(Photo Courtesy of Ponte Vedra Lacrosse)
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 Florida High School Athletic Association is currently set to get play underway on February 15th with the state finals set for May 7-8 in Kissimmee.
With the high school season just right around the corner, here are a few superlatives from around the Sunshine State heading into the 2021 spring season:
Team Most Likely to Win a State Title:
Ponte Vedra finally reached the promised land in 2019, winning their first state title and becoming the first public school to do so. During the shortened 2020 season, the Sharks went 6-2, falling only to MIAA members Gilman, 11-9, and Boy’s Latin, 25-6, during their trip to Maryland.
And while the Sharks do lose one of the strongest midfielders in the South with Dylan Hess (Georgetown), Freddie Amato (Lehigh), and Carter Parlette (Notre Dame), all graduating, the Sharks still come into the 2021 season as one of the most talented teams in the entire region and well-positioned to earn another state title.
Junior Nolan Parlette (Air Force commit) will is perhaps Ponte Vedra’s biggest returner as he will anchor their defense for a third consecutive season. The Sharks also return senior midfielders Freddie DiMarzo (Utah commit) and Joe Taraboletti (Denver commit), as well as junior two-way midfielder Jack Reed (Vermont commit). Sophomore midfielder Maddox Johnson has received some high praise this offseason and could have himself a big season.
Team To Watch:
Jupiter, Oxbridge, St. Andrew’s, and St. Thomas Aquinas could all were solid last and will be very strong contenders and talented in 2021. However, I’m going to go with St. Andrew’s for this spot.
The Scots went 8-1, which included wins over Oxbridge and Jupiter, during the shortened 2020 season. And while they do lose some talent on the offensive end, they will be lead by a defense that can only be described as stacked. Junior LSM Sean Jordan (Harvard commit) and goalie Gunnar Schwarz (Navy commit) highlights the Scots’ defense, along with senior defenseman Corey Frydman (UMass commit).
Best Offensive Player:
Gulf Coast senior midfielder Trace Davidson (Maryland signee) has continued to put up numbers throughout his high school career and has asserted himself as one of the top offensive player in the state and the face of Southwest Florida, which, historically, has’t produced as much talent as their counterparts on the Atlantic side of the state or closer to the Tampa area.
Davidson has amassed 297 points (165G/132A) throughout his high school career. During the last full season (2019), he tallied 130 points (65G/65A) and helped the Sharks to a 15-1 record.
Best Defensive Player:
Junior Oxbridge, Fla., defenseman George Wandoff (Syracuse commit) or St. Andrew’s LSM Sean Jordan could both be argued for this spot and are, without a doubt, the top two poles in the Sunshine State.
Drawing comparisons to Virginia’s Jared Conners, Jordan is seen as not only the best player from Florida in the class, but the best player from the South among 2022s. He is downright dangerous in a multitude of ways on defense and has the ability to kill you in transition. Wandoff, who stands 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, has shown to be a great on-ball guys and disruptive off-ball, clogging up passing lanes, and can strike in transition.
While I usually try to steer away from featuring more than one player from a team that was featured in the first two segments in any of these “Best” categories, I have got to put St. Andrew’s Gunnar Schwarz in this spot. However, if I was to go faceoff, it would be St. Thomas Aquinas’ Jared Chenony, without a doubt.
Schwarz has been a force on the back end since entering the high school ranks. He got the starting nod as a freshman and boasted a .558 save percentage while helping the Scots to a 14-5 record. During the shortened 2020 season, Schwarz only saw action in the first two games and went .700 in between the pipes.