High School Boys

March 20, 2013

Nike/US Lacrosse South Region Report

by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com

Related: National Top 25 | Northeast | Mid-Atlantic | Midwest | West

Top Performers

Alex Mackrides, Milton (Ga.)
The senior secured the Eagles' goalkeeper spot by making 13 saves on 16 shots to help Milton beat area-rival Walton 13-3 on March 15. He previously split time with sophomore Luke Jenkins, who now will play middie and serve as Mackrides' backup.

Reid McCool, St. Andrew's (Fla.)
The senior long-stick midfielder and defender had four takeaways and four groundballs in the Scots' 6-5 overtime win over Jupiter on March 14. He leads the team with 19 forced turnovers and is second in groundballs with 30.

Gus Pinsoneault, The Woodlands (Texas)
The sophomore attackman led the Highlanders with four goals and two assists in a 13-4 win over St. John's on March 6. He's been a young leader on an offense that averages 12.4 goals per game.

Games to Watch

St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) at Jupiter (Fla.) – March 22, 7 p.m.
The club programs of these two teams met in the fall with the Aquinas squad edging out a narrow victory, and this game should give a more clear picture where they stand among the top teams in Florida. The Raiders won the last meeting 9-8 in double overtime back in 2007, but haven't played since the FHSAA sanctioned lacrosse in 2008.

Dallas Jesuit (Texas) at St. Mark's (Texas) – March 20, 7:30 p.m.
Dallas Jesuit won this game last year 8-4, but St. Mark's won seven-straight matchups over five years before that. St. Mark's is coming off a tough loss to Episcopal Dallas and continues the most challenging portion of its schedule, which includes three out-of-state games after playing the Rangers.

Milton (Ga.) at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) – March 30, 1 p.m. at Florida Tech
A matchup of two of the top teams in the bordering states, both could be undefeated coming in. The Raiders have to get through Jupiter and Lake Highland Prep first, while Milton has Etowah and Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) beforehand. The two teams last met in 2010, a 12-4 win for Aquinas, which finished that year 13-3.

1. St. Andrew's (Fla.), 8-2

The Scots have the toughest part of their schedule behind them after going 1-2 against some quality out-of-state competition and escaping with a narrow win over regionally-ranked Jupiter (Fla.) 6-5 in overtime March 14. St. Andrew's beat St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) 15-9 on March 8 and can't be penalized too much for a 7-5 loss to McDonogh (Md.) or the 14-4 rout at the hands of Boys' Latin (Md.). Both teams were ranked in the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25, Boys' Latin at No. 1 and McDonogh then at No. 18. Nick Ranta scored the game-winner against Jupiter with 16 seconds left in the first period of overtime.

2. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 7-1

After a 12-9 win over Lawrenceville (N.J.) on March 6, the Rangers had no trouble turning aside defending North Carolina state champion Charlotte Latin 16-4 on March 9. They just as easily beat East Chapel Hill (N.C.) two days later. But perhaps more impressive was Jesuit's effort in an 11-9 loss to Gilman (Md.), which was ranked No. 14 nationally. Jesuit was up 9-6 at halftime but gave up five unanswered goals in the second half, four in the third quarter.

3. Milton (Ga.), 6-0

The Eagles picked up quality wins over Lambert (Ga.) and area rival Walton (Ga.). Milton was down 3-2 at halftime against Lambert on March 8, but pulled off a 9-7 win with the help of a three-goal effort by Jake Jenkins. It was the Longhorns' first ever loss at home. Evans Lockwood helped lead the Eagles to a 13-3 win over Walton on March 15, scoring four goals.

4. Jupiter (Fla.), 7-1

The Warriors gave St. Andrew's a scare on March 14, coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime before falling 6-5. Jupiter has played three games with a one-goal differential, winning two of them, including against Lakeland Highland Prep back in February and a 7-6 victory over Boca Raton on March 8. The Warriors' next big tests come against Vero Beach on March 19 and unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas on March 22.

5. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 8-0

The Raiders easily handled a quality Boca Raton team that had just lost by one to Jupiter, beating the Bobcats 18-4 on March 15. Aquinas led 9-3 at halftime and won four-straight faceoffs to open the third quarter, all leading to fast-break goals by middies. Kyle Mamane led the team with five goals. The Raider also gave Naples-Barron Collier its only loss, 11-6, on March 8.

6. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 7-0

The Eagles jumped into the rankings with a notable 9-7 win over 2012 state runner-up St. Mark's on March 15. It was the Lions' first loss of the season. Episcopal, which can further prove itself against three Maryland/D.C.-area teams next week, outscored its previous six opponents 105-20, including a 13-4 win over Memphis University School (Tenn.) on March 9. St. Mark's squeaked out a 5-4 overtime win over Memphis University that same day.

7. Lassiter (Ga.), 5-1

The Trojans picked up shutout wins over Georgia opponents Wheeler and Cherokee, outscoring them by a combined score of 44-0. The only thing holding Lassiter back is the fact it has only played two opponents with a winning record and it split those games.

8. The Woodlands (Texas), 10-0

The Highlanders have been idle since a 13-4 win over St. John's on March 6, a game that extended their lead in the Texas High School Lacrosse League's South Zone. Jake Williams won seven faceoffs while corralling four ground balls and Kyle Glaesmann had four groundballs and forced four turnovers. Woodlands returns to action March 20 against Cy Fair.

9. Louisville Trinity (Ky.), 3-0

The Shamrocks opened their season by winning three games in a span of four days. Trinity started off with a 15-0 win over Tennessee's Montgomery Bell Academy on March 8, and then beat Cathedral (Ind.) and in-state opponent Christian Academy by a combined score of 24-6.

10. St. Mark's (Texas), 7-1

The Lions, previously ranked fifth in the South, hit a bit of a bump in their last two games, needing double overtime to turn away Memphis University School (Tenn.) 5-4 on March 9 and then dropping a 9-7 decision to Episcopal Dallas on March 15. The schedule doesn't get any easier, but they can turn it around with a good game against Dallas Jesuit on March 20.

News and Notes

Battle Tested Scots

St. Andrew's (Fla.) coach R.J. Dawson said he learned a lot about his team watching the Scots play four games in a week.

The Scots sandwiched a pair of losses with two wins, while going 1-2 against top-notch out-of-state competition and then pulling out the overtime win over Jupiter.

"We wanted to make sure we were battle-tested," Dawson said. "Playing four games in seven days against top-flight competition, we knew it would be tough. To come out 2-2, we feel we can build on that."

Dawson said it was good for his players to learn how to try to come back after falling behind. The Scots traditionally don't trail many opponents.

"Late in the game against McDonogh, we had to run a different defense to get the ball back, which was something we hadn't practiced much and hadn't done in a game, so it was good to see how we handled certain situations," Dawson said. "Also in terms of personnel, we learned a little about who can step up in a crunch."

Nick Ranta is one of those players, he said. He scored two goals against Jupiter, including the game-winner, and also had two goals and two assists in the win over St. Anne's-Belfield.

Grant Mahler has been the "unsung hero," Dawson said. He averages two points a game, has won 60 percent of his faceoffs and leads the team with 46 groundballs.

This and That

Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) fell off the list after an upset loss to Benjamin for a second year in a row, and now stands at 5-4. The Highlanders can once again prove itself with a March 26 game against St. Thomas Aquinas.

Lake Brantley (Fla.) is on the rise, opening the season 7-0 and outscoring its last three opponents 42-8.

Unranked Highland Park (Texas) is 6-1 after opening the season with a 3-2 loss to Woodlands (Texas) and plays Episcopal Dallas on March 21.

McCallie (Tenn.) is off to a 6-0 start with a win over Pope (Ga.) and notable upcoming games against Maryland's Severn and Calvert Hall.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Boys' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.

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