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2A: #4 St. Thomas Stages Successful Raid in 12-11 Road Win Over #2 Jupiter!

photos by Paul Kabalin A heavyweight battle in Jupiter last night saw two title contenders in 2A battle it out, with the STA Raiders living up to their name with a 12-11 road win over the hometown Jupiter Warriors in a game that could serve as a model for Florida lacrosse to show to the rest of the nation.  There were basically three parts to the game, with the first 20 minutes being a back and forth struggle, the next 12 being a St. Thomas surge and the rest being Jupiter’s climb back, eventually tying the game with less than 5 minutes to go, only to see STA win the last 3 minutes to take the victory. Each stage of the game had its’ own unique feel and dynamic and the fans on both sides had their ups and downs. Regardless of points accumulated, the most impactful part of the game was the faceoff circle, as STA’s Jared Chenoy won 68% according to my tracking, and at least two of the losses were procedure calls.  Given that this game was played with terrific ball possession (the two teams COMBINED only turned the ball over 15 times all game) the faceoffs took on even more importance than normal and the extra possessions gave St. Thomas the opportunity to break out to a five-goal lead in the third before Jupiter mounted the comeback. On top of the possessions, Chenoy was able to score twice himself on clean wins, and the last one, just three seconds after STA took the late lead, held up as the game winner.  When these teams play again in April (thank you Lacrosse Gods for schools deciding to play home and home series this year!) the biggest question will be how to handle Chenoy.  After the game the Jupiter coaching staff brought up that this was the first time in many years that they weren’t on the side of a dominating faceoff performance and that is certainly true. Either way, these two teams are on a collision course in Class 2A for an Elite Eight matchup and I can’t see anything that would change that. Jupiter opened the scoring at 10:35 of the first as Jackson Bashaw finished off a fast break after a lengthy clearing pass found him in stride, and he dodged middle for the right hand shot to the top left corner.  Max Sanderson made it 2-0 at 8:59 as he worked the right wing and forced through three defenders before going left-hand low.  At 6:54, STA answered as Jacob Urbano found Nico Cash top right from behind for the step down to the top left.  Chenoy tied it at 2 at 5:15 as he dodged and re-dodged the right alley and with 36 seconds left it was Giovanni Villasana working the right wing and getting to the low right for a short side finish for 3-2 after one. Jupiter took the lead back with two quick goals in the second.  Tyler Douglass finished off an EMO after Jupiter wheeled left, with Bashaw finding him on the low left for the low laser and at 10:30 he swim-dodged to the goal from left wing, finishing low for 4-3. STA then ran off three straight in under 2 minutes to go up 6-4.  Cash went left alley for the left hand shot at 9:21. 25 seconds later it was Urbano finding a cutting Chase Garey on the left alley for the far side shot and at 7:29 it was Villasana dodging in from left wing to finish the run.  Jupiter pulled within one on a nice two-man effort on low right, as Bashaw found Sanderson as the slide left him open with 6:00 to go.  But STA scored twice to end the half on similar plays, as they took advantage of crease cutters for one-timers.  St 3:46 it was Robert Gazzano finishing the Trace McDonald feed and a minute later it was Villasana finding Michael Milanes to make it 8-5 at the half. Urbano opened the 3rd with a dodge from top left towards the middle, hitting the top left at 8:16 for 9-5 and at 4:55 it was long pole Vincent Layne going the distance for the 10-5 lead and it looked like a long climb back.  Jupiter got one back with 1:50 to go as Sanderson finished the Trace Hogan feed for the left wing step down and with time expiring it was the Warriors taking advantage of a fluke play as Max Silver got off shot from Bashaw’s restart to give Jupiter life at 10-7 after three. Hogan got Jupiter within 2 goals at 8:52 in the 4th as he walked in on the top right and let go a bullet to the top right.  At 5:53, on EMO, Hogan found Douglass on the left wing for the step down to the short side for 10-9 and at 4:36 it was Sanderson curling from the right and getting his hands free for the left hand between the legs to tie it up. McDonald worked the right wing and his dodge shot to the top right gave STA the lead back at 3:10 and Chenoy added to that with the clean win mentioned above for 12-10.  Jupiter got within one on another EMO with 46 seconds left as Jack Ferris found Hogan on low left, but Chenoy won the key faceoff and STA was able to run out the clock for the impressive win. The rematch is a month away, make your plans early for the trip down I-95! Here’s STA HC Terry Crowley after the game (pardon me for accidentally hitting play too early!): Team Statistics Faceoffs:  STA 17-8 Shots:  STA  40-30 Shots on Goal:  STA 25-17 Turnovers:  Jupiter 8-7 Penalties:  STA 6-1 Individual Statistics: STA Giovanni Villasana  2G/1A Nico Cash and Jared Chenoy with two goals each Jacob Urbano  1G/2A Trace McDonald  1G/1A Chase Garey, Robert Gazzano, Michael Milanes and Vincent Layne with 1G each Wade Lamon with 6 saves Jupiter Max Sanderson  4G Tyler Douglass  3G Trace Hogan  2G/2A Jackson Bashaw  1G/3A Max Silver  1G Jack Ferris  1A Aiden Vincent  13 saves Thanks to both coaches for talking to me before and after the game!