District 23 – The Best District Playoff In Florida History?

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Fans with longer memories than I might well remember another district playoff like this one could be.

But I doubt it.

 

Boca Raton – ranked as high as #2 in the state this year

Saint Andrew’s – ranked as high as #3 in the state this year

Pope John Paul II – ranked as high as #8 in the state this year

Spanish River – not ranked but 10-7 with wins over Martin County, Pine Crest and University School

 

Don’t believe the polls?

 

How about the LaxPower Power Ratings?

#5, #8, #11, #25 . . . statewide

Strength of Schedule?

#4, #8, #11, #13

 

Get the point yet?

 

 

Let’s throw one more item into the mix.  Spanish River head coach Brian Johnson will be resigning after the season to spend time with his wife and his kids might well want to send him off with a great memory.

 

Boca Raton vs. Pope John Paul II – first meeting – PJP 11-10

Saint Andrew’s vs. Spanish River – first meeting – SA 14-9

Tuesday, April 15th – 5:30pm, Spanish River High School

An old saying from my youth . . . be there or be square.

 

In head to head matchups SR was 0-3 and the other two were all 2-1.  SA won the tiebreaker and gained the #1 seed.

Boca Raton is a very talented group.  Tremendous long poles; very solid midfield and a deep attack.  Memories of last year’s District final (Link) when they led by 2 with 7 minutes left only to watch SA come back and go on from there to the state finals.  Probably still thinking a little about that game.  Defeated SA in the regular season 6-5 for SA’s second loss in Palm Beach County EVER.

 

Pope’s Joey Giuffrida

 

Saint Andrew’s . . . the gold standard of Florida lacrosse for so many years.  For the first time in a long time (or even EVER) they are not the prohibitive favorite.  How does that play into this?  Will the pressure be lower or will the expectations?  They are Saint Andrew’s and sometimes the name on the front spooks the other team.  Built from the back out this year.

Pope John Paul II – has been pointing for this year for awhile.  Coach Bolger has nurtured a talented group of kids for a few years now, waiting for them to mature and put it all together.  And they finally did.  Will it be enough?  Can score a lot of goals.  But only 2-4 when held under 10 so they are also vulnerable if the scoring is low.

Spanish River – a starting attack and midfield as good as the others, and an excellent goalie.  Not as much depth.  A first round win makes their season.  Gave up 92 goals in their 7 losses.  Pretty clear what they need to do to win.  Cut the Goals Against down . . .

 

Matt Digney, Conor Poetzinger, Niko Morfogen and Jake Diamond.  Four goalies.  All could start for another team in the district and fit right in.

 

Vero Beach vs Spanish River 2013
Matt Digney

 

A heck of a lot of talented long poles throughout the teams

A heck of a lot of talented middies.

A heck of a lot of talented attackers.

 

My prediction?  Don’t have one.

Except that you won’t regret it if you are in the stands . . .