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FLN’s Preseason Boys 1A Top 15 Poll!

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in , , , .

FLN Note: We are going to do each of the four Polls as separate articles, as we go through the day. For those cynics who would say we are doing that to maximize page views . . . rest assured you are CORRECT! But it also allows us to analyze where graduations will take a toll, which is time-consuming. There were a few disagreements on our Bracket predictions, and I want to THANK those who did so! Nothing shows how much we are growing as a state, AND as a platform, then disagreement and debate. Keep it coming!

Notes on looking at this year’s Top 15:

First, as always, the defending champions get #1, regardless of what comes back. Regardless of whether that holds up or not, that’s the custom. The finalist on the losing side gets #2 and then we go from there. Remember, it’s not how you start the race, it’s where you finish, as so many Pole sitters in auto racing know all too well. This state now has over 200 teams in both Boys and Girls and the idea we will catch everything preseason, like injuries, graduations and transfers, and so on, are too much to ask for. So enjoy this as thought-provoking as much as final, and good luck to all the programs out there!

As we go into the season, remember a few things:

Referees do their best! #LayOffTheRefs

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Most of the time they will come back for more if they haven’t been exposed to it before

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Final 2021 Top 15 Poll for Boys Class 1A

1) Saint Andrew’s – 2nd toughest schedule AND undefeated, should be in consideration for Inside Lacrosse’s National Top 25

2) Saint Edward’s – once they got their full squad together it was all systems go and they overcame adversity

3) Pine Crest – only two losses to Saint Andrew’s

4) Oak Hall – I take the whole body of work into consideration and they had big wins

5t) Jesuit – similar thing here, a few goals shy of running the table

5t) Belen Jesuit – undefeated regular season and took SA into the 3rd all tied up, very few can say that

7) Bolles – Strength of schedule hurt them some early, got hot late and pulled off maybe the biggest upset of the 1A bracket

8) Benjamin – on the other hand Benjamin played THE toughest schedule

9) Saint John Paul II – also played a monster schedule, close losses in many of them

10) Oxbridge – not enough offense this year to get past some, Canterbury road win improved their standing over time

11) Canterbury – nice late season run but semifinal showing hurts, program trending up

12) Maclay – hot and cold, some head scratchers

13) Lake Highland Prep – also a great schedule but lost too many to be higher, but the program is definitely on the way back up

14) Cardinal Mooney – real close to a really good ranking but lost key games late, next challenge is to build off the recent past

15) Episcopal School of Jacksonville – solid year but missing the one signature win, needs to beef up the schedule next season

Also Considered:

American Heritage-Plantation – didn’t play enough games to make it this year

Gulliver Prep – inconsistent, after watching them they just didn’t put it all together this year

Montverde Academy – on the way up, now let’s see them take the next step

St. Andrew’s ran the table and bring back a lot of their core. 5-star IL recruit Sean Jordan comes back, as does goalie Gunnar Schwarz and a number of offensive contributors. It’s a balanced approach to goal scoring, as more than half of the team’s goals were assisted. It will take a heck of an effort to keep them from repeating. The schedule is even tougher than last year’s as 2A teams are making their way south.

St. Edward’s was a heck of a story who just kept getting better as the season went on. A one-goal loss at Creekside really got them going. A couple of key losses in Drew Sternberg and Danny Richmond, but a lot coming back, including goalie Liam Murphy, one of the better kept secrets in the state. Oscar Lindenthal, Riker Pratt and Ricky Savage return to lead the offense. The schedule is stout.

Pine Crest gives you a challenge as they don’t beat themselves. Matthew Yellin and Colin Servoss have graduated but Notre Dame commit Jordan Faison and Nigel Vital, both juniors this year, lead a high-end midfield. The schedule was a little light last year and isn’t in Saint Andrew’s level, so we’ll take a bit of a wait and see on their ranking this year.

Oak Hall needs to replace St. Joseph’s bound Shayne Ryan in goal and that’s a tough request. Michael Moreschi and Cade Balogh return to lead the offense. The team was cruising through the regular season with the only blemish being a one-goal loss to Ponte Vedra, before the stunning upset in the first round by Bolles. This season can be described best as ‘unfinished business’. The first game is an intriguing matchup with Episcopal School.

Jesuit of Tampa probably felt last season was a lost opportunity as they lost a one-goal regional final to a Canterbury team they beat by 5 in the regular season. Mac Revelle is the only key loss on offense and Colin Kruger, Chase Minacci and Lleyton Hall return to lead it. Dylan Causey is a top-end goalie. The schedule is good but not great and is similar this season.

Belen Jesuit was a pleasant surprise last year, running the table in the regular season, albeit a little weak on the schedule. But the regional final versus St. Andrew’s was among SA’s toughest wins of the year. They lost a lot of the offense from last year, as Victor Rosado, Sebastian Arruzieta and Victor Mejer have all moved on. Israel Salabarria and Andrew Bru are the key players returning, but Belen is likely looking to take a step back this year.

Bolles was a surprise semifinalist, avenging regular season losses to Maclay and Oak Hall, and has had the most intriguing offseason of 1A, as they hired away Tom West, the architect of the successful Ponte Vedra program. Andrew Sledzik and Caleb Coleman will lead the offense with Tanner Furyk on defense.

Benjamin played the hardest schedule in the state, in either class, according to the numbers. Trevor Natalie was a big loss to graduation, so Luke Pisani and Brady Quinn will step up to take control of the offense. The schedule is just as tough, with the home and home with Jupiter (please, more rivals NEED to do this if you are in different classes!) and an away game with Saint Andrew’s to open the season just a few of the minefields to navigate.

Saint John Paul II also played a heck of a schedule and fared well against it. The ‘worst’ loss was by 4 to 2A champion Jupiter and they handled St. Edward’s easily early in the season. Travis and Trevor Dick moved on, as did Joe Dean, but a lot of players contributed last season and they will be asked to step up, led by Henry Konsker and Jake D’Antuono. The schedule did not get easier, but for the first time they are not in the same district as Saint Andrew’s.

Oxbridge avenged their regular season loss to SJP before losing to SA in their district final (wonder which teams are most enthused by at-large bids?) A one-goal early season loss to SA, one-goal loss to Benjamin and American Heritage-Plantation kept them from a pretty high ranking. The offense struggled at times as there was scoring depth but a lack of a take-charge guy at times. A lot of the offense was young, so growth could yield a few. The schedule is a little less rigorous this season.

Canterbury was a surprise Final Four entrant but ran into a buzzsaw SA squad after getting past Cardinal Mooney and Jesuit by 1 goal each in their playoff run. Holden Gelinas was the only loss on offense, and they return Carson Fuchs, Chase Thompson and Spencer Dopman for their senior years. The schedule got tougher this year.

Maclay got back on track last season after a disappointing previous year, and gained a win over Creekside in OT, but lost a couple of games badly to top competition. Stone Foster and Liam McAbee graduated by star attackman Everett Thompson returns to lead a potent offense with Carson Rowe and Cannon Diehl. The schedule is okay.

Lake Highland Prep struggled at times with physical teams but gutted out one-goal wins in the District final over Bishop Moore and in the first round to Montverde before losing the regional final to St. Edward’s in OT. Logan Shassian is the only graduation loss and Jack Fiordalis and Aaron Williams will lead a balanced attack. There’s very little breathing room in the upcoming schedule as they play a number of playoff teams.

Cardinal Mooney started strong but faded some down the stretch and were tripped up in the district final by a goal to Canterbury. Christian Laureano has moved on but there is a talented group of youngsters in Patrick McGrath, Sean Laureano and Ramsay Choueiri lead the way. The schedule is better this year and they are travelling over to the East coast.

Episcopal School of Jacksonville has shown steady progress lately and that got them into the final poll this year. Undefeated against a lighter schedule, they fell to Ponte Vedra and twice to Bolles, including the district final. Jacob Hauser and Lee Tritt lead the offense and Jackson Hulsey is an underrated goalie. The team is also excited about their freshmen class. The schedule shows a southern trip to St. Thomas Aquinas this year.

American Heritage-Plantation, Gulliver Prep and Montverde are all programs that are now established and likely Top 15-able going forward.

So, without further ado, here’s the Top 15 for 1A:

FLN’s Preseason Top 10 Boys 1A

  1. Saint Andrew’s – it will take a big effort to defeat them
  2. St. Edward’s – It will be interesting to see how the run to the finals effects the program; i suspect it adds confidence
  3. Bolles – not much lost from a team that could easily have made the finals
  4. Oak Hall – despite the loss of Ryan, I see them dedicated to right the wrong of the playoff loss
  5. Jesuit of Tampa – enough coming back to make a run through a very deep region
  6. Oxbridge – lost less than Pine Crest or SJP, a tough defense and a lot of kids who got a lot of experience last year
  7. Canterbury – senior leadership on offense and a tough defense are a good combo
  8. Lake Highland Prep – another team that took their lumps at times and will be better for it
  9. Saint John Paul II – lost some top end talent but were deep and tested
  10. Benjamin – still very talented, can the depth hold up with the tough schedule?
  11. Pine Crest – can they generate enough scoring?
  12. Montverde Academy – time for the program to take that next step
  13. Maclay – ranking will be dependent on the quality opponents
  14. Belen Jesuit – is it a reload or a rebuild?
  15. (t) Cardinal Mooney – how fast does the young talent mature?
  16. (t) Episcopal of Jacksonville – they’re no longer an unknown

Also Considered:

Holy Trinity Episcopal, Gulliver Prep, Berkeley Prep

Let’s get it on!