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2013 RipNet District by District Preview – Part 6

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
DashboardThis article is part of a six part series.  Be sure to check out part 1part 2part 3part 4 and part 5. This is the third year of our district by district previews.  Over the next couple of week’s we’ll be  breaking down each district and taking a look at the guys to watch, who the new coaches are, and which teams look ready to break out and make some noise this season. This year, the district-by-district preview is brought to you by RipNet. RipNet is a new goal scoring app and social network for players that is available for free on iPhoneAndroid and online at  The apps help you become a better player, follow your friends’ game, and stay connected with all things lacrosse. This video will show you how RipNet Performance Technology works and what you can do with the app. watch video. You studs will be the first to let it rip, which makes RipNet even more fired up to help you put more balls in the back of the net and share your success on the field with players across the state and country.  Good luck this season. Now get out there and start scoring! ripnet_grantcatalino_quote District 26 Pine Crest The Panthers are rebuilding after last year’s 16-4 campaign.   The skilled senior class is led by Lacrosse Magazine’s South Player of the Year Harris Stolzenberg at attack, midfielder Sam Talkow (Boston University) and defensemen twin brothers Michael (Hofstra) and Kyle Diener (Colgate to play football).  McCoy Berger rounds out a strong starting defense.  FLN would be remiss if it did not mention one of the best defensive names in ripnet_mens_vidthe state, Stewart Hackleman, who will see significant field time.  Sophomore midfielders Zach Smith and Marc Woolf will join Talkow on the first line as Cody Shamon moves to attack. Pine Crest faces some challenges, but make no mistake, this core is a talented bunch and Coach Doug Shanahan will have them ready.  Expect some surprises this year. Cardinal Gibbons Attackman J.D. Brady (Rollins) is the key player to watch. Calvary Christian In its third season, Calvary looks to continue to improve.  Junior midfielder Dawson Allen (Mt. St. Mary’s, 65g) leads this growing program.  Key returning players for the Eagles include David Salvatelli and Hunter Ramsey.  Adam Bond, who played at Pine Crest and Johns Hopkins, takes over as the head coach. Taravella Coach Rob Herzog’s Trojans continue to build a young program.  The team features many freshmen and sophomores whose future is looking up. ripnet_jovanmiller_quote District 27 
RJ Curtin
St. Thomas Aquinas  St. Thomas Aquinas will be a force this season.  They are returning 70+ goal scorer RJ Curtin (Delaware) who will lead the attack.  He is joined by sophomore JP Crowley (Towson) who scored 52 goals as a freshman last year and Luke Gonzalez (Saint Leo.)  It’s hard to imagine a more balanced and prolific attack unit. A fast and dangerous midfield is led by two returning All Americans.  Fernando Milanes (Jacksonville) and dominant F/O man Joey Dorn (Providence).  Add outstanding Salisbury commit, senior Griffin Melzer and you could have some trouble stopping these guys. The defense is anchored by senior Scott Herstig.  He will be joined by a solid looking pair of juniors Cole Hanson and Anthony Petitto.  Ben Tobin will be between the pipes this season. Two other notables for St. Thomas are LSM Nick Dekhuiden.  He can really run and carry the ball.  The biggest wild card on the team is Kyle Memane.  Kyle was the top scorer two years ago but missed last season.  He returns this year and Coach Terry Crowley had this to say, “The kid is a beast.  We are absolutely thrilled to have him back. In my opinion he has one of the best shots on the team.” Of course the loss of Revin Koss, a Hopkins commit, is tough to overcome.  He is out for the year with a level three tear in his ACL.  The good news is that he is only a junior and will make it back.  Western Western features two top midfielders, Pete Cornelia and Logan Jankowski.  Jankowski is considered by some to be a top five midfielder in the state, and these young men will lead a growing supporting cast in a developing program. South Plantation  Alex Collins is the big story at South Plantation.  The team will not be very competitive but anytime you get a chance to see such an elite level athlete play, take it. ripnet_profileUniversity School (NSU) Coach Jan Northrup looks to improve on last year’s 6-13 record the old fashion way, by creating a long-term plan to seed the program with more talent.  He notes “the growth of the University School lacrosse program is the biggest story.  Last year, in my first year as program director, we had 38 HS players and 39 MS players.  This year, both programs have grown to now have 50 HS players and over 60 MS players.  We now have a full Varsity, JV, and 3 middle school teams.  University school will be a recognized name in the state in the next 4 years”. Team goals for the year are to get to at least 10 wins and make it to district finals. On the outlook for his district: “St. Thomas will continue to be a powerhouse in the district, and will most likely win the district championship.  Growth of the American Heritage program will also make them a formidable opponent.” Impact players on the team – Goalie Daniel Harris (Junior) in the cage, Defenseman Hunter Shechtman (Junior), top shut down defender, attackman Charlie Garcia (Senior), Attackman Daniel Eisdorfer (sophomore). New players to watch:  Attackman Daniel Eisdorfer just switched from Midfield to attack and is a real player.  “This kid is going to make a name for himself.” Weston and American Heritage – Plantation will round out this district. ripnet_markmatthews_quote District 28 Kori BeckArchbishop McCarthy Coach Brent Hilsabeck’s Mavericks most likely will meet Cypress Bay for a rematch of last year’s district championship. Senior defenseman Nick Elias (Wingate) and senior attackman Kori Beck (Tampa) will anchor both ends of the field for Archbishop McCarthy. Cooper City  Cooper City continues to improve and should be competitive again this year. ripnet_scoringCypress Bay Think lacrosse is growing in Florida?  How about 83 boys trying out for the team!  Second year coach Geoff Swinerton is one of the best known figures on the local lacrosse scene, having been involved in the South Florida Youth Lacrosse League for years and having coached a number of exceptional players at the Weston Warriors recreational program. Cypress Bay hopes to repeat as district champions and the early guess is the final will be a repeat of last year’s overtime thriller against Archbishop McCarthy.  The Lightning added a number of out of district teams to its schedule to continue to challenge its players and grow the quality of the program. Key players on offense include last year’s leading scorer, junior midfielder Dylan Rupert (36G, 36A), sophomore midfielder Drew Minchew and junior attackman Tyler Mutschler.  Junior Mikey Mendella and goalie transfer Tyler Loporto will anchor the defense. Cypress Bay was 4-6 in 2011 and 12-4 in 2012.  A program on the upswing, the future for the Lightning appears bright. Pines Charter Pines Charter is one of the younger teams in the district and one interesting player to keep an eye on is sophomore attackman Danny Moran. West Broward  West Broward will look to improve on their 2-7 district record from 2012. District 29 ripnet_nedcrotty_quote Ransom Everglades  This is the most talented team that has ever taken the field at Ransom Everglades. They return the entire close defense and entire attack as well as majority of offensive production from the midfield. RE returns six All District players and four All -Southeast players to the roster.  A key loss is Miles Brooke, who was a 4 year starter in the goal, but junior Tyler Martin has looked good throughout the preseason. Jay Fuster returns as a 5th year starter at attack and 4th year starting midfielder Jeremy Peters is fully healthy for the first time in his career. “As a team, we are relying on veteran leadership both on and off the field.  We are a talented and well balanced team that has to learn how to play 48 minutes of good disciplined lacrosse on both ends of the field.  That will start with the seniors, and the way that they approach every single practice and game.” Coach Chazz Woodson. The coaches at Ransom Everglades think that goalie Tyler Martin will have a break- out season.  Miles Brooke, who will start in cage for Oberlin College this weekend, was probably a little underrated and losing him to graduation puts a lot of pressure on the young man.  But Tyler Martin has been a welcomed surprise between the pipes.  “He understands the defense – who should be where and when they should be there – and he’s tough as nails.  Nothing fazes him.”  ripnet_womans_vidBelen Jesuit Belen Jesuit looks to rebound from last season’s 5-9 record and to help do so Coach John Okunski has brought on major changes to his coaching staff by bringing on Alan Bellando (Associate Head Coach) and Brian Cost (Assistant Coach – Offensive Coordinator) from St. Andrew’s to run the defense and offense respectively.  Both coaches have brought their winning attitudes to the team in the pre-season and the optimism for the upcoming season is very high. From Coach Okunski: “Our team goal is to win a District Championship!  The seniors on this team have been playing together for four years and have the full team in place to make a run as district champions.  Anything less will be a disappointment.  Columbus will be the team to beat with Belen Jesuit, Gulliver, and Ransom all competing to knock them off.  Ransom (like Belen) has a senior heavy team that has great experience.  Gulliver is young, but always a threat.  LaSalle and Miami Country Day look to be rebuilding.” In order to achieve that goal Belen will rely on the following players to make an impact: Matt Cristobal – Defense – 2nd Team All County in 2012 Ethan Rodriguez – Attack/Midfield – 2nd in team points in 2012 Robby Cosio – Attack/Midfield – 2nd Team All County in 2012 dscn8659Columbus Catholic Coach Jim DeLang is looking forward to the season as he has almost his entire team coming back from a team that went 15-4, with all 15 wins coming in a row.  Columbus also played state semi-finalist Jupiter in a close game and only lost to Saint Andrew’s and St. Thomas Aquinas besides.  Coach DeLang’s goal this season is to take the next step and go past the regional semifinals and play a regional final. The schedule takes a little different direction this season as Pine Crest, Creekside and Benjamin take the place of SA and Jupiter, but that still is a solid slate for them. Among the returning players are goalie Mike Davide, attackman Grant Nordland, and attackman Stephen Hernandez. Coach DeLang also mentioned two other standouts: Omar Shahbaz, a senior long pole that will be used in all situations. Gulliver Prep Looking to rebound from an uncharacteristic 5-13 record, Coach Jim Piggot is looking to regain the district title. The past couple years of rebuilding are starting to show. Last year’s tough schedule prepped this young group for a tough fight in the end; beating Ransom in the District 29 semi final after losing to them during the season which set up a showdown between two teams with very close ties. In the end a more experienced team in Columbus beat Gulliver Prep 11-6. The Raiders spent the off season prepping to get as much game experience as possible and working hard to get in shape for the 2013 run at a district trophy they desperately want back. Big role players will be Juniors Jojo Rousseau, Danny Rodriguez, Ryan Cordero and Pierce Bailey. Seniors Sean Cordero (SMU), Nick Eber, Juan Pigurino, Sam Easton and Gulliver’s Offensive Guard Jordi Dalmau 6’4” 295 lbs (Colgate for football) will be doing their best to lead the young group and give them the tools they need to succeed. Coach Piggot summarizes, “We are depending on everyone to play his role and as long as we all do our job, good things will happen.” Players to watch – sophomore twins Corey and Curtis Langer will return to anchor the varsity defense. Sophomore Brian Suarez (FO) along with Freshman Sam Steffens, CJ Hassan, Trevor Pelletier and Andrew Kardonksky all will be bringing their talents to the varsity level to fill in for the seniors from last year. Gabe Colon (Rollins), TJ Reeves (JHU), Grant Wood and Scott Kossman.   Miami Country Day  Senior Brian Hernandez had a solid junior year.  He will need to have a huge year to get Miami Country Day to the top of this highly contested district. Immaculata – LaSalle rounds out this district. ripnet_billybitter_quote District 30 Coach Barnaby Rich’s team finished last year with a fine 12-3 record that ended with a disappointing loss to Miami Palmetto in the district finals, after beating Palmetto earlier in the year. Coach Rich indicated that Coral Shores has a very young team this year but they’re excited about the upcoming season.  A highlight of the upcoming season is a game at Sun Life Stadium and difficult tests against Ponte Vedra and Bishop Timon from Buffalo, New York.  Coral Shores’ schedule takes a jump up in class this year and it will tell a lot about the program in how they respond to the challenge. Miami Killian Miami-Killian faces the challenge of replacing 15 graduating seniors from last season.  In his third season with the Cougars, Coach Bill Franklin shrugged off any difficulties that might pose: “We carried 45 kids on our Varsity roster last year just to make sure we developed the depth needed for the 2013 season.  Managing that many kids at the high school level was a challenge, but our first couple of practices this year show it was the right decision”. Look for strong showings this year in the midfield from seniors and All-Region player David Felipe (ESPN RISE 2013 National Watch List) and Austin Anderson.  The defense will be led by All-District senior Tony Campagna and senior Hayden Grahl.  In goal will be sophomore Andre Villalobos who was All-District in his freshman year.  Look for immediate offensive production from freshmen Chris Koch and Tyler Schrack.  The Cougars have a demanding schedule facing 5 of last year’s top 25 FHSAA teams and 3 of the top 25 Maryland public schools during an out-of-state road trip in late March.  Coach Franklin added: “The best thing we could have done as a team was go to Virginia last year to face Hampton Roads Academy, who ended up the VISAA Class II State Champion.  It showed us a different style of play which had our players initiate the push towards a more sophisticated offensive set which immediately paid dividends.  Playing the best is the fastest way to improve your game. The Cougars open up action on February 12th against Coral Reef High School at 7 PM at Belair Park in Cutler Bay, FL as part of the Inaugural Cougar Preseason Classic featuring full games between host Miami-Killian, Coral Reef High School, Coral Shores High School and Miami Country Day School on both Febuary 12th and 14th.  Miami Palmetto, Palmer Trinity, Coral Reef, Coral Shores make up the rest of District 30.  Among the independent schools this season we are looking forward to watching the progress of Oxbridge Academy.  Oxbridge won their first varsity game in a double overtime thriller. Coach Stan Ross leads Oxbridge Academy into its inaugural season as a varsity program.  The first year program will mostly play freshmen and the expected impact players will be Colin Hayek, Zach Ranta and Riley Smith. Coach Ross’ team goals for the year is to compete is every day in practice and be competitive in every game.  The schedule includes road trips to Pope John Paul and Spanish River, which will give Coach Ross a good insight into how his program will stack up to larger public schools that have more established histories. This is the final installment of our six part 2013 RipNet District by District season preview.  Please enjoy the previous five parts. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5