Triple Crown Sports FLN Weekly Media Poll – The Week Ending 3/24/2019

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Kumbaya . . .

A little divine guidance would be appreciated right now.

I’m experiencing the FLN version of the Sports Illustrated jinx.  For my younger readers, Sports Illustrated was basically the print version of ESPN SportsCenter in its’ day.  There was a really funny correlation about being the Cover person for the magazine and the likelihood they would have a down year after being profiled as the main feature.

It seems whoever I rank 16-25 ends up losing the next week.  When I said last week that there were 30-35 teams that could be ranked I wasn’t kidding because they keep trading wins and losses.  Maybe you should hope you are ranked 14th or higher, or fall into the Also Considered territory, it’s a LOT safer there.

I think I used The Seekers once last year but I might as well repeat them since they were the first to come up on the YouTube search.

We’re coming off spring break around the state and many of the out of state contests are now behind us, although we will see Bullis (MD) swinging through South Florida and a few teams traveling to New York.

And many of you have heard of, or seen on social media, the issue of what happened to the St. Thomas Aquinas – Loyola-Blakefield game that did not get played.  I have not been able to talk to everyone involved, and I doubt any of those on social media who immediately took a side did either . . . but that’s the way we seem to run these days.  I have some thoughts on it but until I’ve satisfied myself that I have the whole story I’m just going to say that I am withholding final judgment on FLN’s behalf.

One thing I’m very confident in saying is that it doesn’t appear to involve Russian collusion and I don’t think we need to call for an independent special prosecutor . . . more on that later in the article.

And we have so many other more positive things to highlight this week.

First Intermission – Back to the 1980’s, as promised two weeks ago . . . this is in honor of mine and Marcela’s Finnish friends, who are moving back to Finland this week to take care of their ailing parents:

Okay, it’s a NORWEGIAN group, but being Scandinavians they can’t be too picky when it comes to Popular Music and I personally am sick of listening to ABBA.

One thing about this song . . . it is the ONLY Norwegian group that EVER hit the American Top 40 charts.  And it WAS a pretty neat video when it was released.  Maybe the first to use the combination of cartoon and live acting combined into one.  And I can’t think of any Finnish musical act anyhow.  Feel free to email me or create a Tweet storm if you feel slighted.

First, here’s last week’s Top 25:

Triple Crown Sports/FLN Weekly Top 25 Poll for the Week Ending 3/17/2019

1) Oxbridge – still the best in-state

2) Ponte Vedra – great win over Episcopal and a big takedown of LHP

3) Saint Andrew’s – this is almost by default since Jupiter lost twice and they do have the win over CM

4) Cardinal Mooney – Sticks for Soldiers this weekend, hope they fill the house over there!

5) St. Thomas Aquinas – solid team that played a bad first half in their loss

6) Jupiter – Two straight losses versus the Episcopal win . . . probably too low but there’s always next week’s poll and the way this season is going . . .

7) Bishop Moore – Looks like they’ve righted the ship

8) Benjamin – Someone call the Exorcist, I can’t figure them out, maybe the occult could help do so?

9) Creekside – Right now the only team in the Northeast that is within any sort of reach of PV, only loss out of state

10) Plant – fell a little due to not playing a tough game while others that slipped by them beat one

11) American Heritage-Plantation  – Solid effort against STA, the gap is narrowing

12) Lake Highland Prep – Between them and Benjamin the drug stores will run out of Tums

13) Hagerty – the Lake Brantley loss seems like a long time ago right now

14) Lake Mary – Coach Robinson told me before the season the young pups need to blossom, it seems they are starting to.  STA comes to town Tuesday

15) Newsome – I really wish their district/area would step up more

16) Berkeley Prep – Sorry for last week’s snub!

17) Riverview-Sarasota – Slowly making their way up

18) Belen Jesuit – this weekend will be a fiesta!  But they will need a top 25 win at some point.

19) Boone – just one of the best programs in the state if your time horizon goes back a ways

20) King’s Academy – the Lake Brantley road win really signals another step up

21) St. Edward’s – I’ve been waiting for them to get a big scalp, they really handle the teams they should very well

22) First Academy – doing what they can right now

23) Oak Hall – they need a big win

24) Melbourne Central Catholic – after watching the STA-Viera game I need to see some sort of a good win to take them up and others will be able to pass them from below

25t) Out-of-Door Academy – big win over Canterbury

25t) Oviedo – cop out city . . .

25t) Winter Park – on my part

Also Considered:

Jesuit of Tampa, Lake Brantley, Western, Providence School, Canterbury School, Steinbrenner, Boca Raton, SJP II, Gulliver Prep, Gulf Coast, Pine Crest

Sticks For Soldiers

This past weekend Cardinal Mooney hosted Riverview-Sarasota, SJP II and Admiral Farragut in their 2nd Annual Sticks For Soldiers event, an event I hope remains on the schedule for every year to come and serves as a role model for other multi-team events as well as for other charitable endeavors.  FLN is thinking through what it could do on this front too, with selling branded merchandise that could be revenue-shared with our own charitable initiative.  We’ll keep you up to date when we have our thoughts put together.

Contributions are still appreciated and can be made HERE

The results were:

Friday

SJP II 11-8 over Riverview-Sarasota

Cardinal Mooney 16-8 over Admiral Farragut

Saturday

Cardinal Mooney 11-5 over SJP II

Riverview-Sarasota 12-8 over Admiral Farragut

And here’s some pics from the event:

The Jesuit Classic

Belen Jesuit came up with a brilliant idea to bring together a number of prominent Jesuit High Schools from around the country that play lacrosse and host them.  Big names like Gonzaga(DC), Dallas Jesuit, Fordham Prep, Canisius joined in with Florida schools Belen and Jesuit of Tampa to focus on continuing a tradition, as noted at the web site for it:  www.thejesuitclassic.com

This event has actually been held since 1996 and Belen was hosting for the first time.  I can break a little news here that teams have already committed for next year too!  And that don’t be surprised if even more high end programs are part of the mix, including possibly Gonzaga’s big name rival in the DC area . . .

You can check the results from the event at the web site but I can tell you that watching the Gonzaga-Dallas Jesuit game was a pleasure and those in the area who play lacrosse and missed this . . . YOUR LOSS.  Maybe next year we can make sure that no other area team schedules that weekend and the event can be even better attended!  Maybe even get the City/County more involved too!

Key Scores

Monday, March 18th

King’s Academy 13-9 over IMG

Tuesday, March 19th

Bishop Moore 17-7 over Hagerty

Cardinal Mooney 13-2 Over Out-of-Door Academy

Jesuit of Tampa 10-6 over Buchholz

Boys’ Latin 11-6 over Saint Andrew’s

St. Thomas Aquinas 10-4 over Lake Mary

Wednesday, March 20th

St. Edward’s 12-4 over SJP II

Bartow 11-10 over All Saints Academy

Lake Highland Prep 15-7 over Boone

Riverview-Sarasota 11-7 over Barron Collier

A now a word from our sponsor:

Thursday, March 21st

Pine Crest 15-5 over Columbus

American Heritage-Plantation 705 over Bolles

University School 9-8 over Cardinal Gibbons

St. Thomas Aquinas 21-7 over Western

Gulf Breeze 17-4 over Booker T Washington

Friday, March 22nd

(see the separate recaps of both Sticks for Soldiers and The Jesuit Classic)

Oxbridge 16-6 over Lake Mary

Bartram Trail 15-7 over Buchholz

Oak Hall 10-5 over Winter Park

Gulf Coast 12-6 over Barron Collier

Lake Highland Prep 9-8 in OT over Stoneman Douglas

Out-of-Door Academy 12-5 over Lakewood Ranch

Saturday, March 23rd

Pine Crest 13-12 over Bolles

Oxbridge 13-6 over St. Edward’s

West Florida 10-6 over Leon

Lakeland 14-5 over All Saint’s Academy

A note to the readers . . .

You might have noticed that over the last 18 months or so the amount of content have increased substantially.  That had given me the luxury of making a change to our high school coverage.  I’ve attended three blowout games so far this season and have decided I do not need to write those games up as regular game articles because they really do not serve a purpose to do so.  For those teams on the winning end of those games I hope you understand this approach and not be disappointed in not seeing your names in those articles with your accomplishments.

I will be making an effort to highlight players who gave outstanding performances in other ways since I don’t want to slight the player while doing this.  So keep reading!

I’m going to work on an article now that we are nearing the end of the season highlighting some programs at various stages of their development, or in a few cases, in their struggles to overcome adversity that was not expected before the season, whether for an inordinate amount of injuries or other reasons.  Some of that will also help to give those players mentioned above the ‘pub’ they deserve.

The Underdog Upset of the Week

Pretty easy to choose this one.

King’s Academy with the stunning win over IMG Academy’s Ascender team.  IMG’s National team is a powerhouse but the Ascender program is not the dominant program it used to be in this state . . . and with the IMG SAT Prep Coordinator talking to federal prosecutors they could be a little more of a good Florida neighbor and a little less hubristic going forward . . .

Intermission Two: And it’s time for . . . 

 – A little comedy

Robin Williams passed away nearly 5 years ago now and while he became very well known for his movie appearances I suspect that a lot of people have forgotten how he broke into the business.  Not many remember that his Mork TV character was first enacted on Happy Days and then the character was spun off into his own show with Pam Dawber, called Mork & Mindy.  Here’s a couple of scenes:

Pine School vs Jensen Beach on Wednesday

This one is really under the radar but important due to the back story.  Going back 4 years or so Jensen Beach was a Top 25 program for a few years under the tutelage of Head Coach Matt Sofarelli and his staff, which included current HC Brent Mahieu and informally assisted by legendary Ward Melville HC Joe Cuozzo.

Sofarelli left the school to take the Athletic Director’s position at the Pine School in the same area and he initiated a lacrosse program there.  Here we are a few years later and Wednesday’s game against Jensen Beach has enormous influence on whether Pine School can qualify for the District 23 playoffs (note: someone needs to notify MaxPreps that their district records are inaccurate).

We’ll be watching.

Bad Behavior

99+% of the time we get to report on the good side of this sport but at times this is not always the case.  It seems that 1-2 times a year I have to deal with stupidity, plain and simple.  Whether a parent steps out of line, or an AD/Women’s lax coach is arrested for something so unforgivable it boggles the mind that an adult can be so stupid, or something similar, trust me when I say the sport does not need the black eye.

There are a few stories that I am working through that can’t be fully ignored and if I can be comfortable I know the details, we’ll report on them.  I will not name a student if that comes to pass unless the name is already out in the public domain, but I do know of one major incident where the team’s season is likely ruined due to youthful indiscretions that really should serve as a learning experience for other kids.  If there is a smart way to do so without naming names, to teach kids that actions can have consequences far beyond what they think then, maybe, we can do some good.

I was blessed about 14 years ago to meet John Wooden in person.  When sportswriters, etc., come out with their #1 coach of all time, it usually does not top off with Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi, Pat Summit or others; it’s usually John Wooden that sits at #1.  Wooden would hand out a poem to people he met (I am the proud owner of one of those) called The Little Chap Who Follows Me:

Everyone involved in this sport needs to understand that the default position of those outside our world of players, parents, coaching staffs, etc., is that we are an out of control, bro culture, world of privilege.  We have the target on our backs in the media.  We need to do it better and cleaner in their eyes.  If we all keep those words in mind, maybe one year I can say it was 100% the good side of the sport.  It would be a welcome change.

Before we get to the Weekly Top 25 let’s remember one more segment:

Lee’s Useless Pop Culture Trivia!

Many of you know by now that the long awaited Mueller Report was released to the overseers Friday.

But how many of you know that Robert Mueller played lacrosse?

Here, courtesy of Reddit, is the picture of the 1962 St. Paul’s lacrosse team (The St. Paul’s in New Hampshire, not the MIAA one).  He also played in college at Princeton, albeit before the Tierney days.

Image result for robert mueller lacrosse picture

Mueller is #32 in the middle of the front row.  And who is the awfully grinning #23 in the second row, as Mueller’s teammate?

The answer is at the end of the article.

Also remember:

If you are downtown in Boca after 6:30pm, 7 days a week, or even if you are suddenly driven by the desire to hop in your car and drive 3 hours to the location, here’s Boca’s hottest new dessert place . . . really, the only place you get FRESH, MADE TO ORDER, baked goods and sweets!  Take your date, your parents, heck, even your dog . . . they even DELIVER within a couple of miles!

Let’s not forget the important hash tags . . . 

#TAFTAG

#LacrossePutMyButtInThisSeat

#GrowTheGame

#LayOffTheRefs

and now we add

#SportsmanshipRocks which also leads us to #EnjoyTheGameNotTheBlame!

The Triple Crown Lacrosse Top 25 for the Week Ending March 24th

1) Oxbridge – easy wins over Lake Mary and St. Edward’s keep them undefeated in the state

2) Ponte Vedra – can anyone in the North give them a run? Not right now.

3) Saint Andrew’s – gave Boys’ Latin the scare on Tuesday, it was 7-6 in the 4th.

4) Cardinal Mooney – great job on Sticks for Soldiers this weekend

5) St. Thomas Aquinas – Road win over Lake Mary

6) Jupiter – Spring break, hope they missed the 4th quarter of today’s Duke-Syracuse game

7) Bishop Moore – Big win over Hagerty

8) Benjamin – the next 4 teams just stayed put

9) Creekside – team 2 of 4

10) Plant – team 3 of 4

11) American Heritage-Plantation – team 4 of 4 – toughed out the win against Bolles

12) Lake Highland Prep – Barely held on at home versus Stoneman Douglas, the win did more for SD and Pine Crest than them

13) St. Edward’s – they might be the best team right now that no one talks about

14) Jesuit of Tampa – getting healthy gets them moving back up, took advantage of the Jesuit Classic.  Their Dallas Jesuit loss was more impressive than their Belen Jesuit win

15) King’s Academy – I usually discount games against IMG but this one was too good to pass up in their ranking . . . probably too high but let’s give it to them this week

16) SJP II – the road win over Riverview-Sarasota plus the closer than expected loss to SA makes them leap up.

17) Newsome – still stuck in neutral

18) Riverview-Sarasota – nice rebound after the SJP II loss

19) Berkeley Prep – spring break

20) First Academy – doing what they can right now

21) Pine Crest – Coach Harris does as much with his players as anyone

22) Oak Hall – will they get healthy

23) Stoneman Douglas – pulling it together

24) Hagerty – terrific offense, can the defense keep up their end?

25t) Oviedo – treading water

25t) Melbourne Central Catholic – see last week

Also Considered:

Lake Mary, Boone, Lake Brantley, Providence School, Steinbrenner, Boca Raton, Gulliver Prep, Gulf Coast, Out-of-Door Academy, Winter Park, Bolles, Fleming Island

Lake Mary is racked by injuries, as is Belen, hence they move out of the Top 25

And the answer to the Trivia question is:

#23 in the second row is former Secretary of State John Kerry, who also served in Vietnam, as did Mueller.