Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
Zach Crotty, Jupiter (Fla.)
The junior attackman led the Warriors to a big win over Lake Highland Prep, recording two goals and four assists. Crotty had a hand in Jupiter’s first three goals, opening the scoring less than two minutes in and tacking on another with 5:32 left in the first quarter. He assisted the next goal, as the Warriors took a 3-0 lead heading into the second quarter. The early advantage proved vital in the win.
Also notable: Richie Loftus (Episcopal Dallas, Texas), Tim Gehlbach (Lake Brantley, Fla.), Tyler Wilks (McCallie, Tenn.), Lee Belland (Dallas Jesuit, Texas)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Highland Park (Texas) vs. McCallie (Tenn.) at Brine King of Spring Classic
March 8, 5:45 p.m. at Durham County Stadium
A matchup of two of the top five teams in the South, this will help better sort out where these teams belong. McCallie lost its top three scorers from last year and two faceoff specialists, but coach Troy Kemp said he believes he has more athleticism and depth on its roster than years past. Highland Park similarly lost a lot on offense with the graduation of six attackmen, but has a strong feeder program in place to help reload with the help of a strong cast of midfielders returning. The Scots are making their fourth straight appearance at the King of Spring Classic, while McCallie last played in 2012.
South Region Top 10
1. St. Andrew's (Fla.), 5-0: The 2013 state runner-up Scots aren't as dominant as past years, but they reloaded to replace seven departed starters and already have earned quality — though close — wins over Vero Beach and Benjamin.
2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 4-0: The Eagles passed their first big test, beating an experienced Woodlands 10-8 in the Patriot Cup on Saturday. Nakeie Montgomery scored three goals, Richie Loftus added four assists and a goal and Charlie Sikes made 12 saves.
3. Jupiter (Fla.), 3-0: The Warriors were the first to beat the defending Florida state champs, handing Lake Highland Prep a 12-10 loss on Saturday, despite the absence of two key attackmen. They also have a win over up-and-coming Pope John Paul II.
4. Highland Park (Texas), 2-0: The Fighting Scots' depth is showing early. They opened their season with dominant wins over Allen (15-8) and St. John's (17-1) on back-to-back nights last weekend.
5. McCallie (Tenn.), 3-0: The Blue Tornado opened with a 10-6 win over defending Alabama state champion Hoover on Friday, paced by juniors Braiden Davis (three goals) and Tyler Wilks (two goals, three assists). McCallie followed that performance the next day with two in-state wins.
6. Centennial (Ga.), 3-0: The Knights haven't been tested yet while outscoring opponents 69-3, but with the majority of their Georgia Class 6A championship team back, they could see a lot more lopsided victories this year.
7. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 5-0: The Rangers coasted through the easiest part of their schedule. They haven't given up more than six goals in any game, including a 13-6 win over Coppell in which Lee Belland and Gavin McClure each netted three goals.
8. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 2-1: Losing an early game to Jupiter for a second straight season stings, but as opponents learned last year, it's too early to discount the Highlanders. Reid Thedford had four goals and two assists against the Warriors.
9. Milton (Ga.), 4-0: The Eagles haven't faced anyone with a winning record yet, but dominated while outscoring their opponents 77-12. The real tests come in the second half of the season when the schedule features several relevant teams in the South.
10. Charlotte Latin (N.C.), 0-0: The defending private-school champions were set to open their season Tuesday, and the Hawks have a chance to see how they stack up against out-of-state competition early on in the Brine King of Spring Classic.
Jupiter (Fla.) coach Danny Loftus said in his six years with the Warriors, he hasn’t been a part of a better lacrosse game than the win his team earned against Lake Highland Prep. It was a game of runs, started by Jupiter, but the Warriors held off a late rally by the Highlanders to seal the win.
“They are a really good team,” Loftus said. “There were very few turnovers, it was high intensity throughout, and we were just fortunate to come out on top. It was a really good win. Hopefully, it’s a springboard for our season, but it was March 1. We still have a lot of lacrosse to play so we have see, are we going to get better?”
Loftus knows not to get overly confident after a win like that. The Warriors also beat the Highlanders in overtime around the same time last season.
A highly anticipated matchup in Florida – between defending state champion Lake Highland Prep and Ponte Vedra, which has made three straight Final Four appearances -- was postponed because of weather on Feb. 26. The game has been rescheduled for April 12.
Another big game to watch this weekend will be a Brine King of Spring Classic tussle between Dallas Jesuit (Texas) and Memphis University School (Tenn.), the Tennessee defending state champion who could launch itself into the South rankings with a strong performance at the tournament.
Lake Brantley (Fla.) is off to a 3-0 start, outscoring opponents 59-10 with the help of North Carolina commit Tim Gehlbach’s 11 goals in three games. The Patriots will be a team to watch down the road as the competition picks up.
The Woodlands (Texas) has experienced some unexpected bumps early this season, dropping a 13-7 loss to Coppell (Texas) on Feb. 23 and a 10-8 loss to Episcopal Dallas. Coppell is currently 6-1. The Woodlands returned the bulk of its lineup from a perfect 2013 regular season and was expected to be one of the top teams in Texas this year.
2014 South Region Report Archive
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