District 28 – STA Still in Front, AH-Plantation Narrowing the Gap

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St. Thomas Aquinas saw their streaks come to an end last season.  Their 40-game win streak against Florida programs.  Their two-time FHSAA championship run.  Will their long time District streak finally be threatened?  It took a lot to finally slay the Raider Dragon, specifically an OT road loss to SA in the Round of 16, after rallying with 5 straight goals to take the lead before giving up the tying goal with 7 seconds left in regulation and losing in OT.

STA played a schedule that required a LOT of travel last year and it seemed to create a delicate balance between getting ready for a playoff run versus did it take a toll by the end of the season?  Just something that will never really have an answer, but it certainly meant a lot of fun to cover the team as well as follow it.  The one day round trip to Ft. Myers for me for the Loyola game did take something out of me though . . .

STA led McDonogh at the half, lost a one-goal neutral site game with Archbishop Spalding and defeated Delaware power Salesianum.  The schedule is not quite as rigorous but there is a trip to Long Island to play Coach Crowley’s high school alma mater and another game, plus Loyola Blakefield is at home instead of a neutral site.

The interesting story beyond STA in this district is the gradual narrowing of the gap between them and American Heritage-Plantation and the question becomes whether AH-P can eventually catch up.  There’s still a definite gap, particularly depth-wise but there’s certainly been catching up too.  Coach Chad Moore has been pushing the program along and while the loss of Ryan Marek hurts, the cupboard is not bare and they are ranked well in our preseason poll.

Last season we also saw a nice improvement out of University School and that’s always one of my favorite places to catch a game, so we’ll see if that continues.  South Plantation steps back to the varsity level and Plantation and Piper are the programs that need to put more time into growing.

 

School Name *W-L *Pct. W-L Pct. GF GA
St. Thomas Aquinas 3-0 1.000 14-7 0.667 251 121
American Heritage 3-1 0.750 17-3 0.850 240 92
University 0-1 0.000 9-6 0.600 156 106
Plantation 0-1 0.000 5-14 0.263 115 255
Piper 0-4 0.000 1-9 0.100 30 123
  • * Denotes district data.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas 14-7, lost in the FHSAA Round of 16

Head Coach Terry Crowley was pretty brief with his preview information:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

Work hard and stick together

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Grant Laman, Brock Gonzales, Nick Yovino and AJ Stotler

 

 

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

Pierce Griffin on defense and Matt Church at the midfield

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

Loyola Blakefiled, Massapequa, American Heritage-Plantation, Western, Douglas and Locust Valley

 

American Heritage-Plantation 17-3, lost in the district final

Head Coach Chad Moore mentioned this:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

Our expectations are to continue to get better and beat St. Thomas in district finals.

 

 

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

A- Zak Bitar, M – Ryan Robins, M/FO – Danny Haimes, D – Connor Maron, G – Jake Marek

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

D – Brody Clarke, M-Nate Bitar, M – Grant Sizemore

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

St Thomas, Lake Highland Prep, Benjamin

 

University School 9-6, lost in the district semifinals

Head Coach Jan Northrop

What are your expectations this season for the team?

To be competitive in the district, to get to 10 wins, and to get the players to play as a team.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Midfield – Drew Hoffman (Haverford College Commit)

Defense – Mikey Lipsky

Defense – Aidan Greenstein

 

 

Midfield – Conchade Osceola

Attack – Asher Jurman

Attack – Gavin Ward (Lynn University Commit)

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

Goalie – David Churba

Midfield – Max Kaplan

LSM – Max Dragoslavic

Midfield – Micah Zebersky

 

 

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

Ransom Everglades

American Heritage Plantation

Columbus Catholic

 

Plantation 5-14, lost in the district semifinals

We have not yet received their questionnaire, we will update when we receive it

 

Piper 1-9, did not qualify for district

We have not yet received their questionnaire, we will update when we receive it

 

South Plantation, did not play varsity last season

Head Coach Michael Collins sent this in:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We are a heavy senior team with most all of them playing together for at least 4 or more years. We expect to be very competitive and should find a spot in the district to make it to the state playoffs.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Team defense will be anchored by St.Thomas University commit 6’4” 320lb Goalie Jayce “Big Red” Collins. He has been playing since the age of 5. His size and experience should lend a hand in deterring offenses this season.

Dylan Keffer is the heart on the team and his aggressive no-nonsense approach playing middie will supply energy and leadership to the offense and defense.

Johnathan Lynn is a face-off guy that buzzes the crease and can create headaches for defenders.

Ryan Allan is a big kid that packs a load. Quick sticks in either hand makes him hard stop.

Travis Bentley has been a long pole defender for over 7 years and is the enforcer on the defense. Smart and strong he helped lead SPHS to a 12- 2 season last year.

Cole Rettman is a motivational leader that sets a high bar for the team. He can dodge and shoot with anyone in the county.

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

We have a batch of young talent that will contribute substantially this year. Trevon Jones, Vernest Johnson, Tyler Anderson, and Jake Tischler.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

We have had some great games with Cypress Bay, Cooper City, Western, West Broward and our rivals Plantation High School.