The Final Tom Marachek’s All-Pro Lacrosse Top Ten of the 2012 Season is Here!
What an incredible season. It may have finished with a couple of familiar schools at the top, but what an amazing high school season we just finished! The level of play has jumped dramatically! The number of competitive teams is at an all-time high. The story of our final Top Ten Coach’s poll is just as interesting when you look at who is NOT on the list as WHO IS on the list. 1- Saint Andrews is back at their familiar place on top of the heap. But who would have predicted a 10-7 semi final with Jupiter a few years ago? Saint Andrews solidified their place among the nation’s elite teams this year with a place on the ESPN FAB 50 all season long. The only knock on the program this year was the fact that their two losses are both to highly ranked out of state competition. They lost to Boys Latin and The Brunswick School. Hey guys, we need you to win these games!! 2- Lake Highland Prep – What a fantastic job Chris Spaulding and everyone involved in that program have done. There was no Lake Highland Prep lacrosse team seven years ago. In six years the LHP program has become a nationally recognized power house. If you anyone has plans to take one of the top two spots in the state they are going to have to do it by coming up to the next level. Both of these teams have deep pipelines and will not be sliding back anytime soon. 3- Ponte Vedra – Ponte Vedra played Lake Highland tougher than most of the folks we spoke with expected. They finished a great year it ha 17-3record, losing only to Lake Highland (twice) and Bishop Moore 8-7. 4- Jupiter – Last year this team lost to Jupiter Christian twice. This year come to the FHSAA, take out the defending Club Champions in the first round of the regional’s and make it all the way to the final four. People familiar with this team are not surprised. Many of us were very surprised. What a great season! 5- St. Thomas Aquinas – St. Thomas had a very solid season and the tandem of Terry Crowley and Jeff Goldberg seemed to work out well. A lot of people thought they might have a chance to knock off St. Andrew’s. Unfortunately a very ugly scene at the final game of the season marred a lot of progress. We had two coach’s in the poll leave them off of the top ten ballot due to the poor sportsmanship shown during their final game of the season. However, knowing the coaching staff down there, I seriously doubt if that type of behavior becomes the hallmark of this program. 6- Bishop Moore Catholic – Joey McMahon coming back from a serious injury last year to lead the senior heavy Hornets to a 15-4 season was certainly a great story. A very entertaining OT victory over Boone in the District 11 semi-final was to be the last hurrah for a team that probably could have won a majority of the districts in the state. Great team that happened to share a district with Lake Highland Prep and Boone. 7- Benjamin – The only Florida team to beat Lake Highland Prep during the regular season. (McDonogh of Maryland was the other regular season loss for LHP) However, if you look at the six losses for Benjamin it reads like a who’s who list of top ranked teams. St. Andrew’s, Boca, Jupiter, Pine Crest, St. Thomas Aquinas, and McDonogh. They are going to have to win at least some of those games to make it any higher up this list. But to come into the FHSAA from the clubs, win 12 games, and finish 7th in our coaches’ poll is a great year. 8- Pine Crest – Great wins over Benjamin, Barron Collier, and St. Thomas Aquinas highlighted the year for Pine Crest. 16-4 with only losses coming from St. Andrew’s (twice), Jupiter, and Boca they had a nice season. 9- Winter Park – Nobody was real sure what to expect from a young Winter Park team this year. Things could have headed south in a hurry when they lost 3 out of 4 games in the mid-season with losses to Hagerty, Ponte Vedra, and Tampa Jesuit. But they got going again and rattled off 9 straight victories including a great OT win over Boone and two wins over a tough Timber Creek team. 10- Tampa Jesuit came into the FHSAA and could have cruised their first season. They share district 15 with some less experienced teams and were a fairly certain pre-season pick to win the district. But they piled on a very tough regular season schedule including Lake Highland, Winter Park, Saint Andrew’s, Two Saint Ignatius Prep teams (Chicago and California), Dallas Jesuit (ESPN FAB 50 Team), and still managed to compile a nice 12-7 record. Their first FHSAA season was punctuated with a great 17-16 barn burner of a victory over Winter Park, a district championship, and a trip to the region finals where they were finally stopped by Jupiter. To get a true sense of the level of parity this year look at some of the teams who did not make this list. Lake Brantley is an annual fixture at the final four. Anyone who played them this year will tell you that they were no slouch. But the field is so deep at the top this year they only managed two votes (both for ninth) in our final poll. Creekside finished the season 14-2, but with so many good teams out there you have got to play a tough schedule to get those votes. Boca Raton, Lake Mary, Barron Collier, Timber Creek, Boone, and Columbus are all good teams that nobody would be surprised to see on a top ten list. So we are already looking forward to the 2013 season. No doubt there will be a couple of new teams making the list.