We’re getting near the halfway point in the season and just when you think you’ve started to figure out the answers, you’re hit with a new set of questions due to the scores you see.
One thing that is also becoming apparent is that matchups do matter this year, since I’m seeing talented, younger teams have difficulty with their more physically developed opponents, and that is very true so far in some Top 15 matchups I’ve witnessed.
Like Friday’s LHP-STA game, which looked so good on paper, but in person you could see how obvious the difference between a senior and a freshman truly is most of the time. This is not a sport for the faint of heart, and for that game I was able to watch from a table right next to the field, and it truly is a different game there from watching in the booth.
One of my beliefs about the incredible greatness of this sport is the courage it takes to play it. And if you doubt that, watch a game at field level and just listen . . . you don’t have to even see the ball, you just have to listen for the contact and the sticks. It’s all there.
Never mind how much more it takes to play the goalie spot, which requires a greater mental toughness than social media bullies could only dream about. After all, you can’t hide behind a user name out in the cage.
Think playing goal isn’t tough?
Try doing this in your living room:
If I tried that I’d be in traction for a week . . .
Plenty of key games were played this week and most of you know by now that I read off close games and also note the easy wins by name on Morning Coffee and tomorrow I’ll run down the Boy’s scores from Friday and Saturday, as well as the Girl’s Top 15 results.
Friday had four close Top 15 matchups. as well as my upset of the week, as you’ll see later. The biggest goal spread of the five was 3 goals, as play went down to the late stages in each.
But one Top 15 matchup did not go down to the wire, and that result definitely moves the needle in my 2A Poll, as St. Thomas’ early season surge can no longer be glossed over. Their domination of Lake Highland Friday night was a message to every other top-ranked team in their Class. It took about 6 minutes for the Raiders to take over the game, but when they did . . . four goals in the last 1:08 of the first period was not a fluke. In the 2 games I’ve covered this year, they’ve shown dominance at the faceoff, poise on offense and grit on defense.
And they travel to Boca on Tuesday to face 1A #1 Saint Andrew’s for the first time in the regular season in nearly 10 years.
A constant regular season rivalry until then, they have not played since the infamous playoff game in 2012 (an FHSAA regional final) but now the regular season game is back, and just in time for local lacrosse fans to get out and watch.
What makes this upcoming game so interesting is that after watching both, it will be a clash of styles, and the team that plays their style best should win. A story to watch is how does SA handle STA’s dominating Jared Chenoy at the faceoffs? Both teams have plenty of poles that like it physical, so neither team should get too many easy looks. STA’s athletecism has combined with a much better feel for ball possession. SA’s offense has always been more of a Maryland high school style and can they find inside looks?
If your school isn’t playing Tuesday you definitely need to get over to the SA campus and catch that one. As you’ll see furthur on here, it’s also a rare matchup for any two schools that are ranked where they are.
More Bonus Coverage! https://t.co/lvHpASTWe9— FloridaLacrosseNews (@FloridaLX) March 12, 2021
I am going to try to make this a regular feature til the end of the season, and will target Tuesday’s Morning Coffee broadcasts for revealing the Poll each week. It will be based on the week ending Sunday, like the Boys, so don’t fret if a game on Monday changes anything, it will just be caught up with the next week. I’m trying to do this so the Girls have their own planned segment for this each week.
Last week, this was the Poll of the combined classes (as I get more familiar with the Girls I’ll go with the two classes but that isn’t likely until the Final Poll this year.
Here’s last week’s:
There will be a few changes on Tuesday!
Here’s a little bonus interview with LHP HC Chris Robinson, as we discuss what he sees as the difference between the Girls game in Maryland and here . . .
LHP Head Coach Chris Robinson after the 12-7 Win over STA https://t.co/MV1awsJZxS— FloridaLacrosseNews (@FloridaLX) March 13, 2021
Three years ago, while writing a midseason Poll article, I called out some schools with great records that hadn’t stepped up their schedules, making them unrankable to me that season. One of those schools was Viera, and apparently the parents caught wind of it up there and asked their coaching staff to see what could be done. Sometimes that’s not as easy as it seems, as many of the top programs play out of state teams and each other every year, making finding an open date difficult at times for the striving program.
But St. Thomas stepped up and agreed to home and home in 2019 and 2020 and Viera has benefitted. The first year they were handled easily but showed some promise in a game I attended. The next year STA went up I-95, still won the game comfortably, but it was a closer score.
And lo and behold, on Friday night, I saw this:
Viera 10 – Bishop Moore 8
If someone had texted me that even last year I wouldn’t have accepted it until I talked to the coaches to verify, but it did happen and this is why you take the long view if you truly want to grow your program, or even get your freshmen and sophomores ready for the future, as they see what it takes to become a winning team. Frankly, I’m not even sure if this is truly an upset THIS YEAR, but it certainly seems worthy of telling this story.
Viera, I’m damn proud of you today.
And Mitchell, if you are listening, if you think that MaxPreps #4 ranking Friday is legit in 2A, it’s not that hard to pick up the phone and give a call to Berkeley Prep, Tampa Jesuit, Plant, Newsome, etc., . . . it worked for Viera . . . give them a call if you need inspiration. I’m sure one of them will be glad to play you.
Ah yes, time for another in Lee’s Nostalgia Tour of 1970’s music!
One of my favorite R&B songs from the 70’s, as performed by The Spinners on Soul Train – hosted by the great Don Cornelius! Games People Play! (the song starts about 2:40 into the video)
The 1970’s is clearly the best decade for music!
As we get furthur into the season, we also get closer to finally seeing how the separation of classes will generate a tournament for the state.
We will definitely see new schools in the Final Fours.
Unfortunately, one person won’t see how this will play out in Orlando.
My niece was scheduled to be married last year on Memorial Day Saturday in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and I was thrilled that not only could I see her wedding but I was also just down the road from attending my first NCAA Final Four at the ‘Linc’ in Philadelphia! Add on to that the next weekend, when I was scheduled to attend my 40th Reunion at Hobart!
What a week that was going to be . . . until the Chinese Flu hit (if I’m banned from Twitter for that, tough s**t, I’ll take the suspension, it’s THEIR FAULT, PERIOD).
So, I open an email and what do I find but the invitation for the make-up ceremony and reception . . . on May 8th . . .
OYYYYYYYY . . .
I’ve been covering the Final Four since 2013 (a few of you know that my first foray into covering a Boys semifinal was . . . shall I say . . . not well received by one group of parents . . . thankfully they seem to like me a lot better now) but this time it will have to be while watching the replays on the NFHS Network.
Well, when you have a small family (there’s about 30 Roggenburgs in America at last check) you can’t miss something like that!
Maybe if it was her second marriage . . .
As I lead into this week’s Polls I want to explain my thinking for the change in Class 2A.
It’s normally been a truism that the #1 team in a poll does not move out of that ranking until they lose. Ponte Vedra has been racked with injuries yet still has held on to win close games against Plant, LHP and Saint John Paul. That last one was particularly worthy because it was a weekday game after a 5-hour drive to play a ranked 1A team.
But I can’t ignore the way that STA has now won a road game at then #2 Jupiter and clearly won the comparable score versus LHP. This is also a team that found cancelled games all around them to start the season and decided at the last minute to travel to Naples (2 hours) just to start their season, so they have not had the same number of games to smooth things out.
What I’m saying is pretty simple.
STA deserves a co-#1 ranking this week and the two of them will share it until we see how their seasons play out and either someone loses or someone shows more.
When I look at 2A this year I see a better record against 1A than I’ve seen in the past, when it took many years until a public school (Jupiter, then Ponte Vedra) won the FHSAA title. But this year the script has flipped some and 2A is full of possibilities to win among top programs, while I look at 1A with more questions than answers right now.
Which is music to this writer’s ears . . .
Drum roll please . . .
1. Saint Andrew’s
3. Cardinal Mooney
4. Oak Hall
5. Jesuit of Tampa
6. St. Edward’s
7. Pine Crest
9. Saint John Paul II
10. Belen Jesuit
13. Lake Highland Prep
14. Berkeley Prep
15. (t) Gulf Breeze & Episcopal of Jacksonville
1. (t) Ponte Vedra & St. Thomas Aquinas
5. Lake Mary
6. Winter Park
12. Gulf Coast
#TAFTAG – Take A Friend To A Game!