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Florida Crowns 4 New State Champions

May 5-7, 2022

Paradise Coast Sports Complex

Naples, FL

 

Boys 1A Final Four Recap:

 

Semifinal - Saint Andrew's over Tampa Jesuit 11-3

Kurt Schwarz got Saint Andrews off to a fast start in the state semifinal against Tampa Jesuit en route to an 11-3 victory and a trip back to the state championship game for the defending champions from Boca Raton. The Scots would take the quick start and stretch their lead to 9-0 before Peter Pesansky got their first goal, followed by 2 more quicks ones by Colin Kruger late in the 3rd giving Jesuit a glimmer of hope but ultimately it was too little too late for Jesuit who struggled for possessions after the early game shoulder injury to stud face-off specialist SK Moore.


Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Jack Schulte, Zac Brent, Colin Kruger

 

Semifinal - Benjamin over Bolles 13-5

Benjamin was able to avert disaster and get all of their players to Naples despite a blown tire on their bus along Alligator Alley. It didn't affect their performance much as Dylan Furshman again dominated the face-off x for Benjamin and the lack of possessions would prove insurmountable to Bolles as the Bucs cruised 13-5 and advanced to the state championship game against Saint Andrews. Brady Quinn and Jack Regnery were dominant as usual especially offensively, while Jareth Bucilli and Brock Roe were rocks in net. Benjamin's depth has become so important during this playoff run with Caden Hayes and Ford Cash continue to chip in offensively and they will both be looked upon to help beat the vaunted Saint Andrews defense in the state championship. Depth will be more important than ever if the Bucs are to have a chance at upsetting Saint Andrews.


Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Dylan Furshman, Jack Regnery, Spencer Surface

 

Championship Game - Saint Andrews over Benjamin 9-7

Great goaltending by Gunnar Schwarz helped Saint Andrews thwart off Benjamin's stellar offense and goals by Quinn McGowan, Connor Hofbauer and Cole Hofbauer broke an early 2-2 tie helping to send the Scots to halftime up 6-3. The Scots would stretch it to 8-3 in the 4th quarter before Benjamin would awaken with goals by Jack Regnery, Carter Smith and Caden Hayes getting the Bucs close, but Saint Andrews defense would hold on to prevail 9-7 winning their 2nd consecutive 1A state title. Nick Golubov outlasted freshman phenom Dylan Furshman on face-offs for the Scots and the difference in possessions helped tilt this game to Saint Andrews. Furshman hung tough and showed some incredible strength and physicality against Inside Lacrosse 5 star rated Sean Jordan who harassed him from the wing on draws for much of the game. The hitting was hard, very hard in this one with the aforementioned Jordan laying a few massive hits, and Ben Seelye also pushing bodies around. Zac Brent, who scored the Scots first goal with a pole and also had some good clean hard hits, ended Cooper Dunkin's day (hope you're doing ok Cooper!) with a questionable nasty collision that resulted in an unreleasable. Benjamin really showed a lot of resolve in this game but Saint Andrews proved they are still the elite program in the state of Florida even if the gap is closing, Benjamin is right there with plenty of phenomenal young talent coming up. We can't help but wonder what might have been for the Bucs if Luke Pisani were available. Freshman Caden Hayes has gotten a lot of those minutes and has done a tremendous job of getting to the goal and finishing so it likely wouldn't have made much difference but it does get you wondering. Amazing seasons for both programs who will likely battle it out in big games for years to come.

Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Gunnar Schwarz, Nick Golubov, Caden Hayes

 

Boys 2A Final Four Recap:

 

Semifinal - St. Thomas Aquinas over Plant 12-10

St. Thomas Aquinas jumped out early against Plant then held on for dear life at the end as the Panthers late rush was not enough and they would ultimately fall to the Raiders 12-10. Aquinas' fluid offense led by "QB" Trace McDonald built up a commanding 12-4 lead throughout this game but everything would flip around in the 4th quarter with Plant's Turner Ashby taking over the show and leading a 6-0 run in the 4th that saw Plant play with the tempo and abandon they needed with their season on the line. The pressure forced the Raiders into penalties but STA's Wade Lamon would make several key saves in the 4th as he was barraged by 11 shots in the quarter. The Raiders young defense bent but did not break as they made plays when needed to secure the victory. A bit more disconcerting was how the balanced STA offense was stifled in the last 10 minutes, they will need to get it back on track quickly with the Championship scheduled less than 48 hours after the semifinal games.


Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Wade Lamon, Trace McDonald, Turner Ashby

 

Semifinal - Ponte Vedra over Winter Park 13-11

Ponte Vedra and Winter Park would trade 2 to 3 goal runs for much of this semifinal game but when Wildcats defensive midfielder Jordan Rotz fell to injury in the 4th quarter the Sharks took advantage with Maddox Johnson, Brock Brigman, Brendan Nace and Jack Reed scoring consecutive goals turning a 10-8 deficit into a 12-10 advantage. Lad Harper was dominant on face-offs helping to lead PV to the 13-11 victory. Paul Pilgrim, Carter Truesdell, Bronson Dowdell and Lawton Dowdell led Winter Park in defeat. These young Wildcats should hold their heads high, they put up a heckuva fight and with some incredible young talent on the roster they are sure to be serious contenders again next year. The Sharks move on to the state championship against St. Thomas Aquinas whom they lost to in the 2016 championship, but also beat in the 2019 title game.


Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Maddox Johnson, Brendan Nace, Bronson Dowdell

 

Championship Game - St. Thomas Aquinas over Ponte Vedra 13-12

This highly anticipated title matchup (and rematch from 2016 and 2019) between St. Thomas Aquinas and Ponte Vedra would be delayed to 9:30pm from 7:30 thanks to a lengthy lightning delay in the girls 2A title game and with 46.3 seconds left before player introductions it happened again, another lightning delay. This one would finally get started after 10:30pm but that wouldn't zap any of the energy from the players or families and students in the stands, if anything it seemed to add to the hype of the state title game. It took a little while for both offenses to kick in as this one remained scoreless for quite awhile with senior goalies Wade Lamon and Nolan Parlette holding it down early on but STA would get the early jump late in the 1st quarter when Jacob Urbano, Michael Milanes, Chase Garey and Nico Cash would score in succession to give the Raiders an early 4-0 lead. Ponte Vedra would chip away at the lead in the 2nd quarter and would tie it at 5 when Brendan Nace scored for the Sharks with 4:42 in the half, ultimately they would take a 7-6 lead into halftime. STA would come out strong to start the 2nd half but PV goalie Nolan Parlette and the Sharks defense would fend them off allowing Canon Hauseman to extend the PV lead to 8-6 but the Raiders would answer quickly with goals by Jacob Urbano and Trace McDonald tying it up at 8 midway through the 3rd quarter. PV's William Corbett and Brock Brigman would answer STA quickly as well to put the Sharks back up by 2 goals again at 10-8. Michael Milanes got the Raiders back to within 1 with a top right snipe on an open look from 15 with 23.7 seconds left in the 3rd and he would do it again 1:02 into the 4th to lock things up again, this time at 10-10. Dylan Dean and Jacob Urbano would trade goals to get us to 11-11. Wade Lamon would lock in to thwart several flurries by the Sharks in the 4th but when Jack Reed scored with 1:47 left the Raiders hopes were looking bleak. When Lad Harper won the following face-off clean for PV, the Sharks called timeout, and then attempted to run the clock but they stepped out of bounds and opened the door for STA when Chase Garey came crashing through it scoring on the dodge after a nice feed from Gio Villasana with exactly 1 minute to go to tie it at 12. Chris Testa won the ensuing critical face-off and Garey would take the groundball off the wing, rush downfield and score again just 10.7 seconds later. The Raiders would hold on for the final 50 seconds to win 13-12 in a game that lasted well past midnight and was actually nearing 1:00am when the trophy was presented. The victory secures Aquinas their 3rd state championship and first since 2017. STA's seniors were finally able to avenge the 2019 championship game where they lost badly to PV by a score of 19-7. For Ponte Vedra it was another wonderful season showing everyone why they still own the lacrosse world in Northern Florida.

Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Chase Garey, Wade Lamon, Brendan Nace

 

Girls 1A Championship Game Recap:

 

Lake Highland Prep over American Heritage Delray 10-8

Lake Highland Prep held off a late rally by American Heritage Delray to win 10-8 and take home the state championship. The Stallions were forced into playing aggressive defensively throughout the 2nd half where penalties would get the best of them including the ejection of Brooke Goldstein after her 2nd yellow card late in the game. Jacqueline Jaskiewicz led all scorers with 4 goals for the Highlanders. LHP avenged their 11-9 loss to the Stallions in last years championship game, fulfilling their motto of something to prove by beating one of the top teams in the nation to bring the title back to Orlando for the first time since 2019.

Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Jacqueline Jaskiewicz, Kate Hanlon, Carli Fleisher

 

Girls 2A Championship Game Recap:

 

Bartram Trail over Vero Beach 8-7

Bartram Trail would come out hot against Vero Beach jumping out to a 6-0 lead before the Indians would score 3 goals in the last 8 minutes of the half to cut the deficit to 6-3. VB would continue the comeback in the 2nd half until lightning (heavy storms) delayed it with under 18 minutes left and the Bears clinging to a 6-5 lead. After a nearly 2 hour delay BT would come back and score quickly to extend their lead to 7-5 but penalties would give VB an opportunity to answer and with under 6 minutes left Call Norris would score 2 goals in 1:24 finally bringing the Indians all the way back for the tie at 7. The comeback would eventually fall short though as the Bears Izzy Difato would get a free position and weave her way to the goal before the defense could crash in, scoring the game winning goal with 1:22 left in regulation. Difato would also control the ensuing face-off and the Bears would spin it around until the clock ran out for an 8-7 victory to win the state championship. Bartram Trail wins the title for the first time since 2016 when they also beat Vero Beach by the score of 8-7 (in OT), which ended a historic 10 year run for the Lady Indians as state champions from 2006-2015 (2009 title was vacated). Both programs should be loudly applauded for their efforts as they each fought tooth and nail until the very end.

Deep South Lax Report's Peak Performers:

Izzy Difato, Marina Dean, Calli Norris

 

Recaps written by Larry Palumbo, released on Sunday, May 15, 2021 @ 08:00 EST

Photo Credits: Larry Palumbo & Mike Watters

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