Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
Hunter Sanna, Milton (Ga.)
The senior middie played a key role in Milton's win over defending Class 6A champion Centennial, winning 19 of the 22 faceoffs he took. An all-state player last year, Sanna has played especially well in big games this season. He won 83 percent of his faceoffs in a 12-11 win over Walton (Ga.) earlier this season, and he likely will be an important factor as the Eagles head into a stretch of games in Florida at the end of this week. Sanna is committed to play at Siena College.
Also notable: Reid Thedford, Lake Highland Prep (Fla.); Charlie Sikes, Episcopal Dallas (Texas); Justin Newell, Milton (Ga.); Ryan Clinton, Boca Raton (Fla.); Gavin McClure, Dallas Jesuit (Texas)
Game of the Week
Centennial (Ga.) vs Jupiter (Fla.), April 5, 3 p.m. at Lake Mary (Fla.)
This is a matchup of two South region ranked teams that just suffered their first losses within the last week and a half. A win for either team would be a nice confidence boost during an important time in the schedule. Jupiter will be heading into district tournament time the week of April 14, and Centennial is trying to kick it up a notch during the last full month of its season. This is the Warriors' first out-of-state game since 2012 when they lost 11-6 to California's Cathedral Catholic. The Knights are playing Lake Mary (Fla.) the night before this game. Centennial went 2-1 against Florida teams last year en route to winning the Georgia Class 6A title.
South Region Top 10
1. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 10-1
The Eagles move to the top spot with three wins this week, including an 11-9 victory over defending state champion St. Mark's (Texas) on March 28. Charlie Sikes made 16 saves in that game, while Jack Beare (three goals, two assists) and Richie Loftus (two goals, four assists) paced the offense.
2. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 9-3
The Highlanders appear much improved since their one in-state loss to Jupiter (Fla.) on March 1. They added an impressive 13-5 win over Lake Brantley on March 28, handing the Patriots just their second loss with a five-goal night from Reid Thedford.
3. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 10-1
The Rangers move up with a 9-7 win over St. Mark's on March 26 in a game that was tied 6-6 after three quarters. Gavin McClure led Dallas Jesuit with three goals – two to open the fourth quarter – and two assists.
4. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 10-0
The Crusaders continue to climb as they added two more wins last week. Gibbons beat Chapel Hill (N.C.), 12-1, and Germantown (Pa.), 8-4, the latter of which marked its fifth out-of-state win this season.
5. Barron Collier (Fla.), 10-1
The Cougars avoided an upset loss against Oak Hall (Fla.), pulling out a 7-5 win on March 26, and they surpass the only team to beat them. Barron Collier has won five straight since Jupiter edged it 4-3 on March 7. Meanwhile, Jupiter struggled last week.
6. Jupiter (Fla.), 8-2
The Warriors suffered their first two losses of the season last week, causing them to drop below two teams they beat earlier this season. Jupiter fell to Vero Beach (Fla.) 8-7 and to Benjamin (Fla.) 9-5 on back-to-back nights before rebounding with a 10-9 overtime win over 2012-13 state semifinalist Ponte Vedra (Fla.).
7. Milton (Ga.), 8-1
The Eagles join the list with a 22-16 win over defending Class 6A champion Centennial on March 27. Justin Newell led Milton with six goals and three assists, while Hunter Sanna won 19 of 22 faceoffs. Milton's only loss was to Lambert (Ga.) by two.
8. Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.), 6-2
The 2013 state runner-up Big Red makes its rankings debut with the help of two more wins last week, including handing Zionsville (Ind.) its first loss. MBA's two losses were to teams from Maryland, and the Big Red has a notable win over Louisville Trinity (Ky.).
9. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 8-2
The Sharks slip a couple notches after Jupiter ended an eight-game win streak. Both of Ponte Vedra's losses this season came in overtime by one goal. They opened with an 8-7 double overtime loss to Boca Raton in their first game of the year.
10. Centennial (Ga.), 7-2
The Knights hit a rough patch with two straight losses, including the game against Milton five days after a one-goal loss to defending Class 5A champion Westminster. However, they bounced back with a 17-14 win over previously unbeaten Harrison (Ga.) on March 29.
There are several big in-state games coming up that could shake up the South Region rankings. Highland Park (5-3) and The Woodlands (11-4) both remain teams to watch in Texas and meet in The Woodlands on April 5. Both were expected to be among the top five teams in the state this season but struggled against top competition early on.
Another big game this week is in Tennessee, where McCallie (6-3) travels to play Montgomery Bell (6-2) on April 4. McCallie lost three games to out-of-state opponents but is still expected to compete for the Tennessee state title. Montgomery Bell was the state runner-up last year.
In North Carolina, Cardinal Gibbons (10-0) plays Charlotte Catholic (9-1) on April 5. Gibbons is off to an impressive start despite a challenging schedule, and Catholic's only loss was to a quality Westminster (Ga.) team that dropped out of the rankings for now after a second loss, to Northview (Ga.).
Northview, which is 9-0, is one of four teams in the Peach State still undefeated, joined by North Gwinnett (11-0), Hillgrove (9-0) and Grayson (10-0).
Milton (Ga.) played an exciting game against Centennial (Ga.), beating the Knights 22-16 last week, but four main players sparked the Eagles' offensive success. Justin Newell led the Eagles with six goals, three assists, and three other players finished with hat tricks -- Austin Hawks (three goals, three assists), Chad Tolliver (three goals, one assist) and Charlie Gallagher (three goals, one assist). Griphon Basile gave up 16 goals but made 17 saves. The Eagles' win over Centennial and Centennial's win over Harrison took Harrison out of the rankings for now, the Hoyas have just that one loss. Harrison has its toughest games behind it but could still work back into the mix.
Charlotte Latin (6-0) has two out-of-state wins, against Memphis University School (Tenn.) and Fort Mill (S.C.), and also is a team to keep an eye on. Carson Song leads the team with 20 goals and 20 assists, and he is shooting 67 percent this season. Faceoffs are an area the Hawks could improve in, as they have won just 49 percent of faceoffs this season.
2014 South Region Report Archive
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