Florida Lacrosse Showcase joins the fold. To be fair to them, I’m still the only one choosing the schools so aim your vindictiveness to me, not the Showcase!
As always, let’s start with last week’s Poll . . .
This Week’s Florida Lacrosse Showcase Top 25 Media Poll!
#1 – Oxbridge – MIAA games don’t factor in since so few Florida teams get their chance. Traveling to Nease and PV will leave no doubt if they sweep
#2 – Jupiter – they make the same northern trip, we’ll know how real it is for them
#3 – Bishop Moore – statement made, now can they handle more than one tough game in a row? LHP and Tampa Jesuit this week!
#4 – Ponte Vedra – turnaround this week to Jupiter and Oxbridge
#5 – St. Thomas Aquinas – no scalps yet
#6 – Benjamin – The OT road loss to Jupiter was fine but the schedule does not look as good as it did pre-season
#7 – Lake Mary – a bit light on the schedule kind of caps them here the rest of the season
#8 – Saint Andrew’s – STILL can’t get a handle on them yet after watching the BL game
#9 – Oak Hall – on cruise control until the last two games
#10 – Tampa Jesuit – Saturday is their big opportunity to get into the state mix
#11 – Cardinal Mooney – Maybe the best team in the state no one talks a lot about, a couple of big opportunities to move further up later on
#12 – West Orange – Frankly their record gets worse each week
#13 – Lake Highland Prep – Lose their next two badly and I have to seriously wonder if they are Top 20 even.
#14 – HB Plant – no result last week leaves them unchanged
#15 – Nease – statement week coming up for them
#16 – Belen Jesuit – nips Pine Crest, making their slot above PC look good
#17 – Pine Crest – didn’t get the road win
#18 – Winter Park – win over Lake Brantley gains them a boost
#19 – Newsome – no results this week
#20 – American Heritage-Boca – maybe the biggest surprise under the radar right now
#21 – Stoneman Douglas – making up for lost time nicely
#22 – Sickles – no results this week
#23 – Hagerty – holding steady as teams coming up are critical
#24 – Canterbury-Ft. Myers – shrimp and mozzarella/tomato combos sooth the savage pollster
#25 – To be honest, when you look at the Just Outside list below, none of them jumped up and grabbed the ring last week, so let’s make them earn it this week
Just outside the Top 25
Riverview-Sarasota, Gulf Breeze, Creekside, Merritt Island, ODA Sarasota, Fleming Island, Steinbrenner, Buchholz, SJP II, Lake Brantley
Last week was the week of big games . . . BIG GAMES
Bishop Moore looks like they got even for a LOT of frustrations over the recent years with their thrashing of LHP
They then came right back and sent a message to the Tampa area
Cardinal Mooney put down their claim to Sarasota and points south
Oxbridge and Jupiter went north and let Ponte Vedra and Nease know their rankings are no fluke . . . and frankly, last week’s Poll held up pretty well. Small victories to be sure, certainly reversible, but round one went to the Southeast.
STA went even further north and still could not get an MIAA scalp, but they came close in the 11-10 OT loss to Archbishop Spalding. They did take down Delaware state champion Salesianum. Archbishop Spalding already has a win over Texas power Dallas Jesuit so we are definitely getting there.
There are some NY teams coming down this week so we’ll follow up on those games.
There’s a common theme this week.
Strength of schedule, which I keep harping on as a foundation for how I rank teams, MATTERS.
It gets you ready for the big intersectional games.
It keeps you sharp.
And it doesn’t hurt to lose a few of the tight games, it will pay dividends down the line.
Ponte Vedra has four losses . . . to MIAA Champ Calvert Hall, Jupiter by 1 goal, Oxbridge by 1 goal and Bishop Moore by 1 goal.
You all know by now Oxbridge’s resume . . . wins over PV, STA, SA, BM, Jupiter and Nease.
TWENTY SIX total goals against in those 6 wins.
Battle tested. But take out Nease and those other 5 wins are by a total of 11 goals.
You don’t have to tell Coach Ross and his staff that they aren’t heavy favorites to win the state championship . . . they know. And in all likelihood they will have to beat just about ALL of those teams again to bring home the trophy.
And that would be an incredible accomplishment if they do . . .
Just six years ago, in their inaugural season, they lost to . . . Park Vista, Palm Beach Central, South Fork, Palm Beach Gardens, Cardinal Newman and Spanish River . . .
Just six years ago.
In case your community is wondering if you can get good in 5 years . . . the answer is YES.
Aretha Franklin’s Respect . . . 51 years ago.
There’s an area I’ve harped on the last few years.
Respecting the toughest job in lacrosse . . . the referee
The yelling from the crowds has gone down a little bit this year from the games I’ve covered, but not nearly enough.
The simple fact is that 99.999999% of the people who yell from the stands about a missed call or a wrong one, INCLUDING ME, have NEVER taken a US Lacrosse Referee Course, read the rules book (although I am making that attempt this year) or in any way know what the referees have been trained to think through in that SPLIT SECOND they have to make a decision.
And as I constantly harp on . . .
From the field the game is TWO DIMENSIONAL . . . length and width
From the stands the game is THREE DIMENSIONAL . . . length, width AND HEIGHT. By definition of anyone with an IQ over 25, it is easier to SEE some things from ABOVE than at GROUND LEVEL.
Never mind that almost NO ONE in the stands, including me, can easily keep up with the speed of high school kids running up and down the field, while making plays and sometimes SCREENING OUT A REFEREE FROM SEEING SOMETHING . . .
You GET THE POINT YET?
The single most used word I hear from the stands during a game isn’t Great Goal, Great Save or something similar . . . it’s PUSH, SLASH, ON THE HEAD and something similar. Oh C’Mon is pretty close.
No referee wants to make a bad call and certainly none want to get a kid hurt, but if they can’t see the play they are not going to call it.
Life isn’t fair.
I warned the readers last season that there are refs who are not returning to the high school games this year and that has come true. Some have decided that they will only do college games and maybe some summer stuff.
The most given reason to me?
Abuse from parents, in some cases even BEING ACCOSTED in the PARKING LOT after the game.
I warned you that if the abuse kept up that there would be repercussions.
I’ve seen a high school game this year with ONE REFEREE, a number with TWO, and only the highest profile games with THREE.
There have been cancellations of JV games due to a lack of officials to work them.
You better start paying attention to all this . . .
Here’s an excellent video about what the referee sees from the field and what they are trained to do.
Compare it to your seat in the stands, sitting in a stationary position, not having to run up and down the stands.
If even after watching this video you can’t control yourself in the stands, go get a referee certification.
You’re obviously smarter than me.
Just one little example . . . the slash call at 1:58 . . . I had to look pretty closely with the video maximized on my 22″ screen to see what he called, in REPLAY. I didn’t catch it the first time and I’ve been watching this game for 42 years now.
One thing that is very clear to me, it’s pretty easy for a player to flash in front of your line of sight, causing you to miss something that happened behind that flashing player . . .
It’s a LOT HARDER following the play from the camera than the stands.
Parents, fans and coaches . . . hold your anger, before it’s too late. There is no right to have the sport of lacrosse refereed in the Constitution . . . get smarter about this before you have no referees left at all.
Key Games From Last Week
American Heritage-Boca 15-13 over Western-Davie
Pine Crest over Stoneman Douglas 14-7
Belen Jesuit 8-6 over American Heritage-Boca
Bishop Moore 19-4 over Lake Highland Prep
Cardinal Mooney 16-6 over Riverview-Sarasota
Hagerty 15-5 over Gulliver Prep
Valor Christian (CO) 16-9 over HB Plant
St. Edwards 15-14 over SJP II on the road
Sickles 9-7 over Steinbrenner on the road
Stoneman Douglas 6-5 over Boca Raton
Archbishop Spalding (MD) 11-10 in OT over St. Thomas
Belen Jesuit 6-5r over Columbus Catholic
Bishop Moore 14-5 over Tampa Jesuit
Canterbury 9-2 over ODA
Stoneman Douglas 12-8 over Gulliver on the road
Plant 15-8 over Steinbrenner
Oxbridge 15-6 over Nease on the road
Jupiter 9-8 over Ponte Vedra on the road
Lake Mary 7-4 over St. Edwards on the road
Jupiter 16-11 over Nease at JU
Oxbridge 6-5 over Ponte Vedra at JU
St. Thomas 11-4 over Salesianum
Riverview-Sarasota 11-10 in OT over Sickles on the road
The Underdog Upset of the Week
This week the Underdog Upset of the Week goes to Eau Gallie for their 11-10 win over John Carroll Catholic.
Not necessarily because it was a big upset but because it snapped Eau Gallie’s 34-game losing streak and because in the previous 5 games they played they scored a total of 6 goals versus 94 allowed, so congratulations to the Commodores for getting an elusive win!
Key Games This Week
Cardinal Mooney hosts ODA
Gulf Coast hosts Canterbury
St. Thomas hosts Belen Jesuit
Wiregrass Ranch hosts Steinbrenner
American Heritage-Plantation hosts Stoneman Douglas
Benjamin hosts Lake Highland Prep
Tampa Jesuit hosts Plant
Merritt Island hosts Viera
St. Edwards hosts Saint Andrews
SJP II hosts Pine Crest
St. Thomas hosts Jupiter (unfortunately I am on the PBA broadcast that night!)
Lake Mary hosts Winter Park
Okay, as an intermission I offer just ONE MORE Millennial Job Interview Video . . . I promise I’ll go back to Rodney, etc., next week!
Okay, time to talk about some more teams that are having great seasons but can’t yet be considered for my Top 25 at this time . . .
An undefeated team this year but unfortunately has the same issue some other growing programs have, the inability to really schedule well. Their area requires a lot of district games (those who listened to my first LSN segment know that one of my pet peeves is high school AD’s who have no idea how to accommodate the fastest growing sport in their area) and that kills their scheduling. The District 1 coaches need to go to their overseers and throw a fit.
A nice 6-1 record but the loss wasn’t competitive and their only remaining big game is against an up and down SJP II. The only way to get Top 25 is to win the district and a playoff round
All Saints Academy
11-1 on the year but the same as Fort Myers. No big wins and the loss wasn’t competitive. Win the district and a playoff round to get considered.
Melbourne Central Catholic
This is a school I have ranked in past years but their schedule is awful this year. Both Vero Beach and Jensen Beach are big names that add no weight to their strength of schedule. Win the district and at least one round to even be considered. And since a second round matchup would likely be Jupiter/Benjamin we can likely forget about that.
A nice record for their first varsity year but the two losses show how far they still need to go.
And that’s about it for those schools that are in this discussion!
Those of you who heard my 2nd part of the Friday LSN segment about the top players in the state know that I went off the board with my pick of the best two lacrosse players in the state in naming American Heritage-Delray’s Caitlin Wurzberger and Ransom Everglades senior Erin Bakes as my two most dominant lacrosse players.
Continuing in that theme here’s my substitute for Who Wants to Walk With FLN?
And now, here’s . . .
This Week’s Florida Lacrosse Showcase Top 25 Media Poll!
#1 – Oxbridge – there’s no doubt, they DID sweep the weekend
#2 – Jupiter – as did they
#3 – Bishop Moore – statement made AGAIN, and then some
#4 – St. Thomas Aquinas – finally got a northern win, Jupiter at home Thursday
#5 – Benjamin – LHP home game no longer a big game, unless they lose it. Road game at Bishop Moore is the best chance to move higher
#6 – Ponte Vedra – snake bit, needs to win one of these
#7 – Lake Mary – really only Winter Park left
#8 – Saint Andrew’s – off all week
#9 – Oak Hall – on cruise control again
#10 – Cardinal Mooney – flips with TJ as they take care of business, I want to see a HUGE CROWD on April 3rd! #TAFTAG!
#11 – Tampa Jesuit – did not show they are ready for the Final Four yet, has to go through BM to do so
#12 – West Orange – not going higher unless they get to the Final Eight
#13 – HB Plant – I have to move them up due to LHP’s poor performances
#14 – Belen Jesuit – the last 5 games are really difficult
#15 – Pine Crest – big win over Stoneman, moves up with the LHP move down
#16 – Nease – would like to have seen closer scores this weekend
#17 – Winter Park – Friday is huge for the program
#18 – Lake Highland Prep – this better not continue, the poor performances
#19 – Newsome – playoffs will tell if they can move up
#20 – American Heritage-Boca – a nice win over a surprisingly good Western-Davie team that will be on my radar and a close road loss to Belen
#21 – Stoneman Douglas – loss to Pine Crest, wins over Boca and Gulliver keep them here
#22 (t) – Sickles, Hagerty, Canterbury Ft. Myers and Riverview-Sarasota
That might seem like a cop out but really these four are so close you can do this for one week . . . at least they can all claim to be Top 22 this week!
Just outside the Top 25
Gulf Breeze, Western-Davie, Creekside, Merritt Island, Fleming Island, Buchholz, Lake Brantley