Nike/US Lacrosse South Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Max Parker, Lake Highland Prep (Fla.)
Viper Scheele, Jupiter (Fla.)
Brian Welling, The Woodlands (Texas)
Games to watch
Milton (Ga.) at Lambert (Ga.), March 8
Charlotte Latin (N.C.) vs. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), March
9 at UNC Henry Field
St. Andrew's (Fla.) vs. Boys' Latin (Md.), March
1. St. Andrew's (Fla.) 5-0
The Scots picked up right where they left off last year when they won their 15th state title in 18 years. After winning its first two games of 2013 by a combined score of 40-4, St. Andrew's earned an 11-8 victory over Benjamin. Most recently, the Scots beat Lake Highland Prep – the team they beat in the championship last year – 10-5 on Friday. The game was tied at four going into the fourth quarter, but the Scots scored on six of seven shots in the final stanza to earn the win.
2. Milton (Ga.) 4-0
After outscoring opponents 61-1 through the first three games, the Eagles were tested in a rematch of last year's Georgia 5A championship against Lassiter. Milton won 14-12, but Lassiter bounced back from a 12-6 deficit in the second half.
"It was a good one," Milton assistant coach Graham Hirsch said. "Most of their late goals came on emotion after some questionable penalties but we held on strong for the win."
3. Dallas Jesuit (Texas) 4-0
The Rangers have eased through the first part of their schedule, but they'll see just how good they are over the next four games, which are against out-of-state competition. Dallas Jesuit is coming off a 16-2 season that ended with a 5-4 loss to eventual champion Highland Park in the state semifinals – their only in-state loss. The Rangers' midfield and attack remain solid, but the close defender positions are a concern with the loss of Michael McCarney (now at Maryland).
4. Jupiter (Fla.) 4-0
Coaches around the state of Florida were expecting Jupiter to be tough this season, and the Warriors have proven they can be a force. Three days after opening the season with an 18-2 win over Martin County in district play, Jupiter earned a marquee win over Lake Highland Prep on Feb. 23, beating the Highlanders 8-7 in overtime. It was Jupiter's first meeting against Lake Highland.
5. St. Mark's (Texas) 4-0
The Lions haven't been challenged yet this season, while outscoring the competition 61-12 in four games. Before a 15-9 win over Allen (3-2), they hadn't given up more than two goals in a game. The schedule picks up this week, as St. Mark's plays its first of four out-of-state opponents Friday against Memphis University School (Tenn.). The Lions finished 17-4 last year as state runners-up to Highland Park, and their only other in-state loss was to Dallas Jesuit.
6. Lake Highland (Fla.) 2-2
The Highlanders' two losses were to teams expected to be among the state's best this season. Jupiter edged them 8-7 in overtime, and perennial power St. Andrew's handed them a 10-5 loss on Friday. Lake Highland's wins include a 9-6 decision at Ponte Vedra, a quality opponent that is off to a 4-1 start.
7. Lassiter (Ga.) 3-1
The Trojans pulled through in close games against Westminster and Chattahoochee but couldn't do the same in a 14-12 loss against defending state champion Milton on Friday. Lassiter returns all but two starters from last year but is still figuring out how to replace midfielder Garrett Shank, their top all-around player from 2012. That will be a key if the Trojans are bring back their fourth state title in six years.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) 4-0
The Raiders avenged one of their four losses from last season when they beat Pine Crest 21-10 on Friday. Pine Crest won the matchup 18-14 last year and owned a 3-0 record going into the latest meeting in the Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic at the Miami Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium. R.J. Curtin and Kyle Mamane combined to score 13 goals for St. Thomas Aquinas.
9. The Woodlands (Texas) 9-0
The Highlanders beat defending state champion Highland Park 3-2 on Feb. 22, a nice mark on new coach Keith Tintle's record, as he replaces Dave Seale. Seale posted a .750 win percentage in 13 seasons. The Highlanders haven't given up more than five goals in a game this season.
10. Louisville Trinity (Ky.) 0-0
The Shamrocks won five games against out-of-state competition en route to a 14-3 finish last year. Their only in-state loss was 8-7 in overtime to rival Louisville St. Xavier, who they had beaten earlier in the season. Trinity opens its season Wednesday with six returning starters and a team that will be especially strong on offense and in the cage with goalkeeper Cody Tranbarger and attacker Davis Church among those back.
News and notes
Milton holds on
Milton's starters finally had a chance to play a whole game when the Eagles took on Lassiter last week, but their lack of playing time in the second half might have caught up to them. Milton pulled its starters at halftime the first three games – all won by a 20-goal margin.
However, after taking a 12-6 lead in the third quarter against Lassiter, the Eagles let up, winning by a mere two goals. Attackman Jake Jenkins led the Eagles with three goals, while Justin Newell, Jerrad Wellem and Nick Basile each had two goals. Nine different players combined to score the team's 14 goals. Milton also built an early lead over the Trojans in the state championship game last year, going up 7-3, and had to win in overtime.
Scots down Highlanders
St. Andrew's and Lake Highland Prep are accustomed to playing in the state tournament, but fans got a possible preview of a postseason matchup Friday.
The Scots went through Lake Highland Prep to win each of their last three titles (2012, 2010 and 2009), and the Highlanders beat St. Andrew's to win the 2011 title.
Addison Lutes scored three goals for St. Andrew's, and goalie Corey Etcheverry recorded 15 saves.
St. Andrew's opens its out-of-state schedule against St. Anne's Belfield (Va.) on Friday before taking on McDonogh (Md.). Both games are in the Brine "King of Spring" Face-Off Classic at Durham County (N.C.) Stadium.
Despite taking a 4-1 lead, preseason-ranked Ponte Vedra (Fla.) once again came up short against Lake Highland Prep, 9-6, on Feb. 20 in a rematch of the Sharks' state semifinal loss last year. They've outscored opponents 63-9 in their wins. Dalton LeMaster (Ohio Wesleyan) had four goals and four assists in a bounce-back win over Jacksonville-Episcopal.
The streak is over
Previously-ranked Lambert (Ga.) began a 43-game win streak after losing to Northview on Feb. 25, 2011, and ironically, it was Northview that ended the Longhorns' run on Feb. 22.
"We are happy to be the only team with a winning record against Lambert," Northview coach Ray Brown said.
Northview attackman Joshua Porter picked up a double hat trick in the game.
Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday 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.