Author’s Note: For those of you who are waiting for recaps of the MIAA-Florida battles I’ll be doing a larger summary article of the matchups with pictures on Sunday
Growing programs almost always mean growing pains and that was on display last night. A hard-fought game where one simple stat decided the outcome. The team that protected the ball better got the win. Sometimes a sporting event is just as simple as that.
It was an absolutely perfect night for lacrosse and the stands were pretty spirited, as a good-sized contingent of Ransom fans made the trip to one of my favorite places to watch and cover a game, Auto Nation Field on the campus of NSU-University. Besides the shameless plug for a potential advertiser I mention this because the best of all worlds are there for me. The press box is close to the field, the scoreboard is centered across from me and the parking is easy to get in and out of!
Of course, waiting for me on the field are Head Coaches Jan Northrup and Chazz Woodson. One I owed a beverage to for his alma mater’s huge upset win over Hobart this season and the other a great player I have covered for the Launch (and also from an alma mater that took down my Statesmen in recent years) . . . come to think of it . . . nah, it was great to see both of them.
Both coaches are looking to make their way into a level where they can eventually compete for Districts. Both have heavyweights to deal with and another up and coming program to compete against as they do so. NSU has the difficult task of looking up at 2x state champ St. Thomas and a rising program at American Heritage-Plantation while Ransom is paired with a now solidly Top 20 program in Belen Jesuit and recent power Columbus Catholic. Ransom holds a one goal win over Columbus this season but lost to Belen comfortably, while NSU’s only two losses were to the two tigers above them. So you can say that tonight’s game was a good example of the two programs looking to make their way up over time.
The game itself featured a number of talented kids who are able to impact a game but not necessarily dominate one offensively. Talented but also at times trying to do too much. Nothing runs the turnover totals up more than that simple concept of trying to do too much. Both goalies, NSU’s Jeremy Lapayowker, whom I’ve seen a few times and never fails to play well, and Ransom’s Andrew Swerdlow, who I think I saw one other time before, both had nice games.
There were a number of talented long poles out there too and the two that most stood apart to me were Ransom’s Reece Ritzenthaler and NSU’s Michael Lipsky. Ritzenthaler is talented enough to play on the offensive side with the long pole and on man-up situations and Lipsky was a wrecking crew defensively and on ground balls. NSU’s Asher Jurman was able to control tempo, particularly in the second half when running time off the clock was important.
The faceoff battles were controlled in the 1st half by NSU but Ransom gained a slight edge in the 2nd. Ransom’s shooting hurt them some as they only hit the cage with 10 of their 21 shots and some of those were good looks that needed to be on target while NSU put 20 of 31 on goal. Both teams had their share of man-down opportunities but RE went 0-5 while surrendering a short hand goal and NSU went 2-6. Put those together and you have a decent amount of the difference in the score but the glaring difference was the turnovers, where Ransom turned it over 15 more times and in the decisive third quarter was minus 6 by itself.
Ransom opened the scoring at 5:35 as Austin Acosta finished off the 3 on 2 fast break, taking the Matt Weissman behind the back pass to the left crease area and Acosta went low with the right hand for 1-0. They stretched it to two at 2:15 as #14 (I don’t have him listed on MaxPreps, will fill in when I get it) took the Chris Kucera pass from low left on the left wing for the low right corner shot and it gave RE the 2-0 lead after the first.
NSU then when on a 2-goal run of their own in the second to make it 2-2 at the half. Jurman took advantage of a delayed penalty call as he was able to get off the ground with possession as the RE defense relaxed and his right hand found the bottom of the left side from the right wing at 5:55 and that was followed up by Jordan Weinstein going down the left alley after the teams traded turnovers and his left hand found the low far side with 2:42 left in the half and that’s how the half ended.
NSU came out strong in the third as Gavin Ward took the Drew Hoffman feed in the middle and his right hand low right made it 3-2 just 45 seconds into the quarter. While killing off a penalty it was Ward again as he took the Conchade Osceola feed, beating the double team and finishing into the open net for the short hand goal at 8:55. Less than a minute later it was 5-2 as Hoffman finished off the low left feed on the EMO from Duncan Jurman, with the left wing step down. At 5:44 Ward scored his third as Asher Jurman found him at the crease from right GLE for the behind the back shot for 6-2 and on EMO it was Asher Jurman with his own behind the back from low right to make it 7-2 with 2:56 to go.
The NSU run continued in the fourth as Duncan Jurman took the Weinstein feed from up top on the left wing for the step down at 9:22. RE finally got back on the board at 6:02 to snap the scoreless streak as Jack Prio Touzet made a lengthy right wing pass to Jasper Beardsley for the right hand bounce shot to the left side for 8-3. But NSU scored three more times in less than 2 minutes to put the game away. Noah Liberman unassisted on a dodge to the middle from the left GLE, Jurman taking the Osceola feed for the right wing shot and Liberman finishing the three player passing play from Duncan Jurman off the faceoff win to stretch it to 11-3 before RE’s Ritzenthaler finishing off an unassisted dash down the left to the middle to finish the scoring with 3 minutes to go.
NSU is back in action on Wednesday, going to district foe Piper while Ransom is back in action on Wednesday with the home district game versus St. Brendan.
Faceoffs: NSU 10-8
Shots: NSU 31-21
Shots on Goal: NSU 20-10
Turnovers: RE 36-21
Penalties: RE 6-5
Asher Jurman and Gavin Ward with 3G/1A each
Noah Liberman 2G
Duncan Jurman 1G/2A
Jordan Weinstein and Drew Hoffman with 1G/1A each
Conchade Osceola 2A
Jeremy Lapayowker with 6 saves (and a lot of great outlet passes)
Austin Acosta, Jasper Beardsley, Reece Ritzenthaler and #14 with 1G each
Matt Weissman, Chris Kucera and Jack Prio Touzet with 1A each
Andrew Swerdlow with 9 saves
Thanks to Coach Northrup and Coach Woodson for talking to me before and after the game