Nike/US Lacrosse South Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Olivia Ferrucci, Barron Collier (Fla.)
Cydney Tutchton, Lassiter (Ga.)
Katy Pridemore, Vero Beach (Fla.)
Games to Watch
Milton (Ga.) at Vero Beach (Fla.), March 16, 5
Barron Collier (Fla.) at Lake Brantley (Fla.), March 16,
Hockaday (Texas) at St. John's (Texas), March 23, 5
1. Vero Beach (Fla.), 7-0
The Fighting Indians earned their 100th consecutive in-state victory March 6, beating Jensen Beach 20-3 in a district game. Their last loss to a Florida opponent came six years ago, a 7-6 defeat to Lake Brantley on Feb. 16, 2007, which they avenged later that season in the state championship. Vero Beach, winner of seven-straight state finals, has outscored opponents 134-24 this season
"It didn't even hit me until I went back and looked over [results from] our games the last six and a half years," Vero Beach coach Shannon Dean said. "That's a long time to not lose to an in-state opponent. It's a great milestone for our program, and it's a credit to our past and current players who have played for Vero Beach High School."
Vero Beach hosts national No. 1 McDonogh (Md.) on Wednesday.
2. Milton (Ga.), 3-0
The defending state-champion Eagles handed Walton a 19-11 loss in a rematch of their 2012 state semifinal game, then beat also-ranked Hutchison (Tenn.) 20-10 on March 8. Hutchison scored the first four goals of the game and was up 5-1 before the Eagles scored nine straight to take a 10-5 lead into halftime. Molly Garrigan and Lydia Cassada combined for six goals and four assists against Walton.
3. St. John's (Texas), 6-0
The Mavericks kicked off a four-game stretch against out-of-state opponents with wins over California's St. Ignatius Prep (20-17) and Menlo School (20-9) on March 9, but also had notable victories against Texas foes Episcopal Dallas and one-loss Woodlands. Menlo was the West Region's ninth-ranked team in the preseason and St. Ignatius Prep was coming off a respectable 14-4 season.
4. Barron Collier (Fla.), 7-0
The Cougars have outscored opponents 122-26 in seven games so far, including a 20-2 rout of Naples-Lely on March 5. Barron Collier, a senior-laden team, is coming off an 18-2 season with its lone in-state loss to Vero Beach in the first round of state tournament play-in games. Sam Jaffe leads the attack with 27 goals, 10 assists through seven games.
5. Lassiter (Ga.), 4-0
The Trojans earned a notable win over Hutchison (Tenn.), handing the Sting its first loss, 13-9, on March 7. Lassiter benefited from a quick start, going up 6-1 early for its biggest advantage of the game.
"That was a really big win for us all around," Lassiter coach Faith Harmeyer said. "They are a very fast, very good team. I have no doubt they will win state in Tennessee this year. We played really well, start to finish, and we had eight different players score."
6. Lake Brantley (Fla.), 7-0
The Patriots have won two games decided by one goal, with the most recent coming against the Winter Springs team that knocked them out in the first round of state tournament play-in games. The Bears, who were 20-2 last year, are in somewhat of a rebuilding mode, but Lake Brantley has been a traditionally strong team in Florida and had not missed a Final Four in years before last season's early exit.
7. Ursuline Academy (Texas), 6-0
The Bears handed defending state-champion Hockaday its first loss of the season, 15-13 on March 5, following a tough game against Episcopal Houston. Ursuline doesn't play the most challenging schedule, with no out-of-state opponents, but the Bears do face some of the top teams in Texas, including Episcopal Dallas on March 20 after a 15-day layoff.
8. Hutchison School (Tenn.), 4-2
The Sting's two losses came in back-to-back games against ranked Milton and Lassiter, but two-time defending state champion Hutchison rebounded with a 16-6 win over Northview (Ga.) on March 9. Had it not been for a slow start against Lassiter, the Sting might have seen different results than the 13-9 loss on March 7. Lassiter took a 6-1 lead early but the teams battled back and forth in an evenly-played second half. Hutchison held a 4-0 advantage over Milton, but gave up nine unanswered goals before halftime and couldn't rebound. Alyssa Herzog scored four goals in the 20-10 loss.
9. Oviedo (Fla.), 6-1
The Lions' lone loss was to unbeaten Lake Brantley, and they've earned notable wins over 2012 state semifinalist Bartram Trail (14-13 in overtime on Feb. 22) and one-loss Timber Creek (12-11 on Feb. 28). Oviedo is preparing for a tough out-of-state schedule at the end of the month with games against Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) and Holy Cross (Md.). The Lions return 11 starters from a team that went 14-6 last year.
10. Hockaday (Texas), 4-1
The defending Division I state champion Daisies hit a bump with a 15-13 loss to Ursuline Academy on March 7 – a rematch of a similar 18-16 loss for Hockaday last year. But, the Daisies quickly bounced back with a 14-6 win over Highland Park two days later and now turn their focus toward state runner-up St. John's, who they play March 23.
News and Notes
Bring 'Em On
As winners of seven-straight state finals, Vero Beach has continued to breeze through its schedule against Florida opponents, but now comes the real test.
The Fighting Indians play seven of their next nine games against out-of-state competition, including home games this week against national No. 1 McDonogh (Md.) on Wednesday and No. 21 Milton (Ga.) on Saturday.
"This is the fun part of our schedule," Dean said. "Everyone is ready for this challenge. It's what we've waited for, and it's what our players, coaches and parents have been excited about since the schedule was released."
McDonogh beat Vero Beach 15-5 in their first-ever matchup last, ending Vero's 69-game winning streak that dated back to 2009, but Dean said having now seen the Eagles play should help the Indians enter the second meeting better prepared.
Also on the slate are No. 3 St. Anthony's (N.Y.), on April 3, and No. 5 Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), March 23, plus two other teams that finished in the Top 100 of the LaxPower.com national power ratings last year.
A Balanced Attack
Lassiter lost two of its top attackers to graduation last year, but the Trojans haven't missed a beat with a more balanced offense this season.
Harmeyer said that was one of her team's focuses this year was to make sure the attacks were coming from all directions.
"We have nine players that can score at will," Harmeyer said. "That's been great to see because that was one of our main goals this year was to be more balanced in our offense. It makes us tougher to defend."
Cydney Tutchton and Johnna Fusco lead the team with 13 and six goals, respectively.
Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Girls' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Girls' Top 25.