(Photo Credit: Moultrie News)
It’s January, which means lacrosse season is right around the corner. In the many southern states, the high school lacrosse season is a month away or sooner, especially this year.
The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) is currently set to get play underway on February 22nd with the state finals set for May 1st at Irmo.
With the high school season just right around the corner, here are a few superlatives from around the Palmetto State heading into the 2021 spring season:
Team Most Likely to Win a State Title:
Honestly, you could go with either Oceanside Collegiate or Wando here. And while both are very much capable of winning titles in their respective divisions this season, I’m going to go with the Palmetto State’s greatest lacrosse dynasty: Wando.
Wando has won a state title in six of the past eight seasons, which included four consecutive titles from 2015-2018. And the two years they didn’t win (2014, 2019), they were the runner-up. Last season, they were 4-1, with their only loss coming in double overtime against West Forsyth, and looking to get back to their title winning ways before the season was cancelled.
The Warriors do lose their only two double-digit scorers in Nathan Fasanaro and Murphey Howell to graduation, as well as a some talent on the back end, this should still be a very formidable group. Senior attackmen McKay Dunaway and Jake McQuaid are their top two returners after tallying eight and nine points last season. Senior Willam Leonard will be a leader on the back end and Jonathon Westmoreland has the ability to step into the cage as the starter after serving as the backup last season. Additionally, they have a strong option at the faceoff dot in senior Zach Jennings (Rhodes commit).
Outside of the upperclassmen who should take on a bigger role this season and be some of the Warriors’ most productive pieces on both ends, they have a good amount of juniors that could step up, such as attackmen Sam Goss and JD Hamilton.
Team To Watch:
J.L. Mann Academy went 5-0 during the shortened 2020 season and boasted an average win margin of nine goals. They return almost everybody from last year’s squad and have a pretty good chance at possibly making a run in the state tournament, where they fell in the first round to Nation Ford, 9-7, in 2019.
Senior LSM Mason Meagher (Air Force commit) and defenseman John Lombel (Lincoln Memorial commit) highlight what should be a very stout defense again. The Patriot’s offenseis highlighted by seniors David Dubose and Sam Maronick, who each tallied at least 20 points during the shortened 2020 season. Additionally, they return Logan Dorcas at the faceoff dot after a fairly solid sophomore season, in which he served as their primary option at the dot. With all this talent back, in addition to multiple others on both ends, the Patriots could put together a pretty successful season.
Best Offensive Player:
While there are multiple players who could be argued for in this spot, I’m going to go with Dorman senior attackman Carson Skinner (Wagner commit). A three-year varsity starter, Skinner has shown to be a strong dodger and shooter, he also can operate well in tight around the cage and behind at ‘X’. During the shortened 2020 season, Skinner tallied 31 points (23G/8A) while helping the Cavaliers to a 3-2 record. During his first two seasons of high school, he tallied 42 (2018) and 62 (2019) points and helped lead them to two consecutive final four appearances.
Best Defensive Player:
J.L. Mann Academy LSM Mason Meagher appears to have all the tools to not only make an impact at the high school level, which he has and will continue to do, but also at the college level. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior recorded over 100 ground balls and upwards of 25 caused turnover as a freshman and sophomore, and during the shortened 2020 season scooped up 29 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers in five games. With a full season in 2021, Meagher should be able to match or exceed the level production from his first two seasons of high school ball.
This spot is reserved for either a faceoffman or goalie. And since I’ve already shown some love for multiple faceoffmen in this piece already, we’re gonna go with a goalie here.
Oceanside Collegiate junior goalie Drew Gregory is one of the best at his position in the Palmetto State and the South, in general. From his footwork to his hands, he seems to have everything needed to be successful in cage at the next level. But aside from his ability to make saves consistently no matter the situation, he also has an uncanny ability to get the ball out of his stick quick in the clearing game and isn’t afraid to take it out of the cage himself every once in a while. He posted a 43% save percentage during the shortened 2020 season.