Older fans out there will remember the old Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, whose offensive strategy was ‘3 yards and a cloud of dust’. Last night’s St. Andrew’s – Jupiter clash at Jupiter High School looked at times as if each team was trying to make that statement, particularly on offense. SA gutted out an overtime victory in a game that featured an outstanding battle between two tough defenses and two goalies playing at the top of their games.
Senior Nick Ranta’s solo tally, off a tenacious dodge and re-dodge to beat his man, ended the game with 16 seconds left in the first overtime. Jupiter forced the overtime period by scoring twice in the fourth quarter, with the tying goal on a laser low-to-high shot by Daniel Soviero from straight out. Jupiter dominated the fourth quarter possession time as SA tried to rely on its’ defense to hold the slim lead. Statistically the game was close:
Face-offs: SA 8 – JHS 7
Shots: SA 30 – JHS 22
SOG’s: SA 16 – JHS 14
Turnovers: 23 apiece
Each team took 4 penalties.
The turnover totals were particularly telling, as not only did the two defenses cause a number of turnovers but the two teams also committed a high number of unforced turnovers, and the game looked reminiscent of last year’s JHS – Pine Crest game at the Orange Bowl Classic. Sometimes high intensity leads to a sloppy game and that certainly reared itself last night.
The sloppy start resulted in a 1-0 first quarter as Jesse Foertmeyer’s goal was the only one of that period. Conor Whipple scored the first of his hat trick to tie the game early in the second and Foertmeyer and Ranta then swapped goals to make it 2-2 at the half. The two goalies (Corey Etcheverry of SA with 6 first half saves and Drake ‘Viper’ Scheele of JHS with 8 first half saves) made a number of point blank stops to keep the score low and the intensity high. SA pretty much dominated the third quarter, outscoring JHS 3-1 to take the 5-3 lead after three. Whipple finished his hat trick and Andy Wheeler added one on a power dodge while Foertmeyer finished his hat trick too for JHS. SA outshot JHS 8-3 in that quarter and SA won 4 of the 5 face-offs.
After Ben Yetman drew JHS within one in the fourth the home crowd came alive and the momentum clearly swung to them. (A side note – this game was played alongside the JHS baseball team playing on the next field. There were hundreds at the lacrosse game and maybe about 40 at the baseball game. Take note local newspapers! That means you Palm Beach Post; you need to think about assigning some of your resources to the event that actually draws the crowds . . .) That momentum carried them through the entire period and Jupiter had a number of chances to win the game before the overtime period but the SA defense stayed stout and Etcheverry made the saves when needed. On the other end Scheele made a few key saves too when SA finally got a few chances to regain the lead.
All in all a game more exciting than well played and it makes this observer wonder if the top programs down here need to rethink their scheduling approaches some and maybe not try to squeeze too many games together. If the season can start on say February 15th and end on April 15th before playoffs that leaves a nearly 20 game season that could be split about 3 days apart. SA was playing their 4th game in SEVEN days, with travel to North Carolina included. They will be playing 4 more games in SIX days coming up, while Jupiter is going to play 3 games in 5 days twice in the coming weeks. Is it really good for the quality of play to be doing this? To be able to prepare for a tough opponent? To be able to work out the issues in practice? I don’t see it.
SA returns to action on Monday when they visit W.T. Dwyer; JHS returns to action when they visit surprising Vero Beach on Tuesday. Both teams deserve and NEED the rest.