace, Redmond came up big for the defense, making 15 saves to help Northview edge Lovett, 9-8, for its first state title. Heading into the GHSA 1A-5A final, the Titans offense was averaging 15.4 points per game and 16.7 points per game in the playoffs. Redmond, a senior who was named third team All-State, had some especially key saves down the stretch.

Also notable: Owen Armstrong, Charlotte Latin (N.C.); Patrick DiMento, Memphis University (Tenn.); Brock Cohnes, Roswell (Ga.); Leland Gray, Louisville-St. Xavier (Ky.)

Game of the Week

Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) at Northwest Guilford (N.C.), May 20

This should be one of the more competitive semifinal matches in North Carolina, and the winner of this game likely get a shot at defending Class 4A champion Apex in the final. Charlotte Catholic (20-3) avenged its 2013 semifinal loss to Lake Norman last week, beating the Wildcats 8-7 in overtime in the quarterfinals to advance. The Cougars' only losses this season were to Westminster (Ga.) and 1A/2A/3A semifinalists Marvin Ridge (N.C.) and Cardinal Gibbons. Northwester Guilford (20-0) went undefeated during the regular season for a second straight year after losing in the quarterfinals last year against Lake Norman. In the small-school semifinals May 20, Cardinal Gibbons (20-0) plays Jacksonville (N.C.) (10-6), and Northern Guilford (14-2) plays Marvin Ridge (17-1).

South Region Top 10

1. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 20-3

The Highlanders won 14 straight games to finish off their season with a second straight FHSAA state title and third ring in the last four years. They were 19-1 against Florida opponents, losing only to Jupiter, 12-10 on March 1. Lake Highland's other losses were by a combined four points against nationally-ranked McDonogh (Md.) and No. 1 Boys' Latin (Md.). Reid Thedford paced the Highlanders with 58 goals and 22 assists, and Max Parker won 78.5 percent of the faceoffs he took.

2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 18-2

The Eagles claimed their fourth state title in program history and first since 2007, beating Dallas Jesuit in the championship to avenge their only in-state loss of the season. Episcopal's other loss came at the hands of the elite IMG National (Fla.) squad during spring break. Richie Loftus finished with a team-high 88 points on 45 goals, 43 assists, while Jack Beare had 60 goals and nine assists. Charlie Sikes posted a 59.7 percent save rate.

3. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 20-0

The Crusaders outscored their first two playoff opponents, 30-2, last week to advance to the semifinals of the inaugural NCHSAA small-school championships. Gannon Morrison scored four goals and Hunter Van Horn added three in an 18-0 win over Roxborough Community (N.C.) to open the playoffs before Gibbons repeated a Big Eight Conference championship win over Chapel Hill (N.C.) in the quarterfinals.

4. Charlotte Latin (N.C.), 20-1

The Hawks' third straight NCISAA state championship came in dominant fashion, as they jumped out to a 9-0 halftime lead and beat Durham Academy 13-4. Latin actually scored all 13 of its goals before Durham found the back of the net. Owen Armstrong paced the offense with eight points on four goals and four assists while Carson Song added one goal and five assists. The Hawks' lone loss was to Milton (Ga.), but they beat Tennessee state champion Memphis University School and South Carolina state champion Fort Mill.

5. Memphis University School (Tenn.), 17-3

Patrick DiMento scored five goals to spark the Owls, as they defeated McCallie 13-6 on Saturday for their fourth straight Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association state championship. John Valentine was named the Defensive MVP. Memphis University beat Ensworth 11-6 in the semifinals and knocked out Montgomery Bell in the quarterfinals. The Owls' only losses were to Milton (Ga.) on April 26 and to Charlotte Latin (N.C.) and The Woodlands (Texas) the second week of the season.

6. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 21-3

The Sharks ended their season in the state semifinals for a third year in a row, losing to eventual champion Lake Highland Prep. Their other two losses came against Boca Raton (Fla.) in the season opener and in overtime against Jupiter (Fla.). Ponte Vedra had notable wins over Lake Brantley (Fla.) and Lake Mary (Fla.), as well as out-of-state wins over South Carolina runner-up Wando and Greenville (S.C.). Miles Silva finished with 62 goals, while Cody Legeza had 46 goals and 30 assists.

7. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 15-3

Despite returning just three starters from last year's team, the Rangers made their fifth straight Final Four and first state final since 2011 – only to finish runner-up to Episcopal Dallas, a team they had beaten in the regular-season finale. Jesuit's other two losses were both 8-6 games against Memphis University (Tenn.) and Highland Park (Texas). The Rangers had out-of-state wins over St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) and Needham-Broughton (N.C.).

8. Northview (Ga.), 21-1

The Titans won their first state title in program history by beating Lovett (Ga.) 9-8 in the GHSA small-school division championship. Matt Biondich's third goal with 3:37 left secured the win, giving Northview its final score of the game and a two-goal lead. Chad Johnson had two goals, and Connor Redmond was key in goal with 15 saves. The Titans' lone loss was to Johns Creek (Ga.) and they also had notable regular-season wins over 2013 champion Westminster and this year's Class 6A runner-up Lambert.

9. Roswell (Ga.), 17-3

The Hornets avenged a regular-season loss to Lambert (Ga.), defeating the Longhorns 6-5 in the Class 6A championship to earn their first state title in program history. Roswell never trailed this time, thanks to nine saves by Brock Cohnes and two goals by Andrew Thomas. Lambert was going for its third title in four seasons. The Hornets' run included knocking out 2013 champion Centennial (Ga.) in the quarterfinals, and they closed with eight straight wins following a close loss to Milton (Ga.) on April 1.

10. Benjamin (Fla.), 15-6

The Buccaneers won 11 straight to advance to their first state championship game, despite a 4-5 start to the season. They finished runner-up to Lake Highland Prep and had notable wins over St. Thomas Aquinas, Jupiter and Boca Raton. Two of their losses were to Maryland's Severn and Calvert Hall. Andrew Packer led the team with 40 goals, 29 assists and a 59 percent faceoff win rate, while McKenna Johnson (29 goals, 19 assists) and Ryan Silvester (27 goals, 20 assists) also were key contributors.

News and Notes

Lambert put Roswell's defense to the test, but the Hornets held steady for a 6-5 win and their first state title in program history.

The Longhorns dominated the GHSA Class 6A championship in terms of possession and shot attempts, firing 27 shots to the Hornets' 18, but Roswell's defense kept Lambert's shooters off target and net-minder Brock Cohnes came up with nine saves for a 62.4 save rate in the final.

"The team played together very well and the defense led the charge and brought the championship home," Hornets coach Alex Chrzanowski told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Lambert scored the final goal of the game early in the third quarter, but had its chances late in the game. With 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Roswell turned the ball over but was able to regain possession eight seconds later and run out the clock. The Hornets also were charged with a delay of game penalty for storming the field prematurely with two seconds remaining, but it wasn't enough time for Lambert to score the tying goal.

"We knew this would be a one goal game, and I think the difference tonight is they made more plays than we did," Lambert director of lacrosse Rich Wehman told the Forsyth County News. "We had our chances, and we just didn't make enough plays. That's the bottom line.

"If we played this game 10 times, they'd probably win five, we'd probably win five. On any given night, it's whoever makes more plays."

***

The second time was the charm for Northview.

A year after losing to Westminster in the 1A-5A final, the Titans claimed their first state title with a 9-8 win over Lovett on Saturday. Northview had beaten Lovett 17-9 in the semifinals last year before falling 8-4 to the Wildcats in the championship.

"This was five years in the making and we'd been close before," Titans coach Michael Ryan told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "But I don't take any credit – I'm just a guy with the whistle who was blessed with some great kids."

***

Memphis University School (Tenn.) attacker Patrick DiMento scored nine of his team's 24 goals during the Final Four, helping the Owls to their fourth straight title — 11th overall.

However, the defense was just a much a factor in the Owls' success through the playoffs and the season.

MUS held opposing offenses to single digits in all but four games, as the defense held a 5.9 goals against average for the season.

The offense averaged 13.2 goals per game in May. DiMento finished with five goals in the final against McCallie (Tenn.) after contributing four goals and an assist in an 11-6 win over Ensworth (Tenn.) in the semifinals.

McCallie advanced to the championship with a 10-5 win over Ravenwood (Tenn.). Zach Stephenson won 26 of the 33 faceoffs he took to lead the Blue Tornado, and goalie Tate Boyce finished with 18 saves during the state tournament. Tyler Wilks and Braiden Davis each had two goals against MUS.

***

A year after Louisville-Trinity (Ky.) broke Louisville-St. Xavier's string of five straight Kentucky Scholastic Lacrosse League championships, the Tigers reclaimed the title.

St. Xavier (Ky.) beat rival Trinity 10-6 in the final Friday to finish undefeated against in-state competition this season. The Tigers finished 17-3 with losses to Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.), St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) and Norfolk Academy (Va.).

"It's been a long year," St. Xavier coach Scott Howe told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "We really worked hard (over the past year). We have great chemistry."

Leland Gray led the Tigers with four goals, while Will Roshkowski and Collin Roppel added two goals apiece. Jackson Lienhart led the Shamrocks with six goals.

Trinity had lost to St. X, 16-3, in a regular-season matchup April 23.

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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