High School Boys

May 27, 2014

Nike/US Lacrosse South Boys' Region Report

by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com

Related: National Top 25 | NortheastMid-Atlantic | Midwest | West

Player of the Week 

Reilly McDermott, Marvin Ridge (N.C.)

The senior goalie did everything he could to give Marvin Ridge a chance at the Class 1A/2A/3A state title, making 19 saves in an 11-8 loss to Cardinal Gibbons in the final. Gibbons' high-power offense peppered him with 43 shots and McDermott was named the game's MVP as the undisputed best player on the field that day. A two-time high school All-American, McDermott had a career high of 24 saves as a sophomore in a triple-overtime loss to Charlotte Catholic. He is committed to play at Furman next year.

Also Notable: Gannon Morrison, Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.); Connor Pool, Charlotte Catholic (N.C.); Brendan Farrell, Apex (N.C.)

South Region Top 10

1. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 20-3

The Highlanders successfully defended their Florida High School Athletic Association state title and claimed their third championship in four years. They were 19-1 against in-state competition, losing only to Jupiter in a close one March 1. Lake Highland's other losses were by a combined four points against nationally-ranked McDonogh (Md.) and No. 1 Boys' Latin (Md.). Reid Thedford finished with a team-high 58 goals and 22 assists, and Max Parker won 78.5 percent of the faceoffs he took.

2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 18-2

The Eagles won their fourth state title in program history, beating Dallas Jesuit in the championship to avenge their only in-state loss of the season. Episcopal's other loss came at the hands of the elite IMG National (Fla.) squad during spring break. The Eagles were led by Richie Loftus (45 goals, 43 assists, Jack Beare (60 goals, nine assists), Sam Romano (39 goals, 24 assists) and Charlie Sikes (59.7 percent save rate).

3. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 22-0

The Crusaders capped their perfect season with an 11-8 win over Marvin Ridge (N.C.) in the inaugural NCHSAA 1A/2A/3A championship Saturday. It was the program's second state title overall but first since the NCHSAA began sanctioning lacrosse in 2010. Attacker Gannon Morrison led Gibbons with three goals, while midfielder Robbie Lavelle, attacker Nick Forbes and attacker Charles Van Dyke added two goals apiece. Gibbons, which had five out-of-state wins, beat Jacksonville 19-3 in the semifinals.

4. Charlotte Latin (N.C.), 20-1

The Hawks breezed to their third straight NCISAA state championship, beating Durham Academy in the final. Latin's one loss was to Milton (Ga.), 15-13 on April 25, but the Hawks own wins over Tennessee state champion Memphis University School and South Carolina state champion Fort Mill. Behind an attack led by Owen Armstrong and Carson Song, the Hawks averaged 13.0 points per game while the defense limited opponents to 7.0 points per game.

5. Memphis University School (Tenn.), 17-3

The Owls finished as the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association champions for a fourth year in a row, beating McCallie in the final. Their only losses were to Milton (Ga.) on April 26 and to Charlotte Latin (N.C.) and The Woodlands (Texas) the second week of the season. Patrick Dimento paced Memphis University with 82 goals and 28 assists, while Hayden Hunt added 48 goals and 28 assists and John Madden finished with a team-high 108 ground balls and 212 face-off wins on 364 attempts (58.2 percent). Brant Newman allowed 6.6 goals per game and posted a 56.4 percent save rate.

6. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 15-3

The Rangers made their fifth straight Final Four and first state final since 2011 but finished runners-up to Episcopal Dallas, a team they had beaten in the regular-season finale. Jesuit, which had returned just three starters from last year's team, owned out-of-state wins over St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) and Needham-Broughton (N.C.), and its two losses were both 8-6 games against Memphis University (Tenn.) and Highland Park (Texas). The team was led by a pair of All-Americans, midfielder Lee Belland and sophomore long stick middie John Michael Priddy.

7. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 21-3

The Sharks ended their season in the FHSAA state semifinals for a third year in a row, losing to eventual champion Lake Highland Prep. Their other two losses came against Boca Raton (Fla.) in the season opener and in overtime against Jupiter. Ponte Vedra had notable wins over Lake Brantley (Fla.) and Lake Mary (Fla.), as well as out-of-state victories over South Carolina runner-up Wando (S.C.) and Greenville (S.C.). Miles Silva finished with 62 goals, while Cody Legeza had 46 goals and 30 assists.

8. Northview (Ga.), 21-1

The Titans won their first state title in program history by beating Lovett (Ga.) in the GHSA small-school division championship. Northview's lone loss was to Johns Creek (Ga.), and the team had notable regular-season wins over 2013 champion Westminster (Ga.) and this year's Class 6A runner-up Lambert (Ga.). The Titans were led by All-Americans Ben Fleck and Matty Biondich, who helped the team average 15.1 points per game. The defense surrendered a mere 5.7 goals per game.

9. Benjamin (Fla.), 15-6

Despite a 4-5 start to the season, the Buccaneers won 11 straight to advance to their first state championship game and finished as runners-up to Lake Highland Prep. Benjamin had notable wins over St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), Jupiter and Boca Raton, and two of its losses were to Maryland's Severn and Calvert Hall. Andrew Packer led the team with 40 goals, 29 assists and a 59 percent face-off win rate, while McKenna Johnson (29 goals, 19 assists) and Ryan Silvester (27 goals, 20 assists) also were key contributors.

10. Roswell (Ga.), 17-3

The Hornets also were first-time state champs this year, avenging a regular-season loss to Lambert to claim the GHSA Class 6A championship. Roswell's run included knocking out 2013 champion Centennial (Ga.) in the quarterfinals, and the Hornets closed with eight straight wins following a narrow loss to Milton (Ga.) on April 1. Roswell's other loss came against Chattahoochee (Ga.) on Feb. 28.


It took almost three quarters for Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) to take control over Marvin Ridge in the NCSHAA Class 1A/2A/3A championship, but the Crusaders rallied to win their second title in program history.

After the Mavericks took a 5-4 lead less than a minute into the second half, Gibbons responded to outscore them 7-3 the rest of the way for the 11-8 win and first state title since the sport became recognized by the NCHSAA in 2010. The Crusaders' only lead the first half came with the first goal of the game.

"The only thing I said at halftime is that I don't really see guys that think they're playing in a championship game effort-wise," Gibbons coach Alex Buckley told the Cary News. "But yeah, the ground balls we started to beat them on, and I think we just started playing smarter on offense."

Marvin Ridge goalkeeper Reilly McDermott had a lot to do with the Crusaders' first-half struggles, denying several shots. He finished with 19 saves for the game.

Gibbons became more selective with its shots in the second half and was able to find better success.

The title secured Gibbons' first perfect season, which included wins over Norfolk Academy (Va.), The Woodlands (Texas) and Germantown Academy (Pa.), as well as two more out-of-state wins.

"I am very excited for these guys," Buckley told the Cary News. "They've done a lot this year. They've endured a lot in 2012 with that heartbreaker and losing to Apex last year. They earned this. They earned all of it."


Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) claimed the other NCHSAA state title, beating Apex (N.C.) 11-8 in the Class 4A championship Friday.

The Cougars (22-3) won their fifth state title, adding to their 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012 trophies, and denied Apex (19-3) its second straight title after winning it last year against Lake Norman (N.C.).

This was the first year the NCHSAA split into two championships – one for larger schools and one for smaller schools.

"What a great way to end the season," Catholic coach Bo Turner told the Charlotte Observer.

The game was close throughout, but Apex scored its last goal with 7:52 left and the Cougars tacked on two insurance goals to finish the game.

Apex, which was making its third appearance in the NCHSAA title in five seasons, won the face-off battle, 10-2, and had the advantage on ground balls, 33-24; however Catholic forced several key turnovers and was successful in transition. Catholic was led by senior attackman Connor Pool, who had three goals on eight shots.

Brendan Farrell paced Apex with three goals.

"I think it came down to our athleticism," Turner told the Observer. "We've played this way all year long, pressing on defense and trying to get into our transition game, running and gunning. We don't slow it down a lot. Yeah, we make some turnovers because of it, but we always try to put on the pressure. We've got a lot of athletes and hopefully, we'll tire the other team out late in the third quarter and the fourth."

The Cougars' only losses came to Westminster (Ga.) and the 1A/2A/3A finalists Cardinal Gibbons and Marvin Ridge.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every Tuesday 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.

2014 South Region Report Archive

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