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It’s BACK! The 2019 FLN Preseason Top 25!! In Living Color!

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  But something is missing. The ease of finding data was buried the night this happened . . . Rest In Peace LP . . . And here’s a prayer that MaxPreps can come close . . .   The 2019 Florida High School Lacrosse season has already begun as I write this, so put on your pretend hats and figure this was put up Sunday instead. Last season was one for the books. Public Champion Many new entries into the Polls all year New stars to cover . . . and the parade of big time coaches continues to make their way down to the state. Parents and kids, here’s a primer on some history . .  .   But first we need a little video to get us revved up     Here’s something I enjoyed in January. I was out in Weston on a Saturday for the Masters Event, the national championship for the ‘mature’ player, played under the name The Florida Lacrosse Classic. Every year I try to get out for the day to say hello to some of my Hobart classmates (give or take a few years) and they play under the moniker Elder Statesmen, or Eldest as they continue up the ladder. Interestingly enough I found the new head coach of Montverde Academy playing with the boys and said hi. The kids working the scoreboard for that game were obviously oblivious to WHO they were watching on the field so I decided to act like a) the the grizzled veteran or b) the who the heck is this?, depending on if the listener was one of the kids or not.  It’s not too hard to figure the kids thought I was b). So I had a little fun and started to put some asides into their ears as they watched the game. Little stuff. “That goalie set the all-time record for NCAA tournament games for saves (30) in a game I sat in the stands for.  And that the record still stands today, 42 years later.  Oh, and that goalie was the head coach of Team Israel and is in the NY Lacrosse Hall of Fame.” “The Montverde head coach on the team played for Team USA twice and led the nation in goals scored in 1979.  Inducted into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.” “That group of players here have garnered about 20 NCAA titles among them . . . and God knows how many All Americans.” “That defenseman who is considered among the 3 best to ever play the position.” And in a golf cart, the high school coaching legend who taught a threesome of brothers named Powell. It would be pretty hard to match that collection of talent, on one field in Weston, Florida, on a day in January. If only today’s kids had the same appreciation for history as previous ones did.  But everyone on that team was at least 60 years old and I guess that makes it kind of moot these days.   Well, just to make it a smooth transition how about a pump up video with some more actions and less talk?   Okay, first, the normal housekeeping.  Although some of this actually did not go into law . . . thankfully  
Senior Writer Lee Roggenburg is out with his second annual preseason Top 25 (since it was a Top 10 the first year and Top 20 the next 4) for Florida High School teams. In keeping with the fine new legal tradition of modern society it should be noted the opinions expressed are solely of the author and not the senior management, board of directors, general ledger staff, and all other associated FLN owners and employees. So all digs, barbs, outright annoyances and curt, snarky remarks need to be directed at Lee personally, not the site. Lee’s direct cell phone number is not listed specifically for this purpose but he can be reached at We only ask that physical threats and comments on his manhood directed at Lee be limited to 2 per day as that is all his public defender can handle. Lee, as always, is a big believer in pacifism when it personally impacts him. And most importantly, past performance is no guarantee of future results . . . And to include our new rules (which are still considered new rules since they are not officially in place yet) . . . I have come up with a way to comply with the BICE . . . Best Interest Contract Exemption . . . for our readers!  Those who are heavy readers need to sign up for our Fee-Based reading plan, which will charge you a fixed rate based on last year’s number of words read.  Those of you who only check in a few times each week . . . well, first of all, SHAME ON YOU . . . and you will be able to sign up for our Commission-based reading plan, where we will charge you $0.01 for every line you read.  Thanks to Wikileaks we are able to use the newest available software to count eyeballs through our new Skype feature to come up with a billed amount. Of course none of this is true but stay tuned to see if the regulators get their way . . .
  Well, no one signed up for the fee-based approach so I still will be running this on a shoe string. But if anyone feels like making a contribution of time feel free to let me know! Because that makes it easier to #GrowTheGame!   Before we start in with the review of last year’s predictions I’d like to note that this is the 10th anniversary of what I believe is the best Florida team I ever saw, the 2009 Saint Andrew’s Scots.  I get some pushback on this from those who prefer the 2007 or 2008 versions but this is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.  
2/11 Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 24 – 3
2/13 Nease (Ponte Vedra, FL) Location: Nease High School (W) 20 – 3
2/14 Bolles (Jacksonville, FL) Location: Bolles High School (W) 18 – 0
2/17 St. John Paul II Academy (Boca Raton, FL) Location: St. John Paul II Academy (W) 21 – 7
2/20 Ransom Everglades (Miami, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 23 – 4
2/21 Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 26 – 3
2/27 Vero Beach (Vero Beach, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 23 – 2
2/28 Oviedo (Oviedo, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 27 – 5
3/2 American Heritage (Delray Beach, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 25 – 1
3/7 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 23 – 3
3/10 St. John Paul II Academy (Boca Raton, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 23 – 3
3/13 Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 16 – 6
3/20 Kinkaid (Houston, TX) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 17 – 4
3/21 Portledge (Locust Valley, NY) Game Details: Disney Wide World of Sports (W) 20 – 3
3/25 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia, PA) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 16 – 4
3/27 Archbishop Spalding (Severn, MD) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (W) 18 – 13
4/3 Milton (Milton, GA) Game Details: Coco Beach Expo (W) 18 – 3
4/4 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, FL) Location: Lake Highland Prep (W) 12 – 9
4/7 American Heritage (Delray Beach, FL) Location: Saint Andrew’s High School (FFW) 1 – 0
4/9 St. John Paul II Academy (Boca Raton, FL) Game Details: District 10 Finals (W) 25 – 2
4/14 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Game Details: Regional Play-in Game (W) 25 – 1
4/17 Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL) Game Details: Regional Final (W) 17 – 8
4/24 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, FL) Game Details: State Semifinals (W) 15 – 2
4/25 Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs, FL) Game Details: State Finals (W) 19 – 5
Don’t be fooled by that Archbishop Spaulding score, it was 14-3 in the 3rd when the team backed off.  The reason Boys’ Latin was not on the schedule is they decided to not try to avenge the previous year’s loss to the Scots.  So Spaulding came down to represent the MIAA that year. 473 goals scored in 23 played games and 94 given up. Here’s the link to the SA lineup and stats that game:  LINK There’s about 7 Division One players on that roster and many played a LOT in college. And that was not a bad Lake Brantley team either . . . Jesse Bernhardt captained that one.  The Final Four was LHP, Nease, LB and SA.  SA outscored LB and LHP by 30-4.  And beat Nease 20-3 at Nease early in the year.  50-7 in the 3 games. We’ll never see anything like this again in this state . . . take it to the bank.   Okay, let’s take a look back at my predictions from last year . . . with pride for once  
I suspect Ponte Vedra will rebound this year.  Two big transfers and Lake Mary lost a lot.  Ponte Vedra did lose talent too, but has more in the pipeline this year than the Rams.  No one else right now looks ready to take this spot, although I see Oak Hall, Bolles and Nease really starting to gain.  Of those two Oak Hall gets a little better shot this year due to their senior class and their desire to avenge the district final upset. So pencil Ponte Vedra in for this slot. In the Central it gets really interesting.  LHP really dodged the proverbial bullets last year and this is the year where the hunters are finally going to get their shot.  I saw Bishop Moore’s great road win over Benjamin and the last mountain top to scale is getting past LHP, and I think this is the year they can do so.  The Tampa area has also taken major steps but Berkeley Prep had a bad outing against LHP and I have to see something more to feel they can challenge the LHP/Bishop Moore level.  Hagerty had a great year and wants to establish consistency but the schedule makes it harder to see them going through. I think this is Bishop Moore’s year and will set them up for the semi matchup with PV.  The two teams do meet in the regular season and sometimes a team will play possum in this situation.  March 17th if you are in the Orlando area. In the Southeast/Treasure Coast it will likely be about 4 schools.  The Jupiter/Benjamin survivor, St. Edward’s and Barron Collier.  We’ll be watching Cardinal Mooney and Riverside-Sarasota too to see if they continue to improve but one of them will need to prove they can beat BC, which Riverside came close to last year.  Hard to see Jupiter this year not gaining revenge against their district rival.  They are loaded, played a lot of underclassmen last year, and Benjamin lost a lot.  St. Edward’s is the sleeper pick from this region as Coach Doug Bailey has quietly gone about his business and built a consistent program lately. So let’s go with Jupiter to get to Boca, ironically after hosting the Final Four the last two years. In the Southeast we get our usual ‘World Cup Group of Death’ level of competition.  It’s too soon for a school like American-Heritage Plantation to be able to take their district given that the initials STA also reside there but Coach Chad Moore is building a really good program there.  Saint Andrew’s will face a stiff test in Saint John Paul this year.  Oxbridge pretty much is on autopilot in district this year.  Gulliver and Belen should meet again in the Round of 16.  And Stoneman will really have to dig deep down.  Pine Crest and Cardinal Gibbons are already tough competition this year and how the Eagles react is going to be a season-long story to follow. STA returns a lot of talent, but is a little light up front.  So many top graduates the last two years will test them on offense more than anywhere else.  If there is a sleeper issue for the playoffs it might be if STA gets held down on that end. This is such a c*** shoot to predict.  STA is still the favorite going in but Oxbridge and SA might be closer this year. I’ll still go with the defending champs but boy I am not comfortable about it. So we get down to . . . Ponte Vedra vs Bishop Moore and Jupiter vs STA Would it surprise anyone if both those games went to OT? Last year I predicted a Ponte Vedra-Jupiter final and that didn’t come close to happening. The strange thing is that I’m inclined to predict it again. And potentially look foolish AGAIN. What made STA so tough the last two years was the mental strength their upperclassmen were able to convey and lead to their team mates.  It will again take a lot of it to three-peat.  I believe it is now FORTY straight wins over Florida teams so it will be interesting to see what happens if a Florida school takes an early season win.  STA is playing some big time non-Florida competition, as are many other Florida schools this season and it could take a toll over the season.  Jupiter is playing their normal Florida gauntlet and they meet STA on March 29th in the regular season too. So we could easily have regular season re-matches in the Final Four and that could also factor into who wins the whole thing. So, let’s look foolish a little again and pick against STA in the semifinals. I’ll take Ponte Vedra over Bishop Moore because PV has played more big games the last few years and has that experience. Due to Jupiter’s district losses the last two years their roster does not have much FHSAA experience but since they play STA each year there will be no deer in a headlight feel to that game for them. I’ll go with them finally reaching their first FHSAA championship. And guess what!  Jupiter and Ponte Vedra are ALSO scheduled to play in the regular season this year! Frankly, and this is a cop out . . . picking the winner on this one is pretty much impossible at this point.  One mistake I made on the Inside Lacrosse podcast last season was to stick to my guns even though there was enough info out there to make an adjustment in my predictions and I will learn from that this year. I’m going to go with Ponte Vedra to win it all TO START, but I’ll certainly be revisiting that thought as the season goes on . . . Either way it’s going to be a great playoff.
  That was not bad at all.  SA had to score with 7 seconds left to send the STA Round 2 game to OT and won it there or I would have had the Final Four participants.  Bishop Moore did take down Ponte Vedra and Jupiter was able to defeat the Hornets for the title but I’ll give myself a better grade this year.       A HECK of a weekend of lacrosse!   Let’s go back to last year’s article for something that is very close to my heart: Attendance at High School Games Last season I made an effort to encourage attendance at high school games and I’d like to put that into overdrive this year. So here we need to take the bull by the horns and make it happen ourselves, as a lacrosse community.  We all know how attractive this game is to watch when well played and the next step is to grab that young kid who DOES NOT PLAY LACROSSE and encourage them to go to the high school games. A few years ago it was common to see young kids with sticks and balls playing around during the halftime.  I’m seeing that less and less.  Those kids have grown up and have not been replaced at the games. I want everyone who is a fan to make a pledge today . . . Attend three games with one of your child’s friends who does not play.  Take them to the game.  Talk to them about what you like about the sport. Make them a fan. High Schools, I mentioned in the 2nd Season Update let the young kids in for free. Please. I want to see the crowds and I want to see them ALL OVER. SELL the game.  Constantly.  To Friends and Neighbors. It will have a lasting effect over time. But you have to start NOW.   As the season progressed I started using a few hash tags to push the issue and I want to take that further this year. #TAFTAG – Take A Friend To A Game #LacrossePutMyButtInThisSeat Keep it up. Because this is about . . . #GrowTheGame   Here’s a quick look at last year’s Final Top 25:

The Final FLN Media Top 25 Poll for 2018

#1 – Jupiter – earned it the right way, on the field
#2(t) – Bishop Moore – made it to the championship game
#2(t) – Oxbridge – beat ALL the teams in Florida and it took a Herculean goalie effort to take them down
#4 – Saint Andrew’s – the Scots are back and a late injury in the quarters robbed them of a shot at the title game
#5 – Ponte Vedra – a great example of a great schedule giving you credibility
#6 – Cardinal Mooney – one small step for man, one giant leap for Cardinal Mooney and the most dedicated fan in the sport down here . . . now kick it into the next gear
#7 – St. Thomas Aquinas – never quite got over the hump against the top teams above them, but what a terrific run
#8 – Tampa Jesuit – terrific season, needs to do the same as Cardinal Mooney, prove it’s not one year
#9 – Benjamin – one Top 10 win and a solid season but couldn’t win enough of the big games to be higher
#10 – Oak Hall – their best game might well have been the PV loss in the brackets.  Can they overcome the senior losses next year?
#11 – HB Plant – the only issue is losing the District final to Tampa Jesuit after winning the regular season matchup!
#12 – Winter Park – marvelous season except for the Sweet 16 game
#13 – St. Augustine – the late season was terrific and the upset of Lake Mary gets them here
#14 – Lake Mary – no Final Four run this year but the rebuild was pretty solid
#15 – Nease – another example of playing the tough games getting you the respect
#16 – Lake Highland Prep – never got it going all year and probably am over-ranking them but they were state finalists last year
#17 – Sickles – 17-3 with two one-goal losses and a nice effort against TJ on the first round
#18 – Belen Jesuit – made it to the Final 8 and also gets points for playing a tougher schedule.  They are the Cardinal Mooney of Miami, trending up.
#19 – Newsome – solid long term program that hasn’t yet made the major jump to the top
#20 – Stoneman Douglas – won the District in the face of adversity no one else can fathom
#21 – American Heritage-Plantation – two years from now look out.  Ryan Marek was possibly the best kept secret in South Florida
#22 – Gulf Breeze – big breakout year for a team in a non-hotbed area of the state, gave Oak Hall a tough tussle.  Noah Hass might have been the best kept secret in North Florida.
#23 – Canterbury – really on the right track, gave Cardinal Mooney a solid run in the 1st round
#24 – Riverview-Sarasota – nice follow up season to last year
#25 – West Orange – not even sure they beat some of the teams in the Also Considered category given that schedule . . . a shame Mikey Berkman was wasted like that
Also Considered (alphabetically listed):
American Heritage-Boca, Creekside, First Academy, Fleming Island, Gulf Coast, Melbourne Central Catholic, Merritt Island, Pine Crest, St. Edward’s, St. John Paul II
  I could easily just start the season off with that Final 25 as the Preseason Top 25 this year but that’s a little lazy. So I’ll utilize some second derivative thinking (that’s about the sum total of what I remember from Calculus) for this.   Top Players Those who listened to my Podcast on know that trying to come up with the 10-12 players to watch this season is a futile exercise. This is a BUMPER CROP of top talent this season, all over the state.  Top college commits are wide and deep this season. I hope everyone can grant me this one this year. All you have to do is read the District Previews, at least those submitted, to see the names.  And if I tried to put up pictures this article would take forever to load . . . But there is one player down here I did not mention on the Podcast and long time readers know I love to highlight a player I feel that does not get the bigger publicity because they just play the game the right way and are well known among their peers and opposing coaches. This year I am on the Jack Kilian bandwagon . . . the Oxbridge two-way middie.  He’s a Providence commit.     He is truly a throwback player.  Just does all the little things right, fundamentally sound and super smart in how he goes about playing the game. If you see an Oxbridge game this season (he wears #3) try to take your eyes off the ball sometimes and watch how he plays.  And also note how well he plays under control when he does have the ball.  He’s not the biggest name even on his team, but he might well be the best all around player in South Florida.  You’ll be doing yourself a Mitzvah to pay attention. And if you are a young kid you’ll get a great lesson in what to do.   Okay, as always, we need some sort of introduction to the FLN Preseason Top 25 and let’s try something more recent, which in my case is the 1980’s and I promise to try to find something in that decade, but I’ll use a little reverse psychology on this one and instead go with one of the songs I hope I NEVER hear again after I use it here, but because I love taking cruises as a vacation I doubt that will happen, since it is played 39 times a day on every cruise ship not named Queen Mary . . .     Okay, Here We Go!  

The FLN Preseason Top 25 for 2019!

1) Jupiter – to be the man you have to beat the man 2) Ponte Vedra – they are LOADED, this could be the year 3) Bishop Moore – last year’s runner up starts high, how much will they miss Hudson Bohn in the big games? 4) Oxbridge – not quite as deep as some others but they NEVER BEAT THEMSELVES 5t) Cardinal Mooney – last year’s breakout program, the ‘5t’ gets settled in March when they show up in Boca Raton 5t) Saint Andrew’s – another program that is a little thin but will not beat themselves 7) Jesuit of Tampa – hard to get a feel right now but a Final 8 run last season.  Toughest obstacle to a Final Four return is that Plant is in the same district 8) Benjamin – have a feeling that this team is ready to start to climb back into contention but there’s always that Military Trail rival 9) St. Thomas Aquinas – depth might be an issue with graduations 10) Lake Highland Prep – kind of like Benjamin in that last season seemed a fluke, Bohn will definitely make a difference 11) Plant – very solid season, will they follow up? 12) Oak Hall – lost a LOT to graduation, now let’s see if it’s rebuild or reload 13) Lake Mary – always a combination of some top seniors and young pups and the pups tend to determine how it goes 14) Winter Park – this is where it starts to get iffy in choosing 15) American Heritage-Plantation – every year they have gotten better and another step up is possibly in the cards 16) Canterbury School – just like AH-Plantation and the next step is likely here too 17) Nease – let’s see how they rebound after a tough schedule last year 18) Sickles – great last season, can they go back to back? 19) Stoneman Douglas – it’s a year later and I suspect they’ll be playing extra hard 20) Newsome – probably year to year the toughest team to rank for me 21) Belen Jesuit – very young but the youngsters got a LOT of experience last year 22) Creekside – injury-racked last year but a consistent program 23) The First Academy – very quietly had an excellent season last year 24) St. Augustine – can they carry through last year’s great late season? 25) Lake Brantley – another school that quietly had an excellent season last year   Also Considered: Gulf Breeze – great year, will need to see how they handle being the hunted Maclay – a long time strong program seems to have their long term answer at Coach after floundering around for a few years Fleming Island – needs to get a big win to move up Montverde Academy – let’s see how fast Brooks Sweet makes an impact Steinbrenner – fast start, slow finish needs to be changed Riverview-Sarasota – can easily move up with a fast start Bishop Verot – let’s see how fast Coach Ventiquattro makes an impact Gulf Coast – another tough team for me to rank because I haven’t seen them for awhile Merritt Island – Nice 2018, can they continue to improve? Viera – playing STA early, should be able to judge then Melbourne Central Catholic – the program just keeps producing winning seasons St. Edwards – firmly established now as the top team in Martin County Kings Academy – taking on an enormous leap in schedule, for the right reason American Heritage-Delray – seems the best possibility to finish 2nd in their tough district Pine Crest – will need to see them in action first Western – Coach Shanahan building them up and the schedule gets real this season Gulliver Prep – needs to win early and get some big wins  

As for the FHSAA playoffs, I’ll make this quick:

We might well see a complete rematch from last year in the Final 8, but I think that Oxbridge will find their way out of the Southeast this year, with the first round game against SA being paramount. In the Treasure Coast/Gulf Coast I think the home field advantage in the regional final will be HUGE.  Cardinal Mooney should find their way back with Canterbury being the main impediment.  The Jupiter/Benjamin winner will be on the other side and the home team might very well prevail. In the North I don’t see anyone blocking Ponte Vedra this year In the Tampa/Orlando area it will be interesting to see the Bishop Moore/LHP dynamic play out and if Jesuit gets by Plant.  I do think Bishop Moore is still the favorite in that bracket right now So, we are setting up another Bishop Moore/Ponte Vedra semifinal and I think that the result gets reversed this time The other side of the bracket is awesome on paper.  Just like the home field helps CM or Jupiter/Benjamin so will an Oxbridge/Cardinal Mooney Final Four, if that happens, would help Oxbridge since they play on that field at times. Just like last year the permutations are endless and that’s a great thing for lacrosse fans. Since I am ‘paid’ (well, not really) to make predictions let’s go with Ponte Vedra vs Bishop Moore and Oxbridge vs the home team of Cardinal Mooney/Jupiter/Benjamin and a Ponte Vedra vs Oxbridge championship game with PV finally taking home the trophy . . . And I wish I could master Snap Chat so this disappears LONG before May 11th.  
Remember: #TAFTAG #LacrossePutMyButtInThisSeat #GrowTheGame