FLN’s Boys 2A Regional Final Preview

Well, here we go!

Berths in the Final Four at stake!

Let’ get it on . . .

(The leading scorers of each team were handled back on Morning Coffee before the previous round, check out the 4/27 Morning Coffee for those, or look at MaxPreps pages for each team)

Region 1

Ponte Vedra hosts Lake Mary

Right out of the chute we get a fantastic matchup of two of the Top 5 schools in the state, according to the combined FHSAA rankings of 1A and 2A. There’s history here too, as they have met many times in the brackets. The two teams did not play this year so there is no head-to-head to look at.

Both teams have similar goals for and against, while PV has the higher faceoff % and save %. PV also has the higher strength of schedule calculation, but the gap isn’t terribly wide.

PV’s losses were by one goal each to Plant and Saint Andrew’s, plus an out of state loss, while Lake Mary lost to Jupiter and an out of state loss.

Ponte Vedra looks a little bit better on paper and I think Lake Mary needs to keep this close throughout to get a shot at winning, but PV has home field and I see them pulling out a close game.

Region 2

Winter Park hosts Windermere

Unfortunately, this will be the least competitive game of the four in all likelihood. Once the district assignments came out, it was apparent that Winter Park had the most likely Final Four path of all teams on the Boys side.

In the regular season, it was WP shutting out Windermere 14-0 and there’s nothing that has happened since then to indicate the result can be flipped into a Windermere win.

Neither team’s strength of schedule was impressive, but there was a wide gap between them, also favoring WP.

Windermere’s program is clearly on the way up, but this is too much to ask for, as Winter Park moves on with a comfortable win, looking to return to the title game and possibly hoisting the trophy.

Region 3

Plant hosting Newsome

Last year, Newsome played Plant tight in the two pre-bracket games, only to get beat badly in the playoffs. This year, Plant won the regular season game comfortably, so could the pattern reverse itself?

It’s kind of hard to see that playing out. Plant’s strength of schedule, while not great, includes games against Ponte Vedra at home, and Saint Andrew’s and Jupiter on the road. An OT loss to Jupiter, a home win over PV and a competitive game at SA are resume pieces that Newsome just doesn’t have.

Both teams played Cardinal Mooney to a similar margin, but Plant won that one too, while Newsome lost in 2 OT’s.

I just can’t see Newsome winning this game, but do see a close game for at least a half, until Plant pulls away to get back to the Final Four for the second year in a rwo.

Region 4

St. Thomas Aquinas hosts Jupiter

Last year they potentially played the state championship game in the regional final, as Jupiter’s one-goal win allowed them to go on and win it all. I don’t see that happening again this year, as the winner will likely have a different path, and neither is head and shoulders above the other teams.

When healthy, STA was able to field an entirely senior starting lineup, and that is a heck of an advantage in high school lacrosse. Jupiter has played the toughest schedule statistically in 2A, but has also lost 8 games, versus STA’s 14-3, with the losses to two out of state opponents and by one goal to Benjamin in OT. They also beat Saint Andrew’s, while Jupiter has beaten Plant and Lake Mary.

The regular season matchup was a 13-8 STA win, after a tied halftime score, as STA’s experience helped them win that one. I see a somewhat similar game, with it being close late, but STA will turn the table this year and get to the Final Four.