I trust my eyes more than I trust power rankings via Math.
Good thing, because it would have been easy to look at Tuesday’s result/statistics and make assumptions, but the eyes never lie.
At halftime, my statistics showed Wellington trailing 4-0. 10 turnovers, 1 shot on goal on 6 attempts and 1 faceoff win. With numbers like that you can make a few assumptions. One is that Oxbridge’s defense is pretty damn good, and it was. Some of those turnovers were looks inside by Wellington that got trail checked at the last second. Another is that Wellington is young, which they are, and a game like this tends to be a great learning lesson on the way up the ladder.
But there was one other thing it showed and that was fortitude. This could have gotten ugly yet Wellington held in there on the back of their own defense, which stepped up to keep them in the game. That will pay big dividends down the line and this school will be reckoned with this year and the next few if their core continues to progress.
One other thing it shows is how a top program finds a way to win even when not firing on all cylinders, and Oxbridge is that. Coming off a winnable one-goal road loss to Saint Andrew’s it would have been easy to have a let down, and there was some of that lack of intensity at times, as happens so often in high school lacrosse.
And that lack of intensity almost caused a miracle late in the game. While the 3rd quarter continued in the Thunderwolves direction, with the lead stretched to 6-0 after three, it was easy to see that the score was misleading as to the run of the play. Wellington did get good looks but missed the cage from scoring opportunities and Oxbridge’s shooters were not hitting the cage (8 for 19 in the 2nd and 2rd quarter) either. The defense was playing takeaway too for both sides and a 6-goal lead looked like a mountain to climb, but a funny thing happened after Wellington broke the shutout. Four goals in about 2 minutes made it 7-4 and it took Oxbridge more effort to put it away than expected.
These are two very good teams, with Oxbridge with a few more dominant players and that made the difference. Oxbridge’s George Wandoff, a Syracuse-commit on defense, was all over the place and he’s the type of difference-maker that swings a game like this and when the tough 50/50 ground ball or clamp-down defense was needed, he made the play. Still only a junior, he’ll be a force for a while.
Wellington’s Keiser-bound long pole Ryan Toohey impressed with his play too, as he took on the challenge well.
These two teams are in separate classes, so a playoff match-up isn’t possible, but an annual rivalry would be good for the area, as it’s always good to see another program jump up to the next level. Wellington has everything they need to compete in the future, let’s hope they keep it going.
Oxbridge HC Stan Ross on their 7-4 Win over Wellington https://t.co/2yz9CV8oeE— FloridaLacrosseNews (@FloridaLX) February 24, 2021
There was no working clock so I skipped the exact times of the goals. Chase Shapiro finished the fast break as he kept going from far out, down the right alley for the right hand, short side high shot for the only goal of the 1st quarter. JD Ross found Dawson Brown from left GLE as Brown cut the middle for the left hand shot to the far side for 2-0. Beau Diamond took a right wing feed from the middle by Patrick Cerasuolo for the low, step down and 3-0, and Chris Lawrence swim dodged from the left wing to the crease to make it 4-0 at the half.
Kyle Caracuzzo made it 5-0 in the 3rd, as he split the middle and fired home left hand low. On the EMO it was Cerasuolo finding Brown on the low right side and his shot got through Wellington goalie Trevor Giordano for 6-0 after three.
Cerasuolo pushed it to 7-0 on a face dodge from low left to the cage and it was looking like that was it. Jake Palmer finally broke through for Wellington as he worked the low left side and a swim dodge got him to the cage for 7-1. Seconds later it was Bradley Freedman on left wing, dodging a little right and firing low from 10 yeards for 7-2. Off another faceoff win by Refugio Perez, Wellington quickly made it 3 in a row, as an attempted pass by Freeman eluded both his intended recipient and Oxbridge goalie Jake Proctor and it was 7-3. Just 8 seconds later another faceoff win was followed by Ryan Anthony swim dodging the right wing for the left-hand shot that made it 7-4. Lacrosse can be a funny game . . . no goals for 44 minutes and 4 in two minutes.
But Oxbridge regained possession on the next draw and for the most part ran out the final two and a half minutes to put the game away.
The eyes don’t lie . . . and the final score really was indicative of the total game.
I hope next year is just as good.
Faceoffs: Wellington 8-6
Shots: Oxbridge 29-13
Shots on Goal: Oxbridge 16-6
Turnovers: Wellington 23-15
Penalties: Wellington 6-1
Dawson Brown 2G
Patrick Cerasuolo 1G/2A
Chase Shapiro, Beau Diamond, Chris Lawrence and Kyle Caracuzzo with 1G each
JD Ross 1A
Jake Proctor with 2 saves
Bradley Freeman 2G
Jake Palmer and Ryan Anthony with 1G each
Trevor Giordano wih 9 saves