Author’s Note: We decided to produce 4 Final Polls this season for the 2 classes. The Girls will have Top 10’s (we did a combined Top 15 this season for the 2 classes) and Top 15’s for the Boys, as there was more intersectional play on that end, making it a little easier . . . also, this writer got to see more Boy’s teams in action. Putting together the tournament games and the games I attended in person, it looks like I got to see at least 60 schools play, which is well above my previous high . . . not bad for a hobby!
Congratulations to American Heritage-Delray for their FHSAA championship win over Lake Highland Prep, 11-9, in one of the very few times when MaxPreps national rankings had a smidgen of legitimacy, as both teams truly are among the Top 25 nationally at least. In 2019, when we last had a full season, both teams finished in the Top 10 nationally in the final Inside Lacrosse high school Girls’ poll. Neither team was seriously challenged on their path to the championship game and that’s clear from their season-long results.
One unfortunate issue with the season is that Covid completely killed the out of state matchups that both teams play against northern powerhouses. So a realistic national ranking isn’t likely to be accurate this year. And certainly there was a minimum of high-end Florida games to play. For example, AH-Delray did not play 2A champions St. Thomas this year even though they are only 25 miles apart.
All in all, a lot to wish for next season!
1) American Heritage-Delray – avenged their only regular season loss to the Highlanders when it counted the most
2) Lake Highland Prep – the flip side of the coin
3t) Ponte Vedra – when you look at Ponte Vedra and Pine Crest they have similar resumes in how they played the top programs . . .
3t) Pine Crest – . . . so there’s no reason to choose between the two. I saw both and they are excellent teams just a step below the Top 2
5) Community School of Naples – got to the Final Four with a win over . . .
6) Berkeley Prep . . . the #6 ranked team . . .
7) St. Stephen’s Episcopal . . . the best resume of the rest that I viewed, close losses to #5 and #6
8) Episcopal School of Jacksonville – saw them in action and they passed the eye test
9) Bishop Moore – can’t ignore their terrific strength of schedule, just behind LHP’s and a quality win over Plant
10) Gulf Breeze – see what I write below . . . hopefully they will get the go-ahead to schedule out of the area next year because the regular season was exposed by the 18-1 loss to PV in the first round.
Also considered (alphabetically):
Academy of the Holy Names
Calvary Christian (Ft. Laud)
The Also Considered’s pretty much all have the same issue, which is they didn’t beat the better schools above them. or failed to schedule the top programs. A few also had some blowout losses that couldn’t be overlooked.
The most difficult choice for me was at #10, where Gulf Breeze ran the table against a weak schedule and were beaten soundly against their only ranked opponent. Frankly I was looking for a team I could put above them in the 10-slot but none of the Also Considered’s had a better resume that justified inclusion.