Season Preview: Class 2A – District 3! Ponte Vedra Favored to Defend State Title in New Class 2A!

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Note:  Waiting for a couple of District 2 questionnaires so I am skipping ahead and will fill in as questionnaires are received.

Class 2A – Region R1 – District D3
School City
Bartram Trail St. Johns
Creekside St. Johns
Flagler Palm Coast Palm Coast
Nease Ponte Vedra
Ponte Vedra Ponte Vedra

In past years this district provided a number of good teams.  Even if that keeps up there’s a true powerhouse here, making the likelihood of a change at the top unlikely this year.  Defending state champion Ponte Vedra is just as good as last year, and maybe even better on paper.

How good?  Gilman at Gilman, Boys’ Latin at Boys’ Latin and McDonogh on a neutral site good.  MIAA teams don’t schedule easy games against out of state competition.  PV was considered for a Top 25 Inside Lacrosse national ranking in the final poll and frankly should have been granted it.  The 4th quarter at Oxbridge and the 2nd half against STA in the state finals were as dominant as anything this state has seen.

Creekside had a great season last year, finishing at #9 in my Final Poll.  Can they repeat that season?

Nease fell off last year and Bartram and Flagler are not likely to upset the applecart.  Nease welcomes Cam Mann to the staff to assist Max Gurowski and that will certainly help. Flagler replaces Fleming Island and that is not an easy task for their program to face.

Ponte Vedra

Head Coach Tom West

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We expect to compete as a program playing the most competitive schedule we’ve ever put together.

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

Dylan Hess 2020 MID Georgetown

Carter Parlette 2020 MID Notre Dame

Joe Taroboletti 2021 MID Denver

Cam Welch 2020 Attack Mercer

Fred Amato 2020 Attack Lehigh

Aidan Dunigan 2020 MID LIU Post

Max Silva 2020 DEF Navy

Tommy Zitiello 2020 LSM ARMY

Mike Olkeweicz 2021 DMID

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

2021 Mids Campbell Parker. 2021 FOGO Andrew Ewalt. Alex Destella 2021 Attack, Jack Reed 2022 MID, Avi Israel 2022 FOGO, Dylan Dean 2022 MID, Brendan Nace 2022 Attack and Will Corbett MID 2022.  Freshman Maddux Johnson will contribute.

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

Walton, GA (State Champs)

Gilman, MD

Boys Latin, MD

McDonough, MD (@ Oxbridge)

Bartram Trail

Head Coach Max Van Arsdale

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We return a lot of experience on the defensive end, but graduated two of our top scorers from 2019. We have a lot of question marks on the offensive end of the field, but feel really good about some of the young guys stepping into those roles. We expect to be a gritty team that competes hard this year.

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

We return almost all of our defense this year, most notably, Brody Johnson (Ferrum College) in the goal and Ralph Hamilton at LSM. We are looking for Ian Parr and Brody Davis to step up on the offensive end for us.

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

We expect a group of freshman to really compete for time and are also looking for Josh Greenwell to step into a new role as a defensive and transition middie.

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

We always look forward to laying any of our district games. Those games are always hard fought and mean a little more.

Nease

Head Coach Max Gurowski

What are your expectations this season for the team?

For our student-athletes to build championship habits to develop a winning standard and a culture of excellence. We only have 14 returning lettermen and look forward to this group creating their own identity.

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

Sr. Matt Pounder (LSM) (NLI to Jacksonville University) – 20 shots, 7 goals, 2 assists, 51 groundballs, 11 caused turnovers

Jr. Brady Deschenes (D) – 2 shots, 15 groundballs, 4 caused turnovers

Jr. Christian House (DOG) – 4 shots, 1 goal, 1 assist, 56 groundballs, 2 caused turnovers, 47% FO’s

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

Sr. Jordan “Hockey” Foltz (D) – 3 groundballs

Jr. Bryce Pegram (DOG) – 8 shots, 1 goal, 6 groundballs

Jr. Dalton McGuire (DOG) – 7 shots, 4 goals, 6 groundballs

Jr. Evan Baker (DOG) – 17 shots, 5 goals, 5 groundballs

Jr. Hunter Leonard (A) – 15 shots, 6 goals, 2 assists, 7 groundballs

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

We are really looking forward to working hard every day in practice and competing together as one connected team. Go Nease!

Flagler Palm Coast

Head Coach Thomas Morgello

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We are looking to rebound after a really tough 2019 campaign.  The team has put that in the past and are driven and focused for a great 2020 season.  The players have worked really hard in the off season, and are now grinding to get ready for FHSAA play.  Flagler Palm Coast has been placed in an extremely tough district this year, but that will not deter us from putting everything we have on the field.  We have the underdog mentality this year, and are excited to make a name for ourselves this year.

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

The team is extremely young but will be led by Senior Dalton Rice/LSM (SCAD Commit), Senior Brandon Badger/LSM, Senior Kyle Bellinger/M, Junior Spencer Cover/A, and Junior Nick Snedeker/D.  We are looking for these and all of our upperclassmen who I have not mentioned to step up a lead the team which is full of Sophomores and Freshman.

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

Answer:  Our Freshman and Sophomore class is full of workhorses who will have to carry a heavy load this season.  Returning Sophomores that will be a vital part of this program are Logan Johnson/M, and Jesse Sustaita/A.  Logan Johnson was an LSM last year but will be putting the shorty in his hands to be a dynamic two way midfielder.  Jesse was a midfielder last year, but has transitioned to the attack position and we expect big things from him this year.

The freshman class is full of talent, and it will all begin in between the pipes with Steven Birdsong/G who will be expected to be the stronghold for the defense.  Assisting him in that task will be Kevin Wolfe/D, who will need to use his years of experience to be a vital part of the defense. Lastly Dylan Toriello/M will be anchoring the first line midfield as another dangerous two way middie.

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

Answer:  The most obvious answer to this question would be our crosstown rivals Matanzas, but in reality we are excited for our district play.  We know we are the underdogs going into it. But are looking to get that district win and send us to the playoffs this year which would be a huge accomplishment for this squad.

Creekside

Head Coach Jason Alford

What are your expectations this season for the team?

Our expectations as a team will be to play and practice with passion every day. If we focus on our daily commitment and learn to play together we will be a really successful team this season.

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

Will Coyle – Defense (Class of 2020) : This will be Will’s third year on Varsity. Will was named 1st Team All County last year & 2nd Team All County as a sophomore by the St. Augustine Record. He had 3 assists with 61 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers last season. Will has been named a Team Captain again this season and is one of our vocal leaders on defense. He will help anchor our close defense and routinely covers the other teams top attackman. His leadership for our defense will be key to having a successful season. Will has made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Emmett Schultz – Midfield (Class of 2020) : This is Emmett’s 4th year on Varsity. He is one of our top Midfielders and was Awarded our Team Knight Award last season which is our Overall Team MVP. He was recognized as 1st Team All County last season & 2nd Team All County as a sophomore by the St. Augustine Record. Emmett was also named a US Lacrosse Academic All – American as a junior.  He is a true 2 way midfielder and does everything for us on the field. Emmett makes all the hustle plays offensively and defensively and leads our team by his play and also vocally. As a junior he finished with 8 goals, 8 assists, and 75 ground balls with 14 caused turnovers. Emmett has been named Team Captain again as a Senior this season and will help lead our team. Emmett has made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Alex Gerdak – Attack (Class of 2020) : Alex’s 2nd year on Varsity was his most successful this far. He was our most balanced scorer last season finishing w 36 goals, 31 assists, and 46 ground balls. His ability to to finish and also find his teammates helps make our attack a huge threat offensively. Alex was named Team Captain as a Senior by his peers and coaches. He has also made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Buck Bennett – Attack (Class of 2021) : Buck had an outstanding sophomore year on Varsity as he led our team in goals. He finished w 51 goals, 11 assists, and 30 ground balls. Bucks ability to find open space coupled with the prescence of his size makes him a huge threat to any team we play. He has been named to the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Maui Wilhelm – Defense (Class of 2021) Lemoyne Commit : Maui has started the last 2 years on Varsity.  He was named our Team Defensive MVP as a Junior. Last season he finished with 5 goals, 5 assists, 76 ground balls, and a team high 73 caused turnovers.  His ability to scoop a ground ball and run transition to offense for us is a huge advantage for our team. Maui is also very versatile in his ability to play several positions which strengthens our ability to play defense against the other teams top players. His uncanny ability to cause turnovers is evident by anyone that watches him. Maui has been named Team Captain this season as a Junior by his peers and the coaches.  Maui has made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Zack Bender – Midfield (Class of 2022) : Zack ended up being one of our top all around midfielders last year by the end of the season. He was named the Lax 904 District 6 Semifinal Player of the Game v. Fleming Island. He finished the season w 16 goals, 21 assists, and 38 ground balls. His ability to play defense and offense for us as a midfielder is a huge advantage for our team.

Dylan Rupprecht – FOGO / Mid (Class of 2022) : Dylan had an outstanding freshman year for us on Varsity finishing w a 58% Faceoff Win Percentage and a team high 85 ground balls. His ability to help control the Faceoff X will help us tremendously this season. Dylan made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List.

Mana Wilhelm – Attack (Class of 2022) : Mana was named our Co Offensive MVP last season as a freshman. He finished w 32 goals, 41 assists, and 49 ground balls. Mana led our team in assists which makes him a dual threat in his ability to find his open teammates. He has made the Preseason North Florida Player to Watch List

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

Brock Posey – Midfield (Class of 2021) : Brock will begin his second year on Varsity. Brock has put in a lot of time in the off season in the weight room and also on shooting. He will provide us with some depth at our midfielder position.

Nate Watson – Defense (Class of 2021) : This is Nate’s 3rd year on Varsity and will see a major role this season as a starter. His size, athleticism, and ability to knock down passes will help our defense immediately.

Josh Griffin – Goalie (Class of 2022) : Josh has been named our starting goalie this season after playing last year on JV as a freshman. His confidence in between the pipes has been impressive so far this season & our team expects big games from him throughout the year.

Grant McCredie – Midfield (Class of 2022) : Grant made the Varsity team as a sophomore and has already made a huge impact within our practices. Fast and athletic w an ability to get to the goal and finish while also finding his teammates.

Senior Midfielders Nate Tomasi and Clayton Chambers will help our team immediatley along w Senior LSM JD Chrisite.

Seniors Cody Thompson (Defense), Justin Stift (Defense), Juniors Marcus Eden (Defense), Sam Green (Midfield), Tommy Robinson (Midfield), Wyatt Smith (Midfield), and Dominc Bucca (Defense) have all been working hard in practice & will look to contribute throughout the season.

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

Our Jack Wheeler Memorial Pre Season Game to honor our brother and teammate Jack Wheeler and The Wheeler Family has been our most important event of this season.

For the season we have strengthened our already tough schedule by adding Cardinal Mooney & Winter Park. As always we look forward to playing our local rivals against teams such as Ponte Vedra, Bolles, & Bartram Trail as well as our rivalries at Oak Hall, Buchholz, and Maclay.

We are taking a spring break trip across state again to play Tampa Jesuit as they will host a game and cookout after.