Author’s Note: Might as well get this out of the way before the game recap so a) I won’t be accused of burying it at the end of the story and b) because this is beneath adulthood. After the game was over an SA attendee utilized a crude epitaph concerning a body part on a Cardinal Mooney mother. Having watched games from the stands at SA since 2007, and knowing a lot of parents for many years, I know that 99+% of SA parents since 2007 would be appalled at the incident. There is no excuse for sinking this low. I’ve been told that the SA Administration is investigating and a likely disciplinary action is under discussion. A PA announcement is made every game at SA (and I know the administrators there take it very seriously) and that call for sportsmanship needs to be inclusive of players to each other, parents to each other and all spectators and participants to game officials.
This is not a difficult concept. ROOT for your team. Be loud. Dress Up. Have fun. After the Oxbridge-Jupiter game I saw parents congratulating players on the opponent’s team. This is HIGH SCHOOL sports, not the professional level. In years’ past, when I would watch physical, hard-played SA-LHP state title games, the parents would get together afterwards and be friendly with each other, regardless of the outcome.
Sometimes progress is negative. And sometimes the ‘Good Old Days’ rings true. Let’s all take a hint and remember that we parents are supposed to SET AN EXAMPLE for our kids.
The RIGHT example. Because they are ALWAYS WATCHING US.
In one of the more interesting intersectional games this year #4 Cardinal Mooney traveled across the state to take on #9 Saint Andrew’s in Boca last night. Even two years ago I would not have written this line in that context but the nature of Florida lacrosse is rapidly evolving and last night was a perfect example. The trend of top programs scheduling each other is having an effect on a few things. One is that the odds of anyone winning every game is slim and sometimes matchups mean more than previous results. I think that was true in last night’s game. Having already covered two SA losses it was easy to project trend but as so often has already occurred, that would be almost pointless. Cardinal Mooney came into this game unbeaten on the season and looking to make a statement of their own. A solid effort in the final Eight at Jupiter and now a chance to gather a road win against the program that set the tone and raised the bar for many years.
And for 24 minutes it looked like they would do something that three years ago was probably their fondest goal. But two things happened in the second half. First, their star FOGO, Alec Frank (who I owe an apology to for some bad information I got about the LHP game and his effectiveness . . . sorry!), went down with an injury in the third quarter after winning 8 of 9 in the first half and the second half was 6-5 in that category. Second, SA discovered their team offense formula of last season, when they rapidly improved in the second half of the season, playing as flawless a half as you can expect a high school team to do. 23 shot attempts, 13 on goal . . . and only 2 turnovers in the half, outscoring CM 8-2 in the half for the victory.
SA was able to capitalize a number of ways in the half and found good step down looks on the wings as the CM defense was collapsing away from those wings. Neither team was very effective on EMO, combining for 3 for 10, but a lot of that was stellar goalie play on both sides. CM senior Nick Petrucelli and SA freshman Gunnar Schwarz made timely saves on those EMO attempts. The CM attack, so experienced in playing together and so fun to watch when they are firing together, was held in the second half as SA dominated time of possession in the half. I don’t track groundballs but the second half belonged to SA there and it is difficult to get rhythm without winning your fair share.
But tonight belonged to SA’s offense, as the graduations from last year and the early season injuries opened the door for new contributors and last night those ‘next man ups’ took their opportunities to make their case for playing time.
And as I always caution. No one is running the table this year. These two teams are certainly in the mix for FHSAA title aspirations. Nothing that happened last night changes that. Just an interesting game early in the season that both teams learn more about themselves and where they will put their extra efforts into next week and the rest of the season.
CM took the early lead at 10:09 as MJ McMahon dodged towards the middle from the right wing and found Ryan Katchen on the left crease for the one-timer and 1-0. SA rallied with two goals in 2 minutes to go up 2-1. Max Schwarz found Micheal Lizzio on the right wing from right GLE for the step down at 7:56 and at 5:57 it was Lizzio finding Anthony Borodiak cutting down the left alley for the 10-yard low shot. CM tied it at 4:41 on EMO as JP Jackson worked from left behind to the crease for the low shot and with a second left in the quarter it was Christian Laureano on the left wing with the right hand to the top right unassisted for 3-2 CM after one.
The teams traded goals in the second, with CM taking the two-goal lead as Michael Bavaro fed Katchen from right GLE to the left crease for the quick stick at 8:59 and SA answered with Lizzio finding the cutting Borodiak in the middle for the top right corner shot at 7:48. CM scored the late, last two goals of the half to make it 6-3. First, Laureano found Jackson on the right crease from way out right wing for the one timer at 1:56 and AGAIN with one second left it was Charlie Budreau, beating a slipping defender to the middle for the low left shot to end the half.
SA came out strong in the third with 2 goals in 54 seconds to bring it to 6-5. First it was Lizzio finding Anthony Molle on the left crease from right GLE for the one-timer at 9:59 and at 9:05 Matt Adams drove down the left alley and got the shot off near the goal with the left hand. 43 seconds after that it was CM’s McMahon with the right wing swim dodge to the crease for the left hand low shot and 7-5. I believe it was at this point that FOGO Frank was injured on the next possession and CM certainly felt the loss. SA’s Adam Stiefel made it 7-6 at 5:25 on a fortuitous effort, with Petrocelli making a tough save and the ball just out of his reach, with Stiefel reaching down and slapping the loose ball into the cage. Harrison Konsker then tied it for the first time since the first quarter as he dodged from up top to the middle for the low right hand shot to the left side with just 31 seconds left in the quarter and that’s how we went to the fourth, as CM took a late penalty and SA held for possession.
Just 10 seconds into the 4th it was SA taking advantage of the EMO as Molle took the feed from Schwarz from behind on the wing for the step down and 8-7. CM responded quickly on their own EMO with Katchen hit Laureano on the left wing for the step down low shot and we were tied again at 11:15.
But SA responded with three quick goals to take the lead for good. At 10:31 Schwarz finished the right wing feed from Gryphon Gurin for 9-8, and then Schwarz finished the Adams right behind feed on the right wing at 9:36 for 10-8. The run completed at 8:49 as Molle found Konsker on top left from low left for the step down to the high left corner. CM had a few opportunities to cut into the lead but Gunnar Schwarz found the right time to shut the door and SA basically ran out the last 4 minutes of the game to seal the victory.
SA is back in action on Tuesday with a district game with American Heritage-Delray (they played The Woodlands today as I am writing this) and Cardinal Mooney won their game this morning with Belen Jesuit 14-6, with a game Wednesday against Sarasota Military Academy.
Faceoffs: CM 14-6
Shots: SA 36-23
Shots on Goal: SA 22-17
Turnovers: CM 12-5
Penalties: CM 6-4
Max Schwarz 2G/2A
Anthony Molle 2G/1A
Anthony Borodiak and Harrison Konsker with 2G each
Michael Lizzio 1G/3A
Matt Adams 1G/1A
Adam Stiefel 1G
Gryphon Gurin 1A
Gunnar Schwarz with 9 saves
Ryan Katchen and Christian Laureano with 2G/1A each
JP Jackson 2G
MJ McMahon 1G/1A
Charlie Budreau 1G
Michael Bavaro 1A
Nick Petrocelli with 11 saves
Thanks to Coach Seaman and Coach Wagner for talking to me before and after the game