No one in attendance last night will forget this one for a LONG TIME. High school reunions will include remembrances of THAT NIGHT. It will supplant the 2012 playoff game, wiping those memories away. This one somehow managed to exceed last year’s fantastic ending. That one was kind of dull until the 4th quarter and ended white hot.
This one started white hot and after a little lull in the second quarter, took off like a championship final. If this was played May 11th instead of last night, it would go down as an all-time event.
Alas, it was only a regional semifinal.
How sterile can you sound? The NCAA Basketball tourney has great nicknames, the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight. Gainesville has the Region 4 Semifinal. Why do bureaucracies have to be so boring?
Both schools showed up in the stands in large numbers. Outside of the occasional ref beef, the crowds were exactly as they should have been, and did not have any issue afterwards . . . time for the AD’s to get together and get this one back on the regular season schedule. 7 years is long enough to deny lax fans this great rivalry.
For those who read the Sun-Sentinel article already, you can take from that one what you want, I’m not going there. It’s an issue that has been with the STA field forever. It is what it is.
There are so many things to discuss. The fast start, the dominance at the faceoff dot, the stirring comeback and the fourth quarter chess match. A rollercoaster of a game, physically and emotionally, and a run on Maalox after the game. You know, maybe the soccer community has a point with a game replay after a tie . . . there were about 1,000 people there last night who might have been willing to pay for a rematch tonight if the game had ended tied after regulation. There was a point in the game where STA could have pretty much decided the game in the 2nd quarter but their shooting let them down. The 1st quarter saw STA hit the net on 11 of their 14 attempts but in the second it was only 6 of 17 and that gave SA two things; being able to get some rhythm on offense as they let themselves slip into too much run and gun in the first half, and it also gave SA goalie Gunnar Schwarz a chance to regain his timing and he made 12 saves after the 1st quarter.
But in the end, it came down to a mano-a-mano matchup between STA’s top goal scorer Brock Gonzalez and SA’s premier long pole Louie Adams, who did everything last night but man the concession stand. And in the end, it was Brock being able to outmaneuver the spent defender and get to goal to finish the game. A star player making one play and another star player giving his all to stop it. And as we all know in this wonderful sport, there will always be one winner.
Going into the game it was expected that STA’s Jared Chenoy would likely set the tone on faceoffs. But I doubt even the STA faithful would expect this big a margin, and due to the high scoring nature of the game the number of faceoff wins and extra possessions mounted. The final tally was 25-4 on my calculations and only in the 3rd quarter was it competitive as Adams was summoned to change the dynamic, and he was able to change momentum during the SA goal run that saw them rally from the 8-1 start, to taking the lead at 10-9 late in the third.
But all that intensity had a cumulative effect and it came through in the fourth as SA’s defensive depth was not sufficient to give their long poles enough of a breather and STA took advantage of that when mounting their own comeback in that quarter. I could see the SA defense had lost a step in the 4th and the two go-ahead goals in the 4th were dodges that got room where there was little during the comeback.
Where STA made a mistake was in the period after taking the 2-goal lead in the 4th when their offense took some questionable shots instead of running clock. Given the fatigue factor, they might well have been able to run out much of the clock or at least get in-tight looks. And that error in judgment almost cost them mightily as it gave SA new life late, leading to the last flurry that tied the game, setting the stage for young Gonzalez’s late dagger.
Thank you to the Lacrosse Gods for granting us this one.
The game started like STA wanted to in their fondest dreams. 5 straight goals to open the contest in the first 6 minutes, and all of them within 5 yards of the cage. Gonzalez opened the scoring at 10:47 on EMO as he shot from the right wing and fought through to get his own rebound near the front right for the put back on the low far corner. 24 seconds later it was Nick Yovino curling from behind the net left and his right hand hit the short side as the slide was a little slow to react. At 9:12 it was Kyle Engel on the low right side dodging towards the net and finishing low short side. Then Gonzalez took advantage twice of isolating on the low right side and both times got under his defender to finish near the net with low shots and with 6:18 left it was 5-0.
Corey Frydman got SA on the board at 5:21 as he took off on about a three-quarters of the field dash, beating his defender down the far outside right and getting to the net for the right hand shot. Cooper Scully made it 6-1 at 3:49 as carried from top left, going right side, behind the net and finally splitting two defenders at left GLE to get all alone in front for the putaway. 39 seconds later Scully went left alley and got one past Schwarz, who managed to get a piece but couldn’t stop the momentum. SA closed to 8-2 at 1:53 as Gryphon Gurin caused a turnover in his end and took off on his own solo dash down the middle and finished low to end the quarter.
SA took advantage of an early penalty just 29 seconds into the 2nd as Anthony Molle found Matt Adams on the left wing from behind left and the step down low shot found net for 8-3. The teams went back and forth and STA’s shooting took flight on a lengthy possession but finally STA made it 9-3 at 3:51 as Yovino split 2 defenders on the left wing and when the slide came he found Gonzalez in the middle for the left hand shot low but SA’s Anthony Borodiak got that back at 2:15 on another solo dash, splitting two defenders and getting to the front for the low shot and it was 9-4 at the half, with SA looking to gain on their 2-1 quarter.
And then it got even more interesting as SA turned the tables in the 3rd.
49 seconds in it was 9-5 as M. Adams found Nick Yi low on the wing for the right hand shot to the top right, finishing off a 4 on 3 fast break. M. Adams then split dodged from behind left and got to the front for the open look and 9-6 at 9:07. At 5:38 it was SA taking advantage of a quick re-start deep in STA territory and Molle found Michael Lizzio on the left wing from left GLE and Lizzio’s step down beat STA goalie Wade Lamon low and it was 9-7.
A 2-minute non-releasable on STA allowed SA to keep up the pressure and in a minute SA scored two EMO goals and incredibly we were tied. Both goals were replicas of each other as Reid Malkin found Harrison Konsker on the top left and he converted on lengthy high bounce shots to the top left and with 3:54 to go it was a new game. Just 48 seconds later it was SA taking the lead as M. Adams curl from behind left and finished low left for the 10-9 lead. But that didn’t stand long as STA answered at 2:24 on Scully’s step down from top right off the low left Engel skip pass got between Schwarz’s legs and we went to the fourth tied at 10.
As the period went on both teams were looking to gain the advantage but SA’s offensive efficiency eluded them a little. One stat from the 4th was SA hit the net 4 of 9 attempts while STA went 9 for 10 and this is when Schwarz kept SA in the game. But at 7:55 STA broke through as Grant Laman dodged from top right to the middle and shot left. Schwarz got a piece but the shot got through and it was 11-10. A little over a minute later it was 12-10 as Laman went right alley from right GLE and hit the net at 6:42 as SA started to show the fatigue.
As mentioned above the STA offense made some poor shot choices and SA was given new life, converting at 2:42, as Gurin found a cutting Max Schwarz from top right as he came out from right behind and Schwarz finished all alone in front, with a penalty added on. STA killed the penalty but SA kept possession and with 1:29 left it was Adams finding Molle cutting to the front from left GLE and we were all tied up again at 12.
Until Brock finished with his 5th of the game with 12 seconds left to send the Raider faithful home happy . . .
I suspect there were a few players who slept in today.
Another chapter in the encyclopedia named Great Florida Lacrosse Games . . .
STA travels to Gulliver Prep on Friday for the 4:00pm start (no lights for those wondering). The race to Boca is starting to look like it is coming into focus.
Faceoffs: STA 25-4
Shots: STA 50–36
Shots on Goal: STA 28–20
Turnovers: STA 15-10
Penalties: STA 6-4
Brock Gonzalez 5G
Cooper Scully 3G
Nick Yovino 2G/1A
Grant Laman 2G
Kyle Engel 1G/1A
Wade Lamon with 8 saves
Matt Adams 3G/2A
Harrison Konsker 2G
Anthony Molle 1G/2A
Gryphon Gurin 1G/1A
Michael Lizzio, Corey Frydman, Anthony Borodiak, Nick Yi and Max Schwarz with 1G each
Reid Malkin 2A
Gunnar Schwarz with 15 saves
Thanks to Coach Crowley and Coach Seaman for talking to me before and after the game.