thanks to Lisa Erdmann for the pictures and the report provided to us by attendee Lars Bennett
When your fate in life is to defeat your cross town rival, and arguably one of best lacrosse teams in the State every year just to get into the post-season, you can’t take anything for granted. After a long regular season marred by a spate of injuries (at one time eight starters were on the sidelines) and blown leads, Benjamin once again would face Jupiter in their District Finals.
After an emotional win, Benjamin went on to defeat a tough Jensen Beach squad and after a somewhat sloppy win over MCC, the Bucs ended up facing off with Barron Collier for the Regional Finals.
Unlike the MCC game where the coaching staff started rotating in younger support players as early as the second quarter allowing MCC to score goals and keep the game somewhat close, the Bucs had no intention of giving Barron Collier any room to breathe.
The Bucs struck early and struck often. Led by senior Colin O’Hare (3G, 3A) and junior Griffin Bowie (4G, 1A) the team closed out the first half with a 10-0 lead. Freshman Mike Lobosco added a whole new dimension to the Bucs efforts winning 14 out of 19 face offs (face offs being a notorious weak spot in past years). Junior Austin Michaels continued his strong play in the net, while shoring up the transition game through good communication with his poles, facilitating efficient and consistent clears (another notorious weak spot this season).
The defense used its superior speed and stick handling skills to stifle any efforts Barron Collier tried to throw at them. At halftime, Benjamin had 20 ground balls to BC’s four. Led by seniors Chris Raso and West Rudolph, the defense is made up of mostly juniors and sophomores that had been thrown into the deep end last season and have steadily improved and appear to be clicking at exactly the right time.
The night finished up at 14-2, with the Bucs moving on to the Final Four for the third time in the past four years. Up next St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday the 29th at Jupiter High School.
One sidebar; I am pleasantly surprised that so far the post-season I have watched, while hotly contested, has not been marred by late hits, dirty play or unruly fans (except for one rude attendee at one game who screamed unnecessary comments at the players, refs and other parents from the opening whistle to the end of the game).