District 9 – Can Winter Park Keep Rolling & Will Hagerty and Oviedo Challenge?

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Winter Park really had a terrific season in 2018, sweeping their district and finishing at #12 in the Final FLN Poll.  A first round FHSAA win over perennial power Lake Highland led to the Round of 16, where they were ousted by state finalist Bishop Moore, the only team to defeat them all season, as they met in the regular season too.  Hagerty was not able to follow up their strong 2017 season and they fell to Winter Park in the district final comfortably.

Last season’s Regular Season records via MaxPreps (Note: possibility not all results were uploaded):

School Name *W-L *Pct. W-L Pct. GF GA
Winter Park 6-0 1.000 18-2 0.900 311 138
Hagerty 4-2 0.667 11-7 0.579 213 153
Oviedo 2-3 0.400 10-6 0.625 183 113
Lake Howell 1-4 0.200 12-8 0.600 215 202
Trinity Prep 0-4 0.000 7-7 0.500 149 112
  • * Denotes district data.

It will be interesting to see if Oviedo can also narrow the gap to make it a 3-horse race.  This was a sneaky strong district last year.

Winter Park 18-2. Lost in the FHSAA Round of 16

Head Coach Ryan Healey chimes in with his comments:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

To compete for a district championship, win the metro championship and get a chance to compete in regional playoffs.

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

A/M (12) Parker Junod 2018- 26 Goals and 45 Assists, 4 year starter (Mercer)

M John Workman (11) Injured 2018, 16 goals and 2 assists

D (12) Ryan Patrie – 3 Year Starter, shutdown defenseman

FOGO (12) Weston Dowdell 3 Year starter, 80% last year

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

M Garrett Moore (10) Big, Smart and Consistent, played 2018 Riverside Military Ga

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

Lake Brantley 3/8 Oldest Public School Rival in the State

3/12 Oviedo love what fellow Always Sunny Coach Kellis is Building

4/12 Boone Metro Conference Rival

Hagerty 4/2 District Rival

Hagerty 11-7, lost in the district final

Coach Kyle Hofstaedter expects bigger things from Hagerty this year:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We always have a lot of expectations here at Hagerty. We have made the District Championships the last 6 seasons and took home the Championships 2 of the last 3 years. We have a tremendous senior class that are hungry and ready to make a push especially after the way last season ended.

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

Two players that come to mind are junior attackman, Christian Hofer (Embry-Riddle) 35G/12A and senior LSM, Kyle Croteau (Saint Leo) 2G/1A/76GBs. Hofer is like having another coach on the field. He understands the offense so well that he helps direct the other players and is so dangerous with the ball. Croteau is the hardest working player I have ever coached. His motor never stops and helps bring intensity to our game. He will play such an integral part of our defense.

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

Sophomore Kevin Croteau 20G/5A will look to take on a much larger role on offense this year. He has worked hard in the off-season to better his dodging and shooting on the run. He will be more active and aggressive on offense this year. The second player who has impressed during the first couple of weeks has been our senior d-mid, Anthony Donato 1G/0A/8 GBs. He has played really good positional defense and has been shutting down our offensive best. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play this year!

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

I think Winter Park has become our biggest rivalry over the past couple of years. All the players and coaches know each other from playing club ball with Always Sunny Lacrosse which just adds to the bragging rights. The past 3 years have seen both of us in the district championship match so this always becomes a heated contest. The other game we are looking forward to is our game against in-town rivals, Oviedo. Oviedo has really started to develop talent under Coach Kellis. The boys have all grown up together and played rec together, so this is another one that we can’t wait for!

Oviedo 10-6, lost in the district semifinals

Oviedo Head Coach Nate Kellis gives us his preview in great detail!

What are your expectations this season for the team?

My biggest expectation for our team this year is to just stick to our blueprint. My staff and I have done a really good job of creating a culture for our athletes. We live by the motto “be the best” as many programs do across the country. It’s interpreted a thousand different ways, but the underlying message is to be your best, so we can be our best. If I’ve got 35 guys who come to practice with a purpose every day to get better at something that wasn’t great the day before (offhand, communication, backside movement, etc.) it alleviates the individual coaching we have to do, allowing us to focus on the bigger picture for the team. In addition to sticking to the blueprint, we’ve got a tough schedule this season and I’m looking to steal some wins from a few teams that might overlook us. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best, so giving our guys the opportunity to play some of the best teams in the state just made a lot of sense to me. Finally, we always expect to compete for a District Title. It hasn’t been done at Oviedo since 2014, so we want to bring some hardware back to Mrs. Lougee! Last season we finished 53rd in the state (Laxpower) and 48th according to maxpreps – I want the top 50 finish.

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

Jared Kotar – Senior, Defense. Signed to Rollins. 1st Team all-conference. Jared’s credentials expand far beyond the playing field, but long story short: he is our guy and he’s going to be great this year.

Cole Gehring – sophomore, FO, M. Last year he was injured for the beginning of season but still managed to scrap together a pretty good freshman season, that finished with conference honorable mention honors. He has really added some pieces to his game this off season, and he’s been a great example of how a Varsity player should train to my younger guys coming up.

Julian VanDeventer – Sophomore, Defense. Julian ended up starting on Varsity all last season as a Freshman, and hasn’t regressed a bit. He gets better and bigger every day. He’s already on the DII radar and he’s a guy that’s going to really apply pressure and create chaos for opposing offenses.

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

Cody Uttich – sophomore Goalie, phenominal job of taking on the leadership role as a Varsity starter this season and is doing an incredible job in cage this preseason.

Tanner Sims – junior attackman. Tanner transitioned from middie to Attack this season, which we’ve been preparing for since the fall of 2017. It’s been the smartest decision I’ve made as a coach. He’s a guy that’s gotten some looks from small schools but I expect he’ll be on some more coaches radars towards the end of his Junior season this year.

Tyler Heefner – small role last year, taking on a bigger role this season. He’s had to fill some big shoes after losing a bunch of talented seniors last year, and taken on the challenge beautifully. He’s really molded into an extremely reliable middie.

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

West Orange – I love Coach Fred and know that he’s going to have his team ready to go on the 19th, and we’re looking forward to opening our season against a top-20 team. This is the one I’ve had circled since we booked it a few months ago.

Hagerty/Winter Park – Both of these district 9 games are huge for us. We’ve got them the same week this season – Winter Park on Tuesday the 12th (march) and Hagerty on the Thursday before spring break. There’s always a lot of hype and trash talk leading up to it, and I can’t think of a better way to finish the first half of season. Both of them are going to have to beat us twice to win a district title this season.

Merritt Island – last year was a really close game that we let get away from us. It was our worst game last season and we lost a player late in the game with a torn ACL. We didn’t travel well that day, I felt like our energy as a team never got off the bus, so this year I’m excited for the chance at redemption – and they’re coming to us this time!

OTHER BIG GAMES: Lake Highland, American Heritage (Plantation), TFA, Montverde Academy, Melbourne Central Catholic, Lake Mary, Lake Brantley

Lake Howell 12-8, lost in the district semifinal

Lake Howell Head Coach Mark Ayad has the following insights for his program this year:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We have no expectations. Expectations lead to focusing on where we think we should be at, instead of working to be better every day.  We want to continue to build Lake Howell Into a consistently strong program. This is my first full class of seniors since I came back to Lake Howell. These guys have worked hard to establish a strong foundation and have improved every year. With all the pieces we have in place now, we feel like this is our year to really show that Lake Howell isn’t just another game on the schedule. We have a strong belief we will be competitive in our district and further if we continue to improve each day.

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

I am returning my entire team except two very important seniors from last year. Those guys will be hard to replace, but we have 14 seniors this year all of which we expect to make a difference. Attackmen Aaron Gerber and Zack Rouadi, Midfielders Derek Isaac, Mason Grant, Chase Bennett, Ben Tobin, Mikey Chernow, Ian Graepel, Juan Esparza, Dyon Charles, and Matt Shackelford. On defense, Dylan Hood, Graham Spaulding, Tibor Ozstrovicky and LaFontaine Oliver.

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

Everyone on our roster steps up when they are needed. We rely on eachother and when their time comes to step up, they will rise to the level of our training and preparation.

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

We look forward to the next game on our schedule. We are focusing on taking the season one game at a time, and not overhyping or underestimating any opponent we play.

Trinity Prep 7-7, failed to qualify for districts

Unfortunately, we have not yet received their questionnaire, we’ll update when we get it.