Olympia and Bartram Trail kick off the weekend as they begin semi-final play at 1:00 on Friday at Jupiter High School. Saturday at Jupiter High School kicks off with the JTAA Lacorsse Youth Clinic followed by the FLN Seniors Boys and Girls All Star Games at 11:00 and 1:00. Registration and tickets for those events can be purchased here.
No one should be surprised to see Olympia headed back to the final four for the third straight year. The Titans returned seven seniors from the 2015 final four team and have compiled 21-2 record this season. This season Head Coach Chip Carbiener and his team are not going to be “happy just to be there.” They’ve done that and they intend to go the rest of the way this time.
Olympia puts up big numbers and Bartram Trail plays great defense. So this could be the unstoppable force running into the the unmovable object. Possessions could be a difference maker. The best offense in the world can’t do a thing without the ball. Look for a trio of Titans to be tough at the draw circle. Finley Cassidy takes the draw while Brittney Matthews and Aaron Collier ensure plenty of possessions for that offense. Freshman phenom “May” Cassidy on the attack is one to watch around the cage.
Batram Trail has played the toughest schedule that Head Coach Meghan Jackowiak has put together since she’s been there. She feels it has helped her team prepare for the final stretch. “We may have more losses than the other teams in the final four but we have hung in there in each of those games and this team learned from the mistakes.”
She also thinks that this is the best team she’s had in her five years as head coach, and she has had some good teams. She acknowledges that this is a great defense, they held power-house Ponte Vedra to seven goals in their last meeting, but she points out they are no light weight on the offensive end of the field. With super star Alexis “Lexy” Marcionette getting plenty of support from Lauren Tybor and junior Mya Watson, she has some great shooters and girls that are happy to share the ball with any open teammate.
American Heritage – Delray takes on Vero Beach at 3:00
Vero Beach head coach Shannon Dean said that this season is actually a “rebuilding” year for his program. It looked like it might be a difficult year after an early season loss to Bishop Moore that snapped the longest streak of it’s kind that I’m aware of. Vero Beach had not lost to a Florida opponent since February 16, 2007 – 145 straight games. A loss that Dean described as “crushing.” He said, “I had a lot of pride in that streak. One thing about that streak is that it made us everyone’s championship game, every game. Everybody we played brought their ‘A’ game every time.”
Bishop Moore brought their A game on February 11th and slayed the giant 14-6. Almost nine years after the streak first began. Dean said the loss sent shock waves through the program and quite a few folks wrote the Fighting Indians off. “But our girls decided they didn’t want to be a part of a rebuild.” The were able to right the ship and make it back to the final four.
Look for two sport super-star Megan Gorman to give Vero a big advantage at the draw, giving plenty of extra possessions to Vero. Fellow seniors Makala Pierce and Lauren London are team leaders and players to watch along with a trio of sophomore standouts; Maddie Ellis, Gabby Sposato, and Lexie Patton.
American Heritage-Delray are the young upstarts at the party this year. Head Coach John McClain could not be anymore pleased with the way his girls have played so far. A young program, he feels they are “about a year ahead of schedule” when compared with his expectations when the season began.
He knows the key to the game is the draw. Figuring out what to do with Gorman is going to be taking up some of this time this week. “We’ve got some great ball players inside the 30’s. They are young but tough.” One of those is midfielder Kristen Zenor who has 125 draw controls this year to go with her 22 goals and 11 assists.
Offensively they will be looking to get the ball into the stick of youngster, Caitlyn Wurzburger. She has 97 goals and 101 assists this year. Wurzburger, a 2020 attacker, made a splash in the headlines around the country when she committed to Syracuse while still in the 8th grade. But she is the real deal, a rare talent and is worth the price of admission to see her play.
Defensively, Maddie Pyle has been getting it done for the Stallions. She has caused 45 turnovers and controlled 64 ground balls.
An American-Hertitage win would certainly be an upset. Just like Bishop Moore over Vero was. Or American Heritage over St. Thomas Aquinas…..you never know.