High School Hysteria Blog
St. Andrew's has dominated the South Florida lacrosse landscape over the past two decades, but on Tuesday night, there may have been a passing of the torch.
Less than two weeks after knocking off defending state champion Lake Highland Prep, Jupiter hammered St. Andrew's 11-3, beating the Scots for the first time in school history.
"I just thought we brought it," said Jupiter head coach Danny Loftus. "From the first whistle to the last whistle in terms of intensity."
Last week, St. Andrew's lost its first game to a Palm Beach County opponent in 25 years, falling to Boca Raton 6-5. Tuesday's 11-3 defeat was its most lopsided loss to an in-state opponent since 2002.
Jupiter, who fell to St. Andrew's in overtime last season, was eager to make up for that heartbreaking defeat. The Warriors scored two minutes into the contest, with Ben White feeding Michael Dean on the crease for the first of his 4 goals. Six minutes later, Jupiter found the back of the net again, as midfielder Kane Cochran dodged between four St. Andrew's players before scoring on a diving shot in front of the net.
The Warriors kept the momentum going in the second quarter with Dean and Zach Crotty scoring back-to-back goals to give Jupiter a 4-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Crotty was at it again, this time assisting Sean Denes to give the Warriors a commanding 5-0 lead. Crotty finished the game with 1 goal and 4 assists.
"I thought we had a pretty good scout on them to be honest," said St. Andrews coach R.J. Dawson. "We knew what they wanted to do offensively. Credit to them they did a great job. [Zach Crotty] is a special player for them. Their middies did a good job of dodging aggressively."
While Jupiter's offense, which saw eight different players score, was instrumental in the victory, the Warriors defense was equally impressive. Defensemen Connor Alexander, Braylen Sampson and John Flanary were aggressive and relentless, forcing turnovers and disrupting SA's attack throughout the night.
"We like to get up and down," Loftus said. "I think by our defense playing out on the ball it allows us the opportunity to create some turnovers and get the pace of the game going in the direction we want it to go."
Goalie Viper Scheele anchored the Warriors' defense, with the sophomore consistently turning away point-blank looks. In Jupiter's seven games this season, the defense has given up an average of just 4 goals per game.
"Their poles really forced some issues," said Dawson. "Their ability to put pressure on us and push us out of any set that we wanted to get into. We couldn't get into any flow offensively. "
"We're still looking for some chemistry on offense and who can step and be a leader on offense in the big games."
One of SA's few offensive highlights came in the second quarter, when Cole Mulligan scored on a one-on-one dodge from the side of the cage to cut the deficit to 5-1. Jupiter responded though as Tommy Pinkham ripped one top shelf to give Jupiter a 6-1 halftime lead.
St. Andrew's opened the second half strong, as Addison Lutes scored four minutes into the quarter to cut the lead to 6-2. Jupiter had an answer though, as Lars Coughlin rifled one in to push the lead back to five. SA's Brandt Guldin scored two minutes later, but once more, the Warriors responded. The Crotty-to-Dean connection struck again, as Jupiter took a 8-3 lead into the 4th.
In the final frame, Dean, Sampson, and White scored to put a bow on Jupiter's 11-3 win.
With the victory, Jupiter improved to 7-0 on the season. The Warriors welcome in undefeated Lake Mary on Friday night. St. Andrew's (6-2) will host Gulliver Prep on Friday.
After two weeks of regular season action, the high school lacrosse season kicked into high gear this past week. Benjamin scored a major win, Jupiter survived an upset bid, Boca Raton sent a message, and Dwyer shocked one of Miami-Dade's best. With that being said, let's jump into all the action from the past week.
Benjamin bounces back
After its run to the State Semifinals a year ago, Benjamin faced high expectations heading into 2014. The first five games of the season didn't go to plan, however, with the team trudging out to a 2-3 start. While the sub-500 record doesn't appear overly impressive, the Bucs's three losses came by a total of just six goals to top competition in Hagerty (9-8 in 3OT), Lake Highland Prep (10-6) and St. Andrew's (9-8).
Still, moral victories only go so far, so heading into Friday, Benjamin needed a big-time to get back on track.
They got it.
At home, the Bucs knocked off previously unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas 10-9 in overtime. Eighth-grader Will Nicklaus scored the game-winning goal in OT, as he continued his stellar start to the season. The Bucs also got a primetime performance from its top offensive weapon, with sophomore attackman Andrew Packer (Maryland) tallying 2 goals and 3 assists.
Friday's win stands as a reminder that this Benjamin team is absolutely a legitimate threat come playoff time.
Following its 12-10 victory over defending state champ Lake Highland Prep last week, Jupiter staked its claim as Florida's top team. If this season has proven anything though, it's that no team is invincible. On Friday night, Jupiter survived an upset bid from Barron Collier, with the Warriors edging out BC 4-3.
Now keep in mind, Barron Collier made it to the Regional Finals a year ago, so it's not like they came out of nowhere. They came into the match-up 5-0 and are absolutely a Final Four threat this season.
Still, it was surprising to see Jupiter limited to just four goals; especially after its masterful 12-goal outburst against LHP six days prior. While I still have Jupiter as my number one team, this game serves as a reminder though that the State Title race is wide open.
High honor for Digney
Coming off its biggest win in school history, Boca Raton had one of its top stars recognized on the national stage. On Friday, senior goalie Matt Digney was named Inside Lacrosse's National High School Player of the Week for his performance in the Bobcats' 6-5 win over St. Andrew's. Digney recorded an outstanding 20 saves in Boca's win, per head coach Chris Holly.
As for Boca Raton, the team had no letdown following its big win, as they throttled Ransom Everglades 16-5 on Friday night. Boca faces a stern test on Tuesday night as it welcomes in St. Thomas Aquinas (6-1).
Dwyer's surprising win
The week's most surprising result without a doubt goes to Dwyer. Heading into Friday night, the Panthers were 1-3 on the season, with the team dropping games to Palm Beach Gardens, Pope John Paul II and Jensen Beach. With Dwyer welcoming in 5-0 Columbus Catholic, a team that made it to the Regional Finals last season, it was safe to assume Friday night would be a rout. In fact, it was. Just not the way you'd expect.
Behind its biggest offensive performance of the season, the Panthers hammered Columbus Catholic 16-4. In its previous four games, Dwyer was unable to put up double digits in any one game. While the Explorers have faced a pretty easy schedule, that result is shocking nonetheless. It really serves as a testament to how talented Palm Beach County is. With heavyweights like Jupiter, St. Andrew's, Boca Raton and Benjamin, Dwyer has mostly been a second-tier PBC team over the past few years. Meanwhile, Columbus Catholic has emerged as one the top teams in Broward/Miami-Dade County. The fact that Dwyer was able to rout them speaks to the depth in Palm Beach County.
State Top 10 Poll
1) Jupiter (5-0) - Loaded at every position. Claim the season's best single win (Lake Highland Prep).
2) Boca Raton (6-0) - Flying high after its win over St. Andrew's. Defense is elite.
3) Lake Highland Prep (5-1) - Young midfield line really starting to gel.
4) St. Andrew's (6-1) - Question marks on offense, but still fundamentally-sound throughout and are stout defensively.
5) Ponte Vedra (3-1) - Unbeaten since 2OT loss to Boca Raton in season opener.
6) Lake Brantley (6-0) - Easy schedule, but have taken care of business.
7) Barron Collier (5-1) - Went toe-to-toe in loss versus Jupiter.
8) Lake Mary (5-0) - Undefeated, but haven't been tested. Face tough challenge against Jupiter on Friday.
9) Benjamin (3-3) - They don't get punished for playing an incredibly aggressive schedule.
10) St. Thomas Aquinas (6-1) - Great start to the season considering all the injuries on offense.
Three games to keep an eye on
Jupiter @ St. Andrew's (Tuesday)
-Two of the top teams in the state going head-to-head.
Dwyer @ Vero Beach (Tuesday)
-Will see if Dwyer can keep the momentum going against a talented Vero Beach team.
St. Thomas Aquinas @ Barron Collier (Friday)
-Potential Regional Final preview between two teams needing a marquee win.
Every Saturday morning, Joe Colella and Chris Kokell discuss the top high school sports stories in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast, on High School Hysteria. Here are the highlights from today's show:
Joe Colella and Chris Kokell discuss whether high school athletes should accept a walk-on position to a big program versus taking a scholarship to a lesser program. Audio
Joe Colella and Chris Kokell debate if Suncoast grad Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and where his next landing spot should be. Audio
In Duse's Checkup, sponsored by the Palm Beach Orthopedic Institute, ESPN West Palm high school beat reporter Wells Dusenbury reflects on all the lacrosse action from this past week, and reacts to the hot start by the Palm Beach Gardens baseball team. Audio
Olympic Heights new head football coach Dale Williams joins Joe Colella and Chris Kokell to discuss why he chose to accept the Lions position. Audio
Pro football wide receiver and Atlantic grad David Clowney joins Joe Colella and Chris Kokell to talk about his NFL Draft experience, and to pay tribute to Hurricanes alum JoJo Nicolas, who past away from a tragic auto accident. Audio
Boca High head lacrosse coach Chris Holly joins Joe Colella and Chris Kokell to reflect on the Bobcats historic upset win over St. Andrew's this past week. Audio
Joe Colella and Chris Kokell debate if co-ed sports should exist in high school athletics. Audio
Forest Hill head softball coach Tim Martin joins Joe Colella and Chris Kokell to talk about the Falcons success this season. Audio
In Kokell’s Corner, sponsored by John C. Cassidy, Chris Kokell dishes on the punishment that the University of California Santa Barbara student should get after charging onto the court during the Hawaii-UCSB basketball game. Audio
Be sure to listen to High School Hysteria Saturday's at 11am, follow us on twitter @Hysteria1063, read up on the latest blogs at ESPNWestPalm.com/highschool, and also check out the "Cheat Sheet" for the latest news and notes.
There was no letdown for Boca Raton on Friday night.
Three days after topping state power St. Andrew's for the first time in school history, Boca Raton cruised past Ransom Everglades 16-5 at home.
Junior attackman Ryan Clinton led the way with 4 goals in the victory. Parker Giarratana, Tripp Whitney and Justin Aman each chipped in with two goals as well.
With the win, Boca Raton improved to 6-0 on the season. The Bobcats host St. Thomas Aquinas (6-1) on Tuesday night.
One of the area's top linebackers has finally found a collegiate home.
Treasure Coast linebacker Sean Bowens officially signed with Harding University, a Division II program in Arkansas.
Bowens, a 6-2, 220 lb. linebacker, had 103 tackles and 20 sacks in his senior season.
Bowens originally committed to North Carolina State over the summer, but ended up backing off that pledge during the season.
Louisville showed late interest in Bowens, with the senior visiting the school in late January, but he never received an offer from the Cardinals.
Bowens joins a Harding program that went 9-2 last season in the Great American Conference. The Titans' standout will be the only area player on the Bisons' roster.