Skip to main content

Raiders hold off Scots Late Rally for 8-7 Win!

El Classico

Kind of a neat term, if we could borrow it from Barcelona-Real Madrid . . .

But I had another one in mind, given these are both Long Island lacrosse coaches. This has rapidly turned into a similar feel to St. Anthony’s-Chaminade. If you are a lacrosse geek like me, you get that one easily. If you don’t, there’s your homework assignment.

In a way, this rivalry mirrors my own participation with the sport . . . from fan in the stands and LaxPower Forum poster . . . through the infamy of 2012 . . . and now to covering an annual event (since they are in separate classes could we see home and home next year, please? Pretty please?) that creates a great rush of adrenaline in anticipation, and almost always, end result.

For many years Saint Andrew’s would win this game during their title run. 2012 was a potential turning point as St. Thomas played a tight 11-8 game in the regular season loss, only to be soundly defeated in the regional semifinal during SA’s title run of that year. An incident caused the teams to cut off their regular season game for many years. Between 2013 and 2018 they only met once, in the 2015 Final Four at IMG, with STA running through the Scots 14-5 before suffering a Finals loss to LHP.

Two straight FHSAA championships followed for the Raiders, without their paths crossing. In 2018 they met in the regional semifinal and the Scots came away with the 8-7 win in OT, in a remarkable fourth quarter/OT combo. Wells Dusenbury and I were still doing podcasts and we talked about this one:

After The Game Podcast! SA Nips STA in OT! — Florida Lacrosse News

The following season they again met in the playoffs, and the Raiders pulled that one out 13-12 on a last second Brock Gonzalez goal, as STA jumped out to a huge lead, only to see SA pull all the way back and take the lead, before the final minute fireworks.

Raiders Take the Throne as Brock F-5’s The Scots With 12 Seconds to Go — Florida Lacrosse News

And finally, the decision-makers decided that enough time had passed, and the playoff games were so well attended, so they gave the go-ahead for the regular season game to start up again.

There are no playoff games between these two coming along anytime soon; they are in separate classes and likely to be that way for a while. Both teams play enough of a schedule and have such solid programs that they can be pretty much penciled in as bracket participants each year, so the game is basically not moving the needle much in a technical sense when it comes to seeding.

But don’t tell that to the kids, coaching staffs and fans in the stands.

Bragging rights might not be the most accurate term. There’s something else, but it isn’t easy to put a finger on it. Maybe we need to add a little something to it. If we can’t have the ‘home and home’ each year, how about a ‘trophy’, something like what some of the Midwest college football teams have? Something that the winning team can put on display in their Gymnasium? Something to think about.

The first regular season game last year was a barnburner; a grind it out defensive ‘slobberknocker’ that kept fans on the edge of their seats, as the Scots pulled out the 5-4 victory.

1A #1 Saint Andrew’s Grinds Out the 5-4 Win Over 2A Co-#1 STA! — Florida Lacrosse News— Florida Lacrosse News

One team won a state title and the other came within one goal of the other team that won the state title. Expectations coming into the season were of Final Four runs and title games. Each team lost key pieces and will have to play their best to accomplish those goals, as their competitors take aim.

Last night, if replicated the rest of the way, will go a long way towards helping them achieve those goals.

This one was not for the timid.

If you like your lacrosse with an edge, you were happy last night. 48 minutes of not taking the foot off the gas in intensity.

My impressions of the game start with how STA adjusted their defense to handle SA star attackman Jack Schulte, as he was played tight by Vince Layne, with a close slide nearby to try to force the ball out of his stick. Concurrently, the Raiders focused on taking away the middle off-ball cuts that SA is so effective with. And when both of those didn’t do the job, goalie Wade Lamon came up huge in close. When looking at how SA approached the game, I saw a lot more pressing out on the midfield early in the possessions and then their normal zone play deeper into the possession. If you are not used to playing their zone it can be daunting because the slides and space-filling are different than what you see in a typical man-to-man and it takes great recognition by an offense to be able to find shooting space. SA also relies on Gunnar Schwarz to make the save on the outside shots, but STA was able to get some looks from in front without defensive pressure, and in a low-scoring game those few goals make a big difference.

STA’s Josh Corsover was able to grind out an 11-6 faceoff advantage to balance out the extra turnovers (STA committed 12 versus 8 for the Scots), so possessions were fairly even. Where the defenses were also indicative is that both teams hit the cage at a lower rate than normal, as STA went 14 for 25 and SA 16 for 30 by my account. Both goalies played well, as the saves were inside much of the time, but Lamon made a few more.

And in the end, as I say so often, it came down to a player making a big play when I counted the most. The last possession (besides the last 9 seconds spent watching a long clear) came down to Schulte with the ball working behind the net against Layne, looking to create for himself or a cutter. STA’s defense kept their discipline and eventually Schulte took the shot from low right, and Lamon took away his high short side attempt to win the game.

Hard to believe, but this is STA’s first regular season win over SA in their history. No wonder the kids erupted after the game.

Now let’s see kids erupt twice a year.

Home and home next year! Why not?

Four straight games settled by one goal.

Give me more . . .


The first period was a feeling out for over 7 minutes, as the shooting accuracy was not there, but finally at 4:23 STA took the lead as Gio Villasana fed a skip pass from left GLE to the right wing for Trace McDonald to fire left-hand to the high, short-side and at 2:31 it was Jacob Urbano stretching it to 2-0 as he bounced off his defender, took a step back and rifled a right hand top middle to end the first.

At 7:36 the Scots cut it to one as Connor Hofbauer went right alley and finished with a high bounce shot. STA responded twice in 85 seconds, as Nico Cash found Robert Coolidge from top left on left wing for the step down on Man-up and that was followed by Cash split-dodging the right wing and beating Schwarz low for 4-1. SA took advantage of a turnover near midfield to initiate a lengthy fast break, and Dom Deering found Kurt Schwarz all alone on the right wing for a left-hand low finish for 4-2 at the half.

STA regained the 3-goal lead with 5:00 to go in the third, Chase Garey taking the Villasana feed in close and going over the head for the goal. SA fought back to 5-4 at the end of three, with JoJo Pores passing across from left GLE, with the pass getting through to Schwarz on the right wing for the high, short-side putaway, and that was followed at 1:29 as Schwarz found Hofbauer in the middle for the step down to end the period.

Less than two minutes into the 4th STA’s Cash went right alley and nailed the low left corner for 6-4. With 5:56 left, on another Man-up, McDonald found Michael Milanes on low right for the low, short-side finish and 7-4. SA responded with two goals in 31 seconds to make it 7-6. STA won the faceoff but was turned over and Schulte went all the way down the left alley to finish low right and after a penalty call, it was Schulte finding Eric Stiefel on the crease from behind for the low shot with 5:08 left.

With 3:37 to go it was Urbano finding Cash alone in the middle and he was able to walk in and beat Schwarz between the legs for 8-6, but with 2:06 to go SA turned STA over and the resulting 3 on 2 fast break found Schwarz on low left finding Pores all alone on the right crease to set up the finish above.

Nothing comes easy in this rivalry anymore . . .

Home and home . . .

Team Statistics

Faceoffs: STA 11 – SA 6 (2 possession periods)

Shots: SA 30-25

Shots on Goal: SA 16-14

Turnovers: STA 12-8

Penalties: SA 4-3

Individual Statistics


Nico Cash 3G/1A

Trace McDonald and Jacob Urbano with 1G/1A each

Robert Coolidge, Michael Milanes and Chase Garey with 1G each

Gio Villasana 2A

Wade Lamon with 9 saves


Kurt Schwarz 2G/2A

Connor Hofbauer 2G

Jack Schulte and JoJo Pores with 1G/1A each

Eric Stiefel 1G

Dom Deering 1A

Gunnar Schwarz with 6 saves

Thanks to Coach Crowley and Coach Seamen for talking to me before and after the game.