Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
Gavin McClure, Dallas Jesuit (Texas)
The junior midfielder led the Rangers to a 16-4 win over Needham-Broughton (N.C.) last week in the final day of the Brine King of Spring Faceoff Classic. McClure had four goals and two assists in the first half and added a fifth goal in the second half with the game was well in hand for Dallas Jesuit. The Rangers led 8-2 at halftime. McClure is a strong finisher for Dallas Jesuit, but also helps out as a faceoff specialist.
Also notable: Carson Song (Charlotte Latin, N.C.), Matt Hobdan (Barron Collier, Fla.), Nathan Solomon (Centennial, Ga.), Charlie Sikes (Episcopal Dallas, Texas), Michael Dean (Jupiter, Fla.)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Centennial (Ga.) vs. Westminster (Ga.), March 22, 6 p.m. at Pope High School (Ga.)
Two of the top teams in Georgia meet in the seventh annual AJ04Lax Fest on Saturday. The game pits the defending Class 6A champion (Centennial) against the 2013 Class 5A champion (Westminster), a chance to see how the small-school competition stacks up against the top large school. The teams have not met since 2006 when Westminster beat Centennial 16-1 but both appear more equally matched this time. The Wildcats finished 12-5 that year, while the Knights were 9-8.
South Region Top 10
1. Jupiter (Fla.), 7-0
The Warriors just keep proving themselves against tough competition. First it was a win over defending state champion Lake Highland Prep, and now it's an 11-3 rout of perennial power St. Andrew's (Fla.). Jupiter also handed Lake Mary (Fla.) its first loss on Friday.
2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 5-1
The Eagles dropped their first game of the season, 17-7, to IMG National (Fla.), but it's tough to penalize them for a loss against great competition. IMG National features a roster of many of the top players in the country.
3. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 6-1
The Highlanders impressed during a 14-11 loss to national No. 1 Boys' Latin (Md.). It was a one-goal game midway through the second quarter and Boys' Latin never led by more than five.
4. Centennial (Ga.), 5-0
The Knights added a 14-7 win over Johns Creek (Ga.) on Friday in their closest game so far. The competition starts to pick up this week, as their next four opponents are a combined 23-3 this season.
5. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 8-1
The Rangers bounced back from a narrow loss to Memphis University (Tenn.) with a win over previously unbeaten Needham-Broughton's (N.C.) on March 10.
6. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 6-1
The Sharks are 6-0 since opening with an 8-7 double-overtime loss to Boca Raton (Fla.) on Feb. 17. Among the latest victories was a pair of games against South Carolina opponents, including 2013 state champion Wando.
7. Barron Collier (Fla.), 7-1
The Cougars' lone loss was a 4-3 decision against Jupiter (Fla.) on March 7, and they proved worthy of a ranking with a 10-6 win over a solid St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) squad on Friday. Matt Hobdan scored a game-high four goals.
8. Harrison (Ga.), 7-0
The Hoyas are in the midst of a nine-day layoff after beating East Coweta (Ga.) 14-3 on March 10. They still account for the only loss for Westminster (Ga.), which knocked McCallie (Tenn.) out of the rankings last week.
9. Charlotte Latin (N.C.), 5-0
The Hawks added a pair of in-state wins last week after earning a quality win over Memphis University (Tenn.). Carson Song leads the team in scoring with 14 goals and 17 assists.
10. Westminster (Ga.), 6-1
The Wildcats were idle last week but are preparing for a big in-state game against Centennial on Saturday. Their lone loss was 10-7 to Harrison (Ga.) on March 1.
Episcopal Dallas (Texas) coach Pat Kennedy said his Eagles got a lot out of their spring break trip to Florida, though their one game that counts on their record was a blowout loss.
Aside from a 17-7 loss to IMG National (Fla.), they participated in 3dlacrosse training and won three scrimmages. Episcopal had been off from practice for five days before resuming play midweek.
"I think it's important for our guys to get that [loss] out of their system," Kennedy said. "We weren't in our best possible position to perform, but IMG was very good. They are well-coached, very big, strong, fast and athletic. Hopefully we learn from that game and utilize what we learned in our Texas games, which are the ones that mean the most to us."
Goalie Charlie Sikes made 15 saves in the loss, including eight in the fourth quarter, out of 32 shots on goal. Richie Loftus had two goals and one assist, Nakeie Montgomery and Jack Beare each had two goals, and Sam Romano had two assists. Loftus leads the team with 31 points in six games.
The Eagles now turn their attention to a big game against Highland Park (4-2) on Friday. It's a matchup of two of the top teams in Texas, and Kennedy expects a packed house, as it is the only game in Dallas that night. The game also marks Episcopal's home opener. The two teams split their last two meetings.
Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) played its third close game against Boys' Latin (Md.) in three years last week. The Highlanders lost last year 13-9 after coming within two in 2012. This time they were within one with 5:22 left in the second quarter but trailed 10-6 at halftime and couldn't cut the deficit under three goals after that. Reid Thedford finished with four goals and two assists, and Adam Sawicki made 18 saves in goal.
Centennial (Ga.) has outscored opponents 101-17 this season, averaging 20.2 goals per game and giving up just 3.4 goals per game. The Knights are riding a 10-game winning streak dating back to last season, and they have scored at least 11 goals in 27 straight games. Junior attackman Nathan Solomon leads the team with 29 goals and 28 assists, while senior midfielder Austin Prescott adds 21 goals and 11 assists. Junior goalie Austin Skorb has an 83 percent save rate.
Jupiter (Fla.) drove St. Andrew's (Fla.) out of the rankings, handing the Scots their second loss of the season with a surprising eight-goal differential at 11-3.
The Warriors got four goals and an assist from Michael Dean and seven players each scored one goal, but the story of the game was the defense. St. Andrew's recorded 21 turnovers and finished with 22 shots, just 12 on goal.
Boca Raton (Fla.), which also beat St. Andrew's dropped out of the rankings this week after suffering its first loss. The Bobcats had edged St. Thomas Aquinas in overtime before falling 11-10 to Pope John Paul II.
According to FloridaLacrosseNews.com, the Florida High School Athletic Association is investigating the eligibility of a player at Lake Brantley (Fla.), which is 8-1 this season.
Milton (Ga.) remains unbeaten after picking up wins against Lassiter (Ga.) and Walton (Ga.) its last two games. Hunter Sanna won 83 percent of faceoffs in the Lassiter game and added two goals against Walton.
2014 South Region Report Archive
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