(Photo Courtesy of Bolles Lacrosse)
Across the South, the high school lacrosse regular season is winding down and playoffs are either fastly approaching or already here.
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) 1A and 2A State Tournaments will get underway on Wednesday April 19. State champions will be crowned on May 6 in Naples at the Paradise Coast Sports Complex.
1A State Tournament
Bolles (18-2), Benjamin (14-4), Tampa Jesuit (14-3), and Saint Andrew’s (14-3) received the top seed in each of the four regions.
The Bulldogs of Bolles come in as the top seed in the first region. Bolles is undefeated against fellow Sunshine State foes with their only two losses coming against Dublin Jerome (Ohio) and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Pa.). The Bulldogs have been led by of juniors in Daylin John-Hill (Jacksonville commit) and Gavin Boree (High Point commit). The attack duo has combined for 228 points thus far. Senior goalie Garrett Jobe (Queens signee) had anchored the Bulldogs’ defense with 122 save and a 52% save percentage.
Benjamin is the top seed in the second region and the state runner-up from last season, having lost to St. Andrew’s in the 2022 title game. The aforementioned Scots are one of the four teams who have beaten the Buccaneers this season, along with Jupiter, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Bullis (Md.). Senior Brady Quinn (Loyola signee) has led the Buccaneers with 86 points off 41 goals and 45 assists thus far. Alexander Ponchock is one of multiple sophomores who have impressed on this team, tallying 39 goals and 26 assists for 65 points.
Tampa Jesuit has fallen to Lake Mary, Benjamin, and Ponte Vedra this season. Freshman Cole Peck has put up 68 points off 37 goals and 31 assists for 68 points. Junior Lleyton Hall (Iona commit) has put up 66 points (41G/25A) while senior Colin Kruger (Boston U. signee) has tallied 63 points off 41 goals and 23 assists. The trio has combined for 197 points thus far. Additionally, senior Scott “SK” Moore (High Point signee) has gone 245-for-349 (70%) as one of the best faceoff men in the state.
As the two-time defending state champions, St. Andrew’s is the team to beat. The Scots have lost to two teams from state of Florida in St. Edward’s and St. Thomas Aquinas. They also fell to Boy’s Latin (Md.). Freshman Nick Testa (28G/52A) has led the Scots with 80 points while senior Jack Schulte (Air Force commit) has put up 48 goals and 28 assists for 76 assists. In has been a pair of senior Tampa commits who have led the way for the Scots on defense as Zachary Brent has served as the team’s top pole while Ryan Kaplan has made 114 saves with a 56% save percentage in cage.
Region two and three have, perhaps, the best potential final rematches. In region two, No. 2 seed St. Edward’s (12-5) could face No. 1 seed Benjamin for a third time in the region final. The Buccaneers won the first meeting 13-8 but in the district title game this past week won 12-9. In region three, a second meeting between top-seeded Tampa Jesuit and No. 3 seed Cardinal Mooney (11-6) could be seen in the region final. Jesuit beat Cardinal Mooney 15-13 in a regular season battle.
2A State Tournament
In the 2A state tournament, Lake Mary (19-0) is the top seed in region one while Winter Park (15-3) holds that spot in the second region, Steinbrenner (16-1) in the third, and St. Thomas Aquinas (13-3) in the fourth.
Lake Mary has been arguably the most dominant team in the Sunshine State this season with an undefeated record. The Rams are led by juniors Mitchell Campbell and Cade Harshbarger (North Carolina commit) who have put up 57 and 46 points, respectively. The Rams have beaten their opponents by an average of 12 goals per game over the past month.
Winter Park has three losses on its resume with two being against other top-seeded teams in their region as they fell to both Lake Mary and Ponte Vedra. They also lost to Bolles in early April. The Wildcats likely have the easiest path of the top seeds to the final four, seeing as they have played and beaten soundly multiple teams in that second region.
St. Thomas Aquinas has the same amount of losses as they dropped contests to Lake Highland Prep, Boy’s Latin (Md.), and St. Edward’s. They have big wins over 1A power St. Andrew’s and Jupiter, who is the No. 2 seed in that fourth region. A rematch between the Raiders and Warriors in the region final is very possible. A pair of young guns in sophomore Ben Kupstas and freshman James Finch have helped lead the Raiders offense. Senior goalie Ethan Streiner (Iona commit) has been a very good anchor on the back end.
Steinbrenner is on a 14-game winning streak and its only loss came to Plant early in the season. With Plant being the No. 2 seed in the third region, we could see a rematch between these two shall they both advance to the regional final.
Another team to watch is Ponte Vedra. Their only loss Florida team came early in the season as they fell to Lake Mary 9-8 in overtime. The Sharks other losses came to Bullis (Md.), Dublin Jerome (Ohio), Lucy Beckham (S.C.), and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Pa.). With the Sharks being the No. 2 seed in the first region, we could very well see them and Lake Mary meet again.
Players to Watch
Maddox Johnson, M, Ponte Vedra (Sr., Denver) – 2A
Turner Ashby, M, Plant (Sr., Air Force) – 2A
Jack Schulte, A, St. Andrew’s (Sr., Air Force) – 1A
Zachary Brent, D, St. Andrew’s (Sr., Tampa) – 1A
Caden Harshbarger, M, Lake Mary (Jr., North Carolina) – 2A
Gavin Boree, A, Bolles, (Jr., High Point) – 1A
Lleyton Hall, A, Tampa Jesuit (Jr., Iona) – 1A
Jack Pelot, G, Ponte Vedra (Jr., Penn) – 2A
Pierce Montes, A, Oak Hall (So.) – 1A
Dylan Furshman, FO, Jupiter (So.) – 2A
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