Pine Crest Serves Notice with 17-13 win at SJP II

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Speed kills.

So many times you hear a broadcaster talk about how you ‘can’t teach speed or height’.  Well, some push back against that now because speed training is more mature as a training objective.

But what can hurt even more on a lacrosse field is quickness.

Quickness means taking advantage of that split-second when the double team comes but doesn’t seal off the space between them.  It means a half a step advantage to the goal turns into a full step.  It also means being able to take just a smidgeon of a time more to read the play.

It can also mean the defense needs to be more conservative when facing it.  If speed kills, quickness is somehow even more effective on a lacrosse field.  Just need a new name for it . . .

Last year the Panthers finished at #3 in the final FLN Top 15 for Class 1A. Twice they lost to Saint Andrew’s, once 9-3 early in the regular season and in the first round of the brackets, 9-4.  And now SA has been moved into their district, making seeding in the bracket a little more interesting.  The Panthers graduated two of their three leading goal scorers in Colin Servoss and Matthew Yellin, and that was nearly 40% of the scoring.  They also had to replace Jonathan Valdes in goal going into the season.  The two teams met last year in the first game with PC winning 13-10.

SJP II was playing their third Top 10 team in 3 games, having dropped close tilts with Jupiter and Oxbridge, and were looking for a win as they progressed through their normally difficult schedule.  But after scoring the first goal of the game, PC answered with 5 straight goals, and the Eagles spent the entire game playing catch-up.  They were able to tie it up at 7 in the 2nd quarter, but a late 3-0 run by the Panthers made it 10-7 at the half and they never got closer than 2 goals in the second half.

Last night Pine Crest unleashed a couple of Panthers that gave fits with their quickness and the Eagles struggled to contain them. 

Pine Crest’s Junior midfielder Jordan Faison is a Notre Dame commit and he certainly showed why.  An insane first step, combined with both lateral quickness and straight-ahead speed, all finished with a hard shot that doesn’t require much wind up to get off.  It’s a lethal combination of skills on a lacrosse field.  What really stood out to me was that he didn’t always try to force the play.  He would play off ball enough to keep the defense honest and rarely tried to take on a double team.  But when he faced that, the quickness really showed.

Nigel Vital is an interesting talent.  A normal midfielder, he’s also been pressed into faceoff duty due to injury.  While it was not a statistically successful night at the dot, he showed a battle level that is noticeable and even a clean loss to SJP’s Tucker Sheehan, who had a strong game himself, was met with a hard ride.  Vital also chipped in 4 goals and when he fully learns when to go and when to be patient, he’ll be at the next level.  Right now, he only knows one gear and that’s all out.

One item that the Eagles can take forward is that they produced nine different goal scorers on Thursday with 8 of the 13 goals assisted, so the underlying offense is there.  It was about ball possession more than anything else, as they need to cut down on the 20 turnovers I recorded.  When they get that closer to 10, look out.

What makes the turnover numbers so frustrating is that SJP is loaded with offensive talent.  This sport is funny in a way . . . it giveth and it taketh . . . and that talent both makes great plays and a few mistakes where it relies too much on its skills.  The tradeoff and the execution are what defines the result and when the turnovers are cleaned up, the wins follow.  I’ll be touching on that in the next article too, from last night’s SA-Plant game.

Either way, it was a heck of a game to watch and I still fully expect both teams will be playing in mid-April.  And a pretty good concession stand too!  Hot Dog and Ziti!  Even had some great conversations in the crowd.  Beats watching the latest Real Housewives iteration . . . well, maybe a RH of Boca might be entertaining.

A look at the statistics revealed the back and forth nature of the game, but one thing that really stood out was the shooting percentages.  In the first three quarters I showed PC hitting the net with 25 of 29 attempts and that’s remarkable.  It was certainly one way that the quickness showed, as very few PC shots came from outside 10 yards.  SJP went 18 for 24 in those three quarters too, as that highlighted the skill when they took care of the ball.  SJP had a 23-11 advantage at the dot but committed 20 turnovers to 15 for PC.  A number were in transition.

But so many times, it’s the timing of the mistakes even more than the number of them.  8 of the 20 were fourth quarter when trying to come back from a 4-goal deficit after three and it was too high a hill to climb.

PC now moves on to Oxbridge and St. Edward’s next week, while SJP plays in district versus King’s and their annual war with Saint Andrew’s.

Since there were 30 goals, I’ll go with a box score review to avoid carpal tunnel . . .

1st Quarter

11:08 – SJP – 1-0 – Kyle Davis from Cole Engelke

10:01 – PC – 1-1 – J. Faison from Vital

9:46 – PC -2-1 – Vital unassisted

8:54 – PC – 3-1 – J. Faison unassisted

6:21 – PC – 4-1 – J. Faison unassisted

4:02 – PC – 5-1 – Joby Sodi from J. Faison

3:34 – SJP – 5-2 – Morgan McMeekin from Davis

0:46 – SJP – 5-3 – Kevin Doyle unassisted

2nd Quarter

11:50 – PC – 6-3 – J. Faison unassisted

11:09 – SJP – 6-4 – Davis unassisted

10:10 – SJP – 6-5 – Mike Evans from Ben Brooks

9:32 – PC – 7-5 – Colby Geddis unassisted

8:20 – SJP – 7-6 – Engelke from Davis

7:11 – SJP – 7-7 – Evans unassisted

2:40 – PC – 8-7 – Dylan Faison unassisted

0:19 – PC – 9-7 – Harrison Mullen unassisted

0:15 – PC – 10-7 – J. Faison from Mullen

3rd Quarter

10:49 – SJP – 10-8 – Engelke from Ryan Ahern

7:59 – PC – 11-8 – Vital unassisted

7:43 – SJP – 11-9 – Ahern unassisted

4:38 – PC – 12-9 – J. Faison unassisted

3:35 – PC – 13-9 – Mullen unassisted

2:23 – PC -14-9 – Nash Jarolem unassisted

0:55 – SJP – 14-10 – Ahern unassisted

4th Quarter

8:55 – PC – 15-10 – J. Faison unassisted

6:48 – PC – 16-10 – Vital unassisted

4:07 – SJP – 16-11 – Henry Konsker from Brooks

3:49 – SJP – 16-12 – Charlie Bublitz from Ahern

3:17 – SJP – 16-13 – Travis Cherestin from AJ Rosacker

2:51 – PC – 17-13 – Vital unassisted

Thanks to Coach Bolger and Coach Harris for talking to me before and after the game

Team Statistics

Faceoffs:  SJP 23-11

Shots:  PC 38-32

Shots on Goal:  PC 30-23

Turnovers:  SJP 20-15

Penalties:  PC 6-2

Individual Statistics


Jordan Faison  7G/1A

Nigel Vital  4G/1A

Harrison Mullen  2G/1A

Joby Sodi, Colby Geddis, Dylan Faison and Nash Jarolem with 1G each

Camden Smith with 10 saves


Kyle Davis and Ryan Ahern with 2G/2A each

Cole Engelke 2G/1A

Mike Evans 2G

Morgan McMeekin, Kevin Doyle, Henry Konsker, Charlie Bublitz and Travis Cherestin with 1G each

Ben Brooks 2A

AJ Rosacker 1A

Landon Reichert and Jackson Hume combined for 13 saves