District Playoffs Are Here! 17-24 – The Gerrymandered Slice of Florida Lacrosse

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  In this political season might as well get a political term in there . . . Geographically, it is a strange cross-section.  From Memphis to St. Joe, as Ella Fitzgerald might sing . . . or George Carlin might riff off of. Sarasota to Naples . . . Melbourne to Palm Beach Gardens.  No real presence in the middle.  Now that I’m thinking about it, why are there no lacrosse programs in Lake Wales or Sebring?   Sebring HS Alma Mater Sebring HS Alma Mater – okay, that gives a hint.   It’s a tale of a weaker West Coast this year, a similar strength up the Treasure Coast in MCC, and peaking south, with Vero, Jensen, Jupiter and Benjamin.  The way the districts are set up this year it looks like it is Barron Collier’s slot to lose for the Final Eight, to meet the survivor of the teams in the previous sentence.  Not that BC has been great this year, it clearly is a down year when you look at the results.  Traditional programs in Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot do not look like past years.  There’s even an upstart that might take Cardinal Mooney’s district in ODA Sarasota. But it is hard to make a case that Barron Collier does not come out of the West Coast.   District 17 Cardinal Mooney and ODA Sarasota split the regular season with each winning on the other’s field.  Last year, CM crushed ODA three times.  CM hosts the District playoff and their experience in playoff lacrosse has been a staple of their area.  St. Stephen’s Episcopal and Sarasota Military are not competitive so this is it. Cardinal Mooney did play the better out of district schedule so let’s give them the nod, but we finally have a possible rivalry going forward!   District 18 This is Bishop Verot’s to lose.  10-0 in district and the closest games were two 5-goal wins.  Against the better schools on the schedule they could only look at a 2-goal loss to ODA Sarasota and a few were blowouts.  It will be a huge upset if they lose district.  Canterbury Ft. Myers does hold a win over ODA, so there is a possibility but BV swept the regular season comfortably.   Cardinal Mooney Alex Sobczak 2015   District 19 Gulf Coast easily won this district and handled the second and third place teams, Immokalee and Palmetto Ridge, easily.  They did not fare well against the better teams on their schedule but so few did this year here.  Immokalee earned their first winning season and should make it to the final, where a close game would be considered another step forward in their programs arc.  But it will be Gulf Coast in Brett Queener’s first year at the helm.   District 20 Barron Collier holds a solid win over second-place Naples, which is the only team that can sniff an opportunity.  BC’s schedule dwarfs everyone else in the district.  SA, STA, Oxbridge, IMG, Gulliver Prep, Tampa Jesuit and Boca Raton.  Struggled with most of them, plus a win over Boca.  Battle tested and used to playoff success.  Major upset if BC doesn’t win this.   John 'Pat' Mahoney Barron Collier 2016 Pic   District 21 The first round was played before this was written so we are down to Viera and Rockledge playing at Rockledge tomorrow.  Rockledge snuck past Merritt Island by a goal and Viera manhandled Satellite.  Viera swept the regular season but both were close games so there’s little to choose from here.  Coaches always know how tough it is to beat a team three times in one season.  Neither played the best schools on their schedule particularly well so this is a toss up. Given the difficulty of winning 3 times i’ll go with Rockledge at home to get the victory.   District 22 Melbourne Central Catholic should have no problems here.  A 15-goal win over second place Holy Trinity Episcopal and victories over Top 20 Oak Hall and surprisingly tough St. Edward’s show that this is not a likely upset possibility.   nice check mcc moes   District 23 A very competitive district traditionally continued that pattern this year.  Two Top 20 teams in Jensen Beach and Vero Beach, plus solid teams in Martin County and St. Edward’s, means no easy game for anyone.  it should come down to JB and VB on the neutral site in Martin County.  Martin County took Jensen down to the wire at home in their regular season so look out for that as a possible upset.  Vero was able to defeat St. Eds on the road, but VB did struggle down the stretch while SE played well in the same period. This is a difficult district to predict and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an off the radar type ending, with Martin throwing a monkey wrench into this.  Too tough to predict the winner but look out for a surprise.   j vero shot   District 24 Jupiter vs Benjamin is the district final . . . again.  W.T. Dwyer had a nice season but lost steam coming down the stretch.  The difference between Jupiter and Benjamin might well come down to health and attrition.  Benjamin has been racked with injuries this year and Jupiter is coming in with a full roster.  Benjamin hosts and Jupiter won the regular season matchup by 4 goals.  I’m going to with Jupiter in the final based on what I perceive to be the team coming in with more momentum.   Okay, as always, get out to the games this week . . . and of course, bring a LOT of friends! Good luck to all the participants!