Skip to main content

#2 Ponte Vedra Rebounds With 18-6 Win Over Gulliver Prep

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
  Another year and another southern swing for Ponte Vedra, and just like two years ago they lost the first game and were able to rebound with a strong performance at Gulliver.  I wrote that game up, focusing on the backgrounds and friendship of PV head coach tom West and GP head coach Jim Piggot, and here is the previous article:   Well, as Yogi Berra might have said . . . it’s Deja Vu all over again . . . Friday night, in this crazy season of ours, Ponte Vedra travels south, gets taken down by #5 Jupiter on Friday night, only to rebound with a strong performance Saturday afternoon, knocking off Gulliver Prep 18-6 in Coconut Grove. I suspect Coach Piggot won’t be sending Jupiter head coach Danny Loftus a Christmas card this year.  Again.   This is a bit of a down year for Gulliver, as they graduated a good amount of talent from last year and there are 15 sophomores and freshmen versus only 5 seniors and they were facing a team that went undefeated until the state championship game last year . . . a team I predicted before the season is my pick to win the championship this year and that’s a tall order for any team, much less one that is young. And that’s exactly how the game played out, as Ponte Vedra’s senior three-headed scoring machine . . .   Kids, this was from WAY before you were born . . . that it Ghidrah (or Ghidorah if you are from Japan I guess) . . . of Godzilla movie fame . . .   of Clay Welch, Reid Smith and Andrew Keeler combined for 10 goals and 4 assists in the first half to keep PV in control for the whole game.  Welch set the tone quickly, scoring 4 goals in the first three minutes of the game, all on outside rockets.  PV’s shooting was lights out, as they hit the net 30 times on their 42 attempts for the game, and it was not fun to be Gulliver goalie Lucas Rego, who was asked to do the impossible in the first half.  PV’s ride was effective, causing a number of early turnovers and the faceoff dominance of Andrew O’Dare in the first half, one of the best in the state, almost guaranteed possession early, as PV won 15 of 16 in the first half. The game was basically over at halftime and the second half was time for looking forward for both teams.  Gulliver freshman goalie Raffy Reyes went the rest of the way and PV liberally substituted deep into their squad, and played all three of their roster goalies.  Coach Piggot wisely used the second half to work on his offensive sets . . . a few parents in the crowd didn’t quite catch on to this . . . but it was the right call.  This was a tough matchup for GP this season . . . and even tougher after Friday night.  Coach West gave his younger kids valuable playing time too . . . so often fans get caught up thinking only about the game in front of them but this is still high school, and trying to accomplish both the present AND the future is part of the coaching resume at this level. One thing that has not changed the last few years . . . Coach West’s uniforms still carry that gray on light blue number scheme and it’s possible I have a few numbers wrong . . . but what can you expect from a Rangers fan . . . See, I still can work that one in. An afternoon game can certainly lead to some glare and the silver is a tough color in glare, so apologies to the kids if I have a goal or assist number wrong.   41 seconds into the game Welch opened the scoring on a right alley dodge and his shot hit the low left corner.  27 seconds after that Welch went from top left to top right and his right hand lasered the top right corner for 2-0.  At 10:07 it was Sebastian Zelaya, who played a nice game in the loss, causing a turnover and leading a fast break down the right side, finding Francisco Tonarely on the left wing for the open step down and he beat PV goalie Wyatt Schupler from deep, with the low right shot.  But Welch responded twice in 32 seconds to make it 4-0, showing versatility.  At 9:44 it was a dodge from the right wing to the middle, finishing with the left hand and following with a right alley and right hand at 9:12. From there it was all PV. At 5:42 it was Smith curling from behind left for the bounce shot.  At 3:17 Welch found Keeler on the left wing for the short side shot.  At 1:55 it was CD James utilizing a screen in the middle with the left hand and with 16 seconds left Smith came from behind right to the crease and went behind the back for 8-1 after one. The run continued into the second quarter as PV stretched it to 13-1 before Gulliver was able to break the run.  Smith again at 11:38 after a turnover caused by the ride.  An EMO tally at 5:00 as Smith and Welch combined.  Then at 3:37 Jack Burke took a Keeler feed on the left wing for the step down and 30 seconds later Jason Prince down the left alley with the left hand.  Smith closed out his day at 2:46 with a spin dodge down the middle and with 42 seconds left in the half it was Nicholas Hassan face dodging from behind the left side, working to the crease for the layup. PV started off the third with the first two goals as Burke got his second at 11:16 and Jack Woeste and Walker Azzaro teamed up at 9:48, with Azzaro getting the goal.  Marcelo Arteaga returned the favor for Gulliver at 8:58 off a re-start, going down the middle and beating his defender to the cage for the right hand shot.  James responded at 7:44 with a right wing dodge to the middle for 16-3 and then Gulliver finished the third with 2 goals for 16-5.  Alex Balli at 4:35 dodging from top right to the middle and shooting lefty followed by Hassan solo effort, causing a turnover and beating three defenders near the crease at 2:10. The teams traded goals in the quiet fourth quarter to make it the 18-6 final.  Dylan Hess finding Azzaro on the left wing at 6:16 for the step down, Diego Rodriguez feeding Tonarely on the left for the EMO shot between the legs at 2:30 and Prince taking a feed going down the middle with 42 seconds left to end it. It’s spring break for Ponte Vedra as they are off until 3/21, when Jamie Munro’s Mountain Vista of Colorado comes to northeast Florida (isn’t it funny how easy it is to get northern climates to agree to a game in Florida this time of year . . . Boys’ Latin, West Plano, McDonogh, Valor Christian, etc.)  Local fans who might want to see something different might make the trek to Boca on Tuesday and catch SA hosting Boys’ Latin.  If the game yesterday was an earlier start I probably would have gotten into a car and headed to Oxbridge for their Boys’ Latin game yesterday. Gulliver returns to action Monday, hosting Coral Reef. There is always a mystique to the top Maryland programs and if you want to see that style of play go do so . . . you owe it to yourselves as lacrosse fans to take one of these games in person. But since the start yesterday was at 3:00 it meant that my girlfriend and I stayed in Miami and went to the postgame meal with the PV kids, Tom and his staff, and Jim for the standard kids after game meal of pizza, mozzarella sticks, calamari, etc.  Lots of great talk and swapping of ideas about growing the sport further.  And a few tall tales along the way, none of which are too important . . . the spirit of the friendship between the coaches needs to live on for a long time to come.   Team Statistics   Faceoffs:  PV 20-5 Shots:  PV 42-18 Shots on Goal:  PV 30-10 Turnovers:  17 each Penalties:  GP 2-1   Individual Statistics   PV Clay Welch  5G/2A Reid Smith  4G CD James, Jack Burke, Jason Prince and Walker Azzaro with 2G each Matthew Keeler  1G/2A Dylan Hess 2A Jack Woeste  1A Wyatt Schupler, Noah Basile and Jake Kinney all played and combined for 4 saves   GP Francisco Tonarely and Nicholas Hassan with 2G each Marcelo Arteaga and Alex Balli with 1G each Sebastian Zelaya and Diego Rodriguez with 1A each Lucas Rego and Raffy Ryes combined for 12 saves   Thanks to Coach West and Coach Piggot for talking before and after the game and for the fun time after the game